Map Business Online Blog

Read about business mapping and how it can help your business succeed.

Do You Need to Update Imported Data in Map Business Online?

Most Map Business Online customers import location-based business spreadsheets into business mapping software on a regular basis. This is a core function of our product. Whether the data is for customer mapping, retail mapping or some other business data visualization, the data is imported in and applied towards business mapping.

But, as my wife often says before discussing a problem I’ve somehow left unresolved, “Here’s the thing”: business data changes. What was fine yesterday needs adjustments today. Data records need to be updated.

In Map Business Online there are several approaches you can take to update imported data. A subscriber who has imported a dataset can simply locate a record within that data either on the map or via the Data Window and proceed to change an individual data record:
• Change its location on the map
• Edit specific data fields, one field at a time

These incremental changes may be all that’s required to update your imported map list of addresses. It’s a great solution for up to half a dozen field adjustments at a time.

Additionally, you may want to add a few points to an imported dataset. No problem. Drop a point on the map or key in the address of the new data point. When you do this a little tool bar will pop-up just underneath the added point and a dialogue box will appear for adding a record. In this dialog you can choose to add the location to an existing dataset or start creating a new one. Again, this is great for a few data points at a time.

You can certainly change many more points incrementally if you like, but it can get tedious. And tedious can lead to errors in your imported data layer. And before you know it, somebody is saying, “Here’s the thing.” And believe me, you don’t want that.

Mass Changes
So, what are you to do if you have many map points to update? To accommodate this eventuality we added a Unique Identity feature to the plot data points process. You’ll notice when you import data that the next to the last dialogue page offers a drop down field locator for Unique Identity. If you plan on updating your data en mass moving forward then you should insert an identifying number scheme into your spreadsheets.

That unique identifier has only one requirement – each number must be unique. If there are any repeats it will reject that column for use as unique ID’s. So, name them well. You can use random numbers, customer numbers, account numbers, or a series of numbers in order – just make sure they are all unique for every record in your data.

Once you’ve imported a unique number set you are ready to update your imported data all at once. In Excel or your database program of choice, generate the dataset you want to use as the updated data. In your Map Business Online map project, go to Map & Data and choose to edit your target data layer – the one you want to update. Select – “Update dataset from file.” If you get a message that says, “Dataset cannot be updated” this means you do not have unique identifiers in your data for proper record match-up. If you do have a unique ID match, proceed with the update. In just a few clicks your data on the map will be refreshed and you can return to your regularly scheduled work-flow.

API for Advanced Automation
Data Updates can be further automated if you have a programmer on staff. That person can review our Application Programming Interface and work with us on the set-up. Please let us know if you have interest in such automation. As Map Business Online becomes the primary MapPoint alternative we’d like to hear about other automated processes you used under MapPoint.

Here’s the Thing
And the next time you hear, “Here’s the thing,” coming your way, try rolling a ball of verbal tin foil across the room by saying, “Hey, did I tell you the skin doctor “(insert any critical medical provider here)”called with test results?” This usually generates a series of questions and up to a full five minutes of speculation as to who the results are for, giving you adequate time to insert a whole new subject into the mix and hopefully get the hell out of the room. You’re welcome.

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Let a digital map help you learn about your business>

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider www.MapBusinessOnline.com as your MapPoint Replacement.

Review us at Google+, g2crowd, chekkt , or Best Vendor

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Do You Map Demographically? Updated Demographic Layers in Map Business Online

Great business mapping software includes the ability to create maps based on demographics. Demographic data lends itself nicely to map views because the data is often collected in relation to location. Census data is the primary source of the demographic data layers available in Map Business Online as demographic mapping software, and most Census data collection occurs at the residential address level.

This means your demographic data is easily visualized on a map in terms of five or three digit zip codes, Census tracts, Metro areas, counties or states. Pulling Census demographics into a map view moves your map out of the realm of visualization and into the realm of market analysis. It is one thing to see where all of your stores are located, but an entirely different thing to see where stores may be located in relation to your optimum demographic segment.

NEW! Updated Demographics
General Census data categories now represented in Map Business Online include population, income, ethnicity, gender, housing, employment, occupation, payroll by industry, race, and travel time for work. These categories are broken down by various criteria providing a wide array of options for your demographic analysis. For example, you can breakout household income by zip code.

Know Your Map Audience
Always consider your map audience. Who are your map viewers? Is this analysis map for company decision makers on your perhaps your executive board? If it is, what are they interested in seeing on a map?

In my experience, a big wig has two maps he or she is genuinely interested in:

1. A high level map with not too much detail, that provides a succinct and obvious USA view of the sales per marketing area of interest. Keep it simple and obvious. Remember the C-Suite loves money.
2. A focused map that clearly defines specific areas and layers of interest and supports the overall presentation. Your map should not be cluttered but should speak directly to the issue in question. Don’t try to get fancy – impress with less.

Avoid cluttering the map with extraneous stuff, keeping in mind that what the boss wanted a month ago may no longer be forward-most in her mind today.

Demographic Map Options
Demographics can be added to your map analysis by administrative district across the whole USA. This means you establish a demographic map by zip code, county, state or some other administrative district layer and applying across the whole map. If you require regional maps, simply zoom into that area of interest and save that map view. A population map of the Northwest USA by county can display a point array of your restaurant chain’s drive-through locations while color coding the population levels by county to indicate where new locations might make sense. You’d be focusing on highly populated counties with now drive-through locations.

Alternatively, you can conduct sales territory mapping or build areas of interest (AOI) maps, based on administrative districts in specific areas, and then add multiple demographic layers for analysis. In this scenario you use your business mapping software’s selection techniques to gather a limited group of zip codes or counties together to create an AOI or territory. Then you could add several layers of demographics to further define your AOI.

A homecare franchise organization might create several AOI’s or territories by county. Each individual franchise territory might be defined such that it contains no more than 1.5 million people over all. And your sweet spot customer happens to be of the 80 to 84-year-old male and female demographic. So your customer mapping might pull in general population, plus two layers of 80 to 84 year olds – male and female. Now you can see at a glance whose AOI population is approaching or over the 1.5 million overall. And you can easily determine how many 80 to 84-year-old grannies you’ve got as a target market. Initiate the robo-calling! They love that.

Ah! Look At All the Lonely People
Population studies apply to thousands of disciplines. There’s many good reasons why studies are conducted that analyze ethnicity and race. It’s not all gerrymandering (he said cynically.) Medical, retail, education, non-profit and many other industries use demographic data, and demographic maps to inform their strategic plans as they consider future growth or expose patterns in the population for enhanced decision-making.

The beautiful thing about Map Business Online is that this data is up-to-date and freely available with a 90 day or an annual subscription. And, any of these demographic data layers can be queried and the results exported for use outside of Map Business Online. Export that franchise AOI and keep a copy of it on file with the contract. Export that sales territory map data and keep a copy of it on file with Loretta’s sales records. Export the creepy single female by age analysis you made of Austin, TX and keep it in your glove compartment for the next time your wife kicks you out.

Your Path to Glory
Business mapping by demographics is sexy if you construct your map correctly. If you’ve discovered Map Business Online and no one else in the office has, you’re going to be envy of the office at the sales meeting on Friday. Enjoy it. Revel in it. And resist the temptation to poke fun at your pathetic nemesis this one time. Armed with business maps that sing, your promotion and pay raise is probably just weeks away, depending on your demographic.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Let a digital map help you learn about your business>

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider www.MapBusinessOnline.com as your MapPoint Replacement.

Review us at Google+, g2crowd, chekkt , or Best Vendor

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NEW! Shared Map Editing with Map Business Online


Map Business Online has just implemented more advanced account management tools for business mapping software subscribers. Our most recent release, MBO 4.3, initiates our account management tools by enabling subscription management tools. This means you as a map editor, can decide who views or edits your shared maps.

Not Concurrent Yet
To be clear, the current controls do not enable full featured concurrent map editing. They do however, allow you to decide who can view and edit your shared maps. If you enable one or more map editors, they will be able to edit your maps one user at a time. In our view, full concurrent editing would allow all map editors to edit the map and data layers at the same time. Concurrent editing software would provide a coordinating process to merge all data edits. The current release is not yet full concurrent editing. Look for concurrent tools in a release in the near future.

But it is our belief that most of our current customers will be pleased to allow some shared editing of their shared maps. For instance, sales territory mapping managers will be able to share sale territory maps with their constituents. For those constituents map viewers savvy enough to understand the company territory system, and having met whatever criteria is required to assure compliance with security guidelines, editing privileges can be extended that allow them to add or subtract territories, or add records and edits to a shared sales database.

Improving Sales Performances
At a high level, the reason a company invests in sales territory management software is to make things work better in a measurable way – to improve overall and individual sales performance so that both the company and the sales force make more money. Accordingly, shared map edits will enable a more up-to-date and informed sales territory map designed to help your company do these things:
• Clearly define sales responsibilities for all sales related personnel
• Improve inside and outside sales coordination – less duplication of effort
• Differentiate between active and inactive accounts while clearly defining areas of responsibility
• Provide a regular platform for sharing and measuring progress against goals and objectives

Your Investment
Of course costs are always a primary concern. At $249.95 per user per year for a USA map, costs could escalate quickly if every sales and support person became an MBO subscriber. Fortunately sharing business maps doesn’t require everyone in the company to pay for a subscription.

One of the critical steps in setting up shared map editing is determining exactly who requires a full subscription. In order to edit shared maps, a shared map editor will need to be an annual subscriber to Map Business Online. But you can still share maps for viewing-only with anyone and those map viewers are not required to subscribe. (Subscribers can share up to 100 MapShare sessions per month at no charge.) So, as you consider your territory management team, think through the work-flow and decide who requires map editing capabilities. And remember, most of the people you think will edit the map probably won’t. Despite all your good intentions or your company’s heavy handed policies, most people just don’t love editing maps. Choose carefully. Provide subscription services to those employees you know are fully engaged or require editing tools to do their jobs.

Remember, MapShare viewing only audiences can still use the free maps for these purposes:
• To conduct radius or polygon queries of shared data points and export the result
• Click on color coded points to read about the shared data
• To view shared maps – with the ability to pan and zoom all over the world
• Save map image files as Jpeg or PNG files, or to print the map on 8-1/2 x 11 pages
• Create multi-stop optimized driving routes – Route planning software

That’s a pretty good value for no cost. Free map viewers simply click on the link to view the shared maps. No logging-in required.

Free viewers and designated map editors may be required to key in a password because the recent MBO release allows map subscribers to password protect their shared maps. This means you can securely share your territory maps with designated constituent map viewers and editors.
With the 4.3 release Map Business Online has extended its reputation as the most appropriate replacement for BusinessMap and the best MapPoint alternative. Our growing list of loyal users has watched us add features based on their requests for four years now. And we’re just getting started. Users should look forward to even more capabilities in 2015.

More NEW!
In addition to user account controls, and MapShare security other new features released with MBO 4.3 include:
• A map template folder to preserve a prepared map for regular editing
• Over a dozen new Census demographic categories
• School district boundary map layers
• An independent USPS postal layer with all zip codes

So if you’re new to this blog or new to MapBusinessOnline.com and you’re looking for business data visualization tools, territory mapping software, multi-stop optimized routing, retail mapping or market analysis tools you’ve landed on the right place.

Let a digital map help you learn about your business>

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider www.MapBusinessOnline.com as your MapPoint Replacement.

Review us at Google+, g2crowd, chekkt , or Best Vendor

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