Business Analyst Custom Data Setup Tool Issue

09-28-2018 09:36 AM
New Contributor

Using Business Analyst for Desktop, I used to be able to create custom variables such as adding two different variables together. Ever since the 2017 data update and Business Analyst 10.5 update, whenever I try to create a custom variable, the data just ends up being all zeros. I figured it was just a bug and it would be fixed at some point, but the 10.6 update doesn't seem to resolve the issue. Now I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong. I've tried using the field calculator operations as well as using a VBscript such as :

ReturnValue ( GetValue("AGE1_CY") + GetValue("AGE2_CY") )

When I choose to verify the calculated field in the Custom Data Setup Wizard, it always tells me that the script was verified successfully. So I'm at a loss as to why all the data for the calculated field is zero. As I said, in previous years I was able to do this same procedure and it always worked. Anyone have some insight on what might be happening?

3 Replies
Occasional Contributor II

Hi Paul

Would it be possible to have a case created for this?  That way we can troubleshoot with you directly.  Please call 888-377-4575 X 2 to have a case created. 

Thank you


Technology Lead, Esri

Esri Contributor

Hi Paul, 


We had this issue in a support case recently similar to this where a custom report was reporting all zeros for the custom variables. We found the geography of the custom BDS layer did not cover the geography of the reports input layer. We resolved the issue by:


1) Opening the default Business Analyst mxd 

2) Using Custom Data Setup.

3) Selecting to Create a BDS layer using the Standard Business Analyst data. 

4) Select the base Geography, such as Block Groups (Note each layer has different variables and geographies.) 

5) On the Create custom variables option, we can create new ones or load existing ones. 

6) Run to completion. 


It's important to note that custom variables in the the output BDS layer are calculated from the input "Standard Business Analyst data" so the "Standard" source needs to contain the variables needed. It was also important to note the Geography of the custom bds also needs to be valid for any subsequent reported areas. 


I hope this helps! Give me a holler back if you still have any questions.




Esri Support Services 

Esri Regular Contributor


This is an older post but for the benefit from any that are perusing make sure to use the Python parser when creating custom variables with tools like Custom Data Setup or a custom report field calculation in Fusion Reports Designer.

Example 2018 Population Age 0-4 and 10-14:

!POP0_CY! + !POP10_CY!

There is a known issue with the VB Script parser for a while now.

Jason R.