So, we've been working on getting some things working with Worldwide maps and I've decided that as-is, its very difficult to work with and contains quite a few issues especially if your displaying groups instead of nodes. The documentation is VERY confusing and a bit misleading. And I don't think it has to be that way, they just seem to be trying to accommodate everyone and in the end somewhat failing.
First we tried using the SNMP location field for plotting nodes via Lat/Lon via "Automatic Geolocation", since many of our addresses are not on any public maps. The problem with this approach is that
- The more nodes you have it tends to work not as well. I've read some things that suggest there is a hard limit to the # of nodes that get displayed and this might be part of it.
- It's difficult to guarantee that all "SNMP location" fields on all devices in your network will >always< be formatted in the very specific ways that are accepted. Anything that either misses the format or has something else altogether in it will get placed seemingly at random on the map. I'm sure there is some method to the madness but I couldn't figure it out!!
So, we changed our focus to instead plot our "groups" on the map. We have our nodes auto-assigned to a group based on the name of the node that tells us what technical area and building it is in. At first I wrongly believe that "Automatic Geolocation" would work not only on the SNMP location field, but on the Nodes and Groups custom properties that you can have. I was wrong on this, automatic geolocation ONLY works on the SNMP location field, NOT any custom properties. Getting Custom Properties to work is a bit of a manual process, where you first export the nodes or groups in "Manage Custom Properties", then import them back into the database, but this time choosing the Worldmap Lat/Lon to import them to. I'll try and do a tutorial on it at a later date if needed. Workable, but it got me wondering.
Why do we have only one checkbox that turns "Automatic Geolocation" on or off? That seems silly when you have these nice Custom Properties for Latitude and Longitude that you can use. Not to mention, why does it only accept the street address of a device in the "SNMP Location" field for Automatic Geolocation, when I know quite a few folks have custom properties that hold the address of a site?
So, what I'm proposing for this is that World Wide Maps needs to be changed. Turning on and off automatic geolocation should enable a few more checkboxes, such as where do you want to get the information for automatic geolocation, and ideally, what the priority of that information is. ie:
If you want the information AutoGeolocation checks to include the Group custom properties for Latitude and Longitude, the Node custom properties for the same, and the SNMP location field - in that order - it would first check to see if there was a "Group" custom properties, and if there was nothing there, it would check the Node custom properties. Finally, if it didn't find anything there it would go on to the SNMP location field and check there. Periodically it would step through your list in the order you set it and set the Lat/Lon in the WorldwideMaps table to what it finds. Or, you might want it simpler like me, I just want it to check the Group Custom Properties and copy that info into the WorldwideMaps table periodically if the info gets updated, nothing else. Maybe even toss in the ability to do address lookups based on Custom Property fields for Nodes or Groups into the mix too? That would eliminate the confusion, it would eliminate the need for me to periodically export the list manually from Custom Properties and re-import it manually to get the freshest info. More importantly, I don't think it would be all that difficult to implement, nothing all that fancy!!
I'll stop here for now and see what others think? There are some drawbacks to using groups, that I'd consider bugs, which I'll post later. Overall it is working really nice though and more importantly seems to fit >our< environment. The changes I propose above would be so it would easily adapt to quite a few more environments.
Everyone loves the map although until this week they've thought it was more of a flashy feature that managers will like. However, this week we had a number of power outages due to high winds and trees falling and such. We have over 1,000 buildings spread out over 34.7 square miles. Looking at the map of our buildings spread out over this area and seeing where there were obvious outages was quite interesting if not useful.
Thoughts?! What has your experience been with Worldwide Maps?