Recently I set up an interactive map in R & Shiny to show the distance between where a customer lives and one of the sites where a customer attends. What I wanted to do was to find out how long it took each person to get to the site using public transport, which proved difficult in R, so i settled for a “as the crow flies” approach using pythagoras. This worked, but since then I have had in the back of my mind a burning question “what if I could used the Google API to give me that distance”. This is what I have now done, and this is how you do it.

Google have many APIs that can be used at little to no cost. The Google distance matrix API allows you to enter a starting position and one or more end positions, and the API will return the distance based on a mode of transport of your choice (walking, driving, transit – public transport). All you need to do is register and get an API key – https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/distance-matrix/

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Sun modelling is a technique for requirement gathering for a multidimensional data warehouse modelling. I have used or read about many different DW modelling techniques, however none is quite as simple and elegant as Sun Modelling. Sun Modelling was designed by Prof Mark Whitehorn (Dundee University). I won’t go into the details of how you execute a sun model today, however I will write about this in the future.

For the moment I have tried to simplify the process of building a sun model in visio. You can download a visio stencil which contains the main elements required to make a Sun Model. Also included is a sample visio document.

Download it here.