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Data Mining uses program logic to access information derived from data extracted periodically from operational databases. These databases are commonly known as data warehouses, or data marts. There are often many data marts in a data warehouse, each holding a defined functional set of data.


Data Marts

Data Marts provide a subject-oriented focus to specific data on customers, markets, products or other areas of interest over time. This data is typically transformed, aggregated and summarized for access by a variety of software tools, including:

  • Executive Information Systems (EIS)
  • Decision Support Systems (DSS)
  • Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)
  • Data Mining
  • Decision Early Warning (DEW)


Meta Data

The metadata defined by CASE tools is used to build these Data Warehouses and Data Marts. With such complex data relationships, it is often difficult to represent true relativity between data sets to provide useful information to managers.

This problem is solved by using VRML data maps. These provide an interface to EIS, DSS, OLAP, DEW and Data Mining software tools.


Developing A VR Data Interface

The following is a high level summary of how one would approach the development of a VR interface to business data.

  1. Business subject experts from each function defined business requirements.
  2. A 3D data map is built to support the information needs of these functions.
  3. A Data Warehouse is developed containing Data Marts for each subject area.
  4. Operational data is then extracted, aggregated and loaded into the warehouse.
  5. The 3D data map is specified by the CASE tool to be used as a Warehouse interface – additional to those provided already by EIS, DSS, OLAP, DEW and Data Mining software tools.
  6. A "Warehouse" button is then added to the 3D data map diagram.

Business Use

The outcome of the above development is that business managers can navigate through the data map, selecting cubes that contain target information of interest, such as Market.

  1. By clicking on "Dimension" button – selecting Market Type, Product Type, Region and Period.
  2. By clicking on the relevant faces of the cubes, particular ranges of interest for those dimensions can be defined for selected attributes.
  3. The selected dimensional ranges are immediately used to extract the relevant Market information.
  4. One click on a "Graph" icon, and the results are presented in a graphical format.
  5. After selecting information of interest, the EIS, DSS, OLAP, DEW and Data Mining software tools are used to analyze the Market information further.

Using 3D data maps as an interface into Data Warehouses and Data Marts is a logical next step for CASE tool vendors.

Related: Developing A Data Warehouse

Next: Using 4D VR In Construction


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