Map Business Online Blog

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

Map Business Online Nooks and Crannies


I’ve eaten English Muffins for breakfast many times in my life. Especially growing up, when Ma was looking for quick, cheap, and easy ways to feed four growing boys before school. I thought Thomas’ English Muffins did a great job using Nooks and Crannies as their advertising tag line. You knew exactly what they meant – you could taste it.

Well, Map Business Online has nooks and crannies too.  There’s a software developer behind every MBO nook and cranny. There are many small details and features we’ve added to our business mapping software that make it a richer, more productive mapping experience for the business mapping user.  I run into these features often, partly because I’m constantly using the product, but also because people ask questions about how to do weird things and often I’m surprised to find out that we actually can do these things.

Copy & Paste Ten Rows

The other day I was providing some training for a collection of Map Business Online team edition users. The team edition is used for shared map editing. We were looking at sales territory mapping based on counties.  We had added demographic data to the territory data base to create a demographic map. The question was asked, “How can we arrange the data in descending order by population and choose the top ten records for export.”  A fair question, and I wasn’t sure what to do.  A quick communication back to headquarters and I had my answer.  Not sure if it’s a nook or a cranny.

Viewing your territory in the Data Window, click the header of the population column until you show the records descending in order from largest to smallest.  Then arrange the data window bounding rectangle to show only your top ten records.  Then, in the lower right-hand corner click the Cut & Paste button. This launches the Copy data dialog box.  Up until now, I had not paid much attention to this box. I don’t copy and paste very often in MBO. Notice that it offers multiple choices for copying.  Choose the lower circle – Rows visible on current page. Now paste into Excel. As they say in Rockport, MA where I grew up when something was wicked easy, “Dimes, or what?”

The Power of the Data Window

Although the Map Business Online Data Window is not Excel by any stretch of the imagination, it does have some unique features that come in pretty handy.  For example, any time you create a query thereby generating a data result in the Data Window, you can take that result and turn it into a territory or an area of interest.  See the button on the Data Window tool bar that shows a green and red arrow over a blue puzzle piece. That button lets you Create new or Edit existing territories.

Using this approach, you are able to filter a dataset by a column of data pertinent only to your business, for instance just the banks in your account list, and then turn all of those geographies into a territory. This could be a nice way to create territories or areas of interest out of a master list without having to create subset data outside of MBO.

And keep in mind, the filtering capability of the data window will let you create multiple criteria for your filter.  For example, determine all of the records with greater than $5,000 in sales, in zip codes 90000 to 90599, and in zip codes 87000 to 87599. And as always the results are exportable.

One more thing – an Area of Interest and a Territory are the exact same thing in MBO. These are simply groups of zip codes, counties, or other geographic districts you’ve selected to represent a focused area of interest. I use the term Area of Interest when applying the tool to market analysis projects and the term Territory when conducting more sales oriented customer mapping projects.

Imported Data Labeling

You know you can import up to one hundred thousand records per map. And you also know that as you import these records you choose the five most important fields to show when someone hovers over the imported data points.  But if you made a mistake when you did this, or if you just want to change the fields that you show upon hover, you can do that. It’s a cranny, Granny.  Hover over your imported Data Layer in the Map & Data Tab, click the Edit Gear when it pops up.  Now along the right side of the dialog box pick the Callout folder tag. Choose Format Callouts and change your fields.

And while you’re in there, get familiar with all the various formatting buttons we’ve added there. Someday your boss is going to request some crazy way to display labels and we just might have it in there.

Imagery Nooks

While you’re in Map & Data, click Map Options along the top to review the imagery options available. Imagery and Streets are new and provide a nice overlay that can combine street level detail with aerial imagery. Very cool in downtown urban areas.

To view more map back ground options, back out to the opening page of Map & Data.  Hover over the Street layer and click the edit gear.  Here you will find two topographic map view options.  One is National Geographic data and the other more of a generic topo quad map.

I’ve run out of blog words and time for this week, but there are many nooks and crannies to Map Business Online. Just don’t go smearing pads of butter on your mapping software. That’s no good for any one. Instead, consider opening up a new map view and just click around. Explore the nooks and crannies that support your business mapping work.

Remember in MBO you can:

  • Import your own symbols
  • Edit data you’ve imported
  • Add incremental records to the map manually
  • Print regular or large format maps
  • Draw free form shapes in the map
  • Summarize your data
  • Export your data query results
  • Add demographic data to your map
  • Share interactive web maps
  • Create map templates
  • Impress family and friends

 

 

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into MapBusinessOnline.com

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

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

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra, or g2crowd

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Ask Not What A Business Map Can Do For You

Ask instead what a business map can do for your business. The answer to that question will vary depending upon your business. Think about your company or organization’s primary goals.  Is your business focused on servicing people or is your company focused on simply driving revenue?  Business mapping tools provide benefits for both types of organizations but in slightly different ways.

Territory Management

Let’s look at territory management. For a company whose primary goal is driving revenue or profit, effective and clearly communicated sales territory management can provide clear guidelines for success, a place for sharing progress toward goals, and many ways to drive accountability into the sales organization.

Applying business sales territory designs to your business will inevitably help drive revenue. You grow what you track. Use territory mapping tools to define where your salespeople can and should sell.  Use route planning software and drive time tools to minimize windshield time. Reduce overlap and legacy relationships that may no longer drive revenue. Sales managers know exactly what I’m talking about here. Leverage the power of business geography to apply these fixes and then use the map to share the results. You’ll be amazed at how a little map communication can enhance your business processes.

Organizations focused on servicing people can also benefit from territory mapping tools. What home care agency doesn’t want to minimize clinicians and aides driving back and forth across town to service patients?  Establishing clear areas of responsibility drives efficiency and productivity into your organization. And there’s a difference between the two.  Reducing day-to-day travel expenses is a result of efficient route planning with minimal overlap between staff members. Reducing travel times while increasing face time with patients improves overall productivity. More productivity is going to:

  • Keep more patients at home for longer periods
  • Increase the satisfaction of your patients
  • Both of above points will drive more referrals

Now that is productivity and it starts with establishing territories.

Drive Time Analysis

Understanding the time it takes to drive from point A to point B to point C may, at times, be critical to your business.  Business mapping software can conduct this analysis for you quickly and in multiple ways. Perhaps it’s simply answering the question of how long will it take me to get to my meeting on time based on a generated multi-stop route.  I have two stops prior to my meeting. This calculation is dirt simple and will provide a reasonable estimate of your time to drive. But what if you want to know how long it will take for the closest 50,000 households, making more than $75,000 per year, to reach your retail outlet? A drive time map can answer that question.

In fact drive time analysis can be easily converted into demographic analysis simply by assigning demographic categories to any zip codes touched by a drive time polygon. For more granular detail use Census tracts instead of zip codes. And don’t stop there. Import a list of competitor locations to get a sense of where the competition locates their stores.

I always find a business map increases in value as you stare at it. The longer you look, the more data you find.

And Drive Time analysis is great for operational planning too.  Home care agencies use drive time estimates to determine how far a clinician or aide must drive to reach a group of clients. Here are a few scenarios home care agencies might implement:

  • Develop maps that display all clients residing within a half hour drive of a clinician’s home address. These half hour drive time territories could become a standard rule for client assignment, designed to lower fuel costs and increase client face-time
  • Create a business map showing the current client/clinician locations during a week prior to a holiday weekend to help plan for the hospital release/admission rush common at these times. Knowing your current staffing realities helps better position your agency for periods of overload.
  • Create an outlier map showing clients living beyond a 40 minute drive of all clinicians. Are there more than one? Is there a reason to hire a clinician to cover a new area? Should these clients be referred to other agencies or contractors?

Ask Instead, Again

Now perhaps driving revenue and caring for people isn’t your company’s bailiwick. Many business mapping users work for organizations dedicated to other things.  Here are a few examples:

  • Billboard management firms
  • Waster material collection and recycling
  • Lawn mowing companies
  • Copier repair services
  • Insurance claim management
  • Booze distribution and wholesale
  • Compressed air machine distribution
  • Ice cream retailer franchises
  • Nation-wide flower distribution and wholesale
  • Real estate mortgage management
  • Banks and finance companies
  • Robotic companies
  • Houseware and gift sales orgs
  • Manufacturers rep associations
  • Truck distribution and repair
  • Moving companies

That list was generated by looking at my notes covering the last two weeks’ of incoming calls.  Ask not where all these companies come from, ask instead why they all are using Map Business Online.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into MapBusinessOnline.com

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

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

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra, or g2crowd

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Map Business Online 4.6 Released – Market Analysis & Draw Layer Enhancements

FranchiseMap
LOWELL, MA (September 10, 2015) — Map Publisher SpatialTEQ Inc., publisher of North America’s premier affordable business mapping software, today announced the release of MapBusinessOnline.com 4.6 (MBO) – enhanced market analysis mapping software for sales and marketing professionals across North America and the UK.  With this release Map Business Online business mapping software introduces improvements to market analysis tools, data summarization reporting, and a variety of additional enhancements, based on user feedback.

All existing MBO subscribers will have immediate access to all new software features when they log into the business mapping application.

MBO 4.6 introduces an enhanced set of draw tools now including free form sales territory creation and editing. Two free form curve draw tools have been added to the list of draw tool options, one for curved areas and another for curved lines.  Existing draw functions have been improved and now allow the user to draw polygon or line objects with a few simple mouse clicks.

With this release the MBO data analysis tools have been expanded to enable the summarization of demographic data by census tracts or block groups.  MBO users will be able to analyze a selected spatial data set against itself using Market Analysis. Market analysis conducted on a list of selected locations will now include the ability to conduct full demographic analysis of any regions defined by a specified radius or drive time polygon. Additionally, MBO market analysis will allow the inclusion of other map layer data in any analysis, enabling the ability to easily combine counties, zip codes, zip3 layers in one analysis. MBO subscribers utilizing the new summarize data by district reporting will now be able to copy the report data to a clipboard for use outside of the business mapping application.

Map Business Online will now include the option to color fill any Zip5 layer holes with full color options. Zip5 postal codes exclude national parks and extremely rural areas, which can leave holes in defined areas of interest.  This new feature allows users to create zip code map areas of interest and sales territories with consistent color shading across the USA.

An area field option has been added to all map layer selections in Map Business Online. This option enables the ability to measure density of imported data points by square mile or kilometer.

Map Business Online will now provide street base map options overlaid on top of included satellite and aerial imagery layers at all zoom levels.

Additional enhancements include the option to choose between kilometers and miles as a measure setting by map, a full set of undo and redo commands for drawing tools, Drive Time analysis has been increased to 300 minutes, and the ability to rename previously saved map files.

About Map Business Online                                                                         

From the creators of BusinessMAP, www.MapBusinessOnline.com has been providing sales & marketing professionals with affordable and intuitive web-based business mapping software for Macs and PCs since 2010. Design, edit, and share maps that reflect your business. Create and manage sales territories that drive accountability into your sales force. Replace discontinued Microsoft MapPoint with MapBusinessOnline. Access optimized multi-stop routes to control travel costs. No other map software solves so much for so little.

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

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How Do I Build Concentric Circle Analysis Using Map Business Online

Sometimes you just need concentric circles. Business mapping software can help you identify areas of interest that pertain to your business. It is not unusual for customers to call saying they are interested in gathering zips codes within a circle. These are zip code maps.

Concentric means multiple circles that share the same center point.

Creating that circle is a pretty straight forward process in Map Business Online.  Simply key in an address in the Address Bar (upper left, white box) or drop a point using the Draw Tools. Either way your point is now located on the map with a mini-toolbar right below it. Click the circle button and set your radius. Faster than you can say Trump’s your uncle your circle is on the map.  Turn on the zip code layer and click the binoculars on the circle to select a circle full of zips.

With concentric circles you click that same point in the map again, and set a new circle with a different radius.  Thus a larger or smaller circle is created and you can query it for zip codes as well.

From Zip Codes to Demographic Maps

Businesses like to gather circles of zip codes for many reasons. Zip codes are a common geographic unit for assessing a market area. You can assign demographic category values quite easily to zip codes because zip code segments are a Census Bureau publishing standard, as are counties, Census tracts, and other segments.

Our users also tend to think in zip code segments for market areas of interest, retail maps that show store drive time areas, or franchise territory assignments.  Sales territories tend to be based on polygons, less regular areas, but you could assign them by circles if you wanted to.

The Donut Map

In the attached video I demonstrate how to subtract zip codes associated with an inner circle from an outer circle. This can be useful when trying to associate population or income with differing sections of your concentric circle analysis. It’s a step by step process and it uses the Data Window Tool Bar button – Create New of Edit Existing Territory.

The new summary feature in Map Business Online is available in concentric circle analysis and lets the user assign demographic, imported or calculated data to your map analysis (as opposed to simply exporting the summary data.) So now your concentric map can analyze an area for demographics by zip code plus your own sales data, and then be used to succinctly share that analysis with your map audience.

Chock up another achievement for Business Mapping Software. Pretty simple but deceptively rich with information, concentric circles serve many purposes in business today. From competitive store analysis to population analysis prior to polling operations, concentric circles in business mapping can help drive your business or organization forward in an organized and informed way. Even if Trump happens to be your uncle.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into MapBusinessOnline.com

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

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

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra, or g2crowd

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How Can I Derive Distances Between Two Datasets Using Map Business Online?

In Map Business Online you can compare datasets to determine distances between too datasets. Lately we’ve had a run of requests for this exact map application.  That’s how business mapping features requests come in, you here no requests for that specific feature for months at a time then suddenly everyone wants that one feature. Cue the theme from the Twilight Zone.

Feature Problem Statement:  I need to show one point on the map – a Business Location, and then import a second, separate data set of address locations and show the distances between each of the new locations and the original business location. I also want to show the distance when I hover over each point.

Making this happen in MBO involves multiple processes but we primarily will focus on the Business Analysis tool.  First, of course, you import your Excel spreadsheet, text file or CSV file. Remember, when you bring in data to include column headers and have separate columns for Address, City, State, and Zip code (or lat/long columns and headers as the case may be.)

As you import be sure to take advantage of the five flexible fields that show up when a user hovers over a symbol on the map.  We’re going to come back to this flex field function a little later, to edit those fields.

There they are, symbols nicely arrayed on the map that represent your customer or business locations.  I will color code my data by Type, but you do what you want with your data. To each his own.  Remember, you can import your own labels should you desire it.

To create a new single point on the map for my Business Location I can either key an address into the address bar – upper left hand White Address Box above the tool bar – or I can drop a point using the Draw Tool Add Location with Callout button – click Add Location after touching the map.  Either way I get a point on the map and a mini-tool bar under the point. Along that mini-tool bar click the middle button Copy Location to Dataset.  Choose the New option. Rename the New Dataset you are making to Business Location. Business Location is now a Dataset in the Map & Data tab. See it checked On in the Map & Data list.

Now I need to apply the Market Analysis tool. I choose the Second option down from the top – Find nearest store. In the top drop down I select my originally imported dataset with the many locations. That’s my “Customer Locations.” In Market Analysis we refer to the two data sets being compared as customers and store locations. It could be anything – drop-off points and warehouse, parishioner homes and church, or even politician office locations and the nearest prison.

In the bottom drop down I choose my Business Location dataset. That’s my store.  I choose no maximum distance, because I want them all. And I rewrite the text that says Store to now say Distance to Business Location. Write whatever you want. Now click Next.

The returned data in the Data Window should show my original dataset with a new column labeled Distance to Business Location.  These records should show distances in that column. Awesome possum.  Now let’s think about those points on the map again.

How can we show distances when we hover over those points?  We can edit those five flexible fields we set up when we imported our data. You might ask, ‘How?’ Well I’m going to tell you how.

In Map & Data hover your mouse cursor over the data target layer (your imported data), click the Edit Gear that pops up. Choose the Callout Tab. Click Format Callouts.  I can tell you’re getting excited. In that left panel scroll down to choose one of the five flex field options listed. Underneath whichever one you want to use, drop down to the data column labeled Distance to Business Location.  Choose that column.  You can edit the text a little if you feel it’s necessary.  Now click Change Callouts and go hover over one of those points on the map.

High fives all around. Mission accomplished.

What I love about this application example, and about Map Business Online in general, (and you may have heard me say this before) is that it provides so many editable features so you can make your map sing to your map audience. Every business uses its own vernacular and business processes to represent what it does.  Map Business Online, with a little research, can help you describe and possibly better manage your own business work flows using maps.

So the next time you bring a map into the corner office, don’t let Poke-a-Hole-In-It Phil distract from your point with stupid questions designed to make you look bad. Use MBO to clean up your map and tell your story in a way that speaks to your audience. You could even reset a legend line to say: “Suck an egg Phil,”  in case it’s your last day.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into MapBusinessOnline.com

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

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

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra, or g2crowd

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What Map Business Online Did on Its Summer Vacation

Map Business Online has released several new features over the summer that some of you may be very interested in. We don’t say a lot about new features over the summer months because so many people are on reduced schedules.

During August we released our Act! Contact management integration.  Act! Users can now upgrade to MBO Act! support through the Act! Market place (coming soon) and through an MBO patch available through Map Business Online.

Act! Users will be able to select contacts in Act! And export them to MBO for routing or list segmentation and campaign development. Plus the Act! world now has access to the best geo-market analysis and sales territory management tools available at this price point.

And for Salesforce.com users we’ve got you covered.  Just got to Salesforce.com AppExchange and migrate your Map Business Online subscription to a Salesforce version.  It’s at no charge for existing subscribers.

Additionally, general MBO users have now got some new tools to play with:

  • Summarize your data – You may have read about the summarize option available by Color Coding Points, but you may not be aware that you can now create summarized data reports by radius, drive time or polygon areas. Look for the Summary tool (a stretched capital E) associated with your shape’s mini-tool bar . Click it and enjoy the import options. They include your imported data, demographic data, and calculated datasets you’ve compiled. Export to Excel for use outside the application. Or look for the Add to Map feature in Summarize and place a label on your map describing your data.
  • Imagery & Streets – Sometimes you just have to compare real street aerial imagery to the vector street layer that map providers commonly use.  Well now Map Business Online let’s you do just that. Select the option Imagery and Streets in the Map & Data view drop down. You’ll see street vectors with labeling over aerial imagery at all zoom levels. It’s like Google but without all the ads and the crazy UI.
  • Market Analysis – Comparing two datasets has been a cool feature of MBO for a few years now but now you’ll be able to do more. For instance, let’s say you have a list of properties or businesses and you want to know the approximate population value within a radius of miles of each location. You can now run that query which can add up to three demographic category results to your imported data layer. You could run a similar query to add data columns that total by the location’s county, zip code or state as well.
  • Sales Territory Mapping Fill – Some users like to show their sales territories completely color coded with no blank areas for non-zip code sections of the USA.  We’ve added a preference setting under the zip codes folder in Map & Data. Here you can choose to set your zip codes to “USPS Zip codes with fillers.”  This means if you create a territory in Utah or Nevada with this setting turned on, any national parks will show a color code that matches surrounding territory zips.
  • Area of Interest Square Mile Measure – We’ve added an area square mile measurement to the Demographic Data listing – go all the way to the bottom to find it.  You can add this function to your territory maps, market areas of interest, any area that is based on map layers like zip codes or counties.  Using this area measure tool you can add square mile or kilometer totals to your market analysis.
  •  Circle & Drive Time Search – You should also notice, when you conduct a search of an area by radius search or drive time polygon creation there is now an option at the bottom of the save dialog to search for the nearest “X” quantity of locations.  This qualifier will let you immediately limit your search to a certain number of records. For example, a drive time search of a hospital could provide a drive time polygon of 20 minutes and a list of the five closest emergency rooms.

There are a bunch of smaller enhancements, little things that make the Map Business Online a little easier to use, or a little more useful to typical MBO business map users. Software enhancements are always a combination of little improvements and bigger new features.  We depend on user feedback to understand what the product needs most to make it the best business mapping tool available anywhere.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into MapBusinessOnline.com

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

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

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra, or g2crowd

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