Map Business Online Blog

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

How Can I Query a List of Cities?

Sometimes a business map user wants to conduct a radius search on a data base of cities, and to export the query result out of the application. A search result of cities can be achieved using Map Business Online, and other business mapping software applications.  A few tweaks are necessary to set up the city data.

Cities are present in Map Business Online in multiple ways.  The base map data shows cities as part of the background map tapestry that is included with Map Business Online. However, the cities in the base map data are not query-able because they are part of the base map raster image, as opposed to a layer on top of a vector map background.The background base map is a one continuous image that covers the whole world and that image includes cities and towns.

MBO users can make sure their vector layers, like zip codes, states or counties, are set to transparent which will let those cities and towns show through and into your map analysis. Transparency controls are located in your target map layer in Map and Data. Still, that background map raster image will only show certain cites at certain zoom levels. Zoom further in to expose less populated cities and towns.

Premium Map Layers

Additional map layers are available in Map Business Online for annual subscription holders.  Click the Blue Globe button on the tool bar, now located about seven buttons in from the left.  Here you’ll find City Limits and Cities, as well as other additional layers of interest.

For developing exportable lists of cities, you’ll want to use the City Limits layer.  The layer called Cities is a visual reference of city points only. Users can add the City layer on top of territory or market analysis maps, for reference purposes, but you can’t query the City layer.
City Query
If you Add your City Limits layer to the map you’ll be able to build areas of interest and territories based on City Limits, just like you’ve done using State, County or Zip Code layers. City Limit objects are presented to the map viewer based on city population size – the more populated cities show up at the zoomed out levels.  As you zoom into the map more cities and towns come into view.

City Limit territories and markets areas will include all city limit objects within your designated circular or polygon areas of interest. If you conduct a radius search the resultant dataset will include all the city limits touched by the radius or polygon object as well as all cities included within the circle or polygon.

I love the city limit layer for building demographic maps or for creating map analysis that tends to focus on metropolitan areas.

Adding the City Limits layer to your map lets you build areas of interest and export those city and town names out of MBO as a CSV file. A city limits based areas of interest view is also sharable through interactive map web map sharing, through shared saved image files, or via a printable map. MBO users can also add city names to your zip code analysis as well. Read on.

USPS Zip Codes

When you purchase or try Map Business Online, the application comes setup with Census ZTCA zip codes preloaded.  With ZTCA zips selected, territories and market areas of interest will list zip codes but will not include cities and towns, or placenames in your zip code analysis. To change this, open the Map & Data box.  Choose the Edit Gear on Map and Data tool bar.  You are now in the Manage Map and Data function. Choose the Zip codes tab.

In Zip Codes, along the bottom there is a drop down for Zip Code options.  Choose USPS Zip Codes with Fillers.  Fillers will allow you to fill in territory gaps over national parks; this can be helpful out West or in northern Maine. By choosing the USPS zip codes, your zip code map analysis and sales territory mapping will now include a column for Placename and in this case Placenames refers to a database of cities and towns.

Once you’ve chosen your Zip Code option, all territories and areas of interest you create moving forward will include a column for Placenames. Please be aware your old maps will not pick up this change.

Import Your Own List of Cities

Now you might think we’ve got you completely covered in Map Business Online with the various city data options listed above; and for most people, we do.  However, you’ll run into the occasional business map user who has a boss who wants to see only certain cities on his map, or perhaps he or she wants a to see certain cities with labels turned on and some with labels turned off. I just thought I’d mention, you can always create a two column spreadsheet of cities and states for manually placing city points on the map. It’s definitely going old school for city listings, but it will let you tweak the placement and labeling just the way your boss likes it.

Between the Placenames column and the City Limits option, you should have plenty of ways to get lists of cities for your use within or outside of 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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A Change Can Do You Good – with Business Mapping

Managing change is critical to your organization’s ability to grow and achieve goals. Change is also inevitable, like death and taxes, right? Change has to be managed – as a business manager you can’t just let things change and do nothing about it. Sometimes change has to be pro-actively implemented. If your current business model is no longer achieving what it used to, then a change is required. On occasion change can be sudden and, as a manager, it’s your job to help lead the organization out of any crisis.

But Cheryl Crow was right when she sang, “A change (pause) will do you good.” Sudden or gradual, good or bad, changes in our business environment inform us about our business. Because understanding your business better is always good.

A downturn in the economy can quickly tell us that the company payroll and operating expenses are oversized for our target market. A gradual decline of sales in a market niche tells us we need to change our sales strategy. Reacting appropriately and reacting quickly can turn a threat into a business opportunity. Responding to change can turn the loss of a customer into the discovery of new markets. You see, it’s good!

Business mapping software provides analysis tools that can help unravel market shifts and provide clues as to what business direction to take next. Map data visualizations and location-based analysis suggest new directions in the face of old and failing business patterns. Don’t make the mistake of implementing radical strategic change in your business without spending time viewing your location-based data against a business map. Regardless of what business mapping application you use, today’s tools are completely affordable. There’s really no excuse not to take the time to import your business data onto a web-based business map and look at it. Then spend some time considering what you see.

When I Was a Boy…
When I first moved to Maine I worked for an industrial electrical wholesaler that catered to the paper mill industry. Business was great. The paper mills were major employers in Maine and they purchased lots of industrial electrical parts. The whole world needed paper back then. About six months after I came on I was introduced to my first IBM business PC. A strange looking machine with its own huge table at the back of the office. No email yet, no Internet, but that large piece of equipment held the seeds of the decline of the paper industry. Unbeknownst to us, big change was coming.

Thirty years later, with the paper businesses largely gone, Maine’s industrial wholesalers are somehow still selling industrial products. Many have merged with national chains to assure survival, but all of them learned to sell products into new and growing industries – biotech, telecom, local food, alternative energy, and health care industries to name just a few. Most of these industries didn’t exist in 1985, including business mapping software.

In 2007 I was managing a mapping software publisher’s professional sales team. Much of our revenue was generated from the oil and gas industry. That year our team noticed orders coming in from wind energy companies. When we mapped their locations we saw new wind energy businesses located all over the country, but coming to use for low cost GIS software. We sent sales people to meet with these new accounts. We decided to exhibit at the American Wind Energy Association. By paying attention, conducting some basic map market analysis, and acting immediately, our team was one of the first to market in the booming wind energy field. For two years that revenue stream helped us meet our sales objectives.

Like a Shark, Keep Moving Forward
There are many ways a business map can help a business navigate or manifest significant change. Here are some real life examples:

Franchise Organizations utilize several geographic visualization features from mapping software. Typically they like to arrange franchise territories by zip code maps. A shared web map can provide a dirt simple visualization of zip code sales territories for new franchise owners, keeping the competing retailers or service orgs out of each other’s way. Additionally, a franchiser might use a business map to explore potential new markets through demographic analysis by zip code or county, or by setting up competitor franchise maps that show where they might do well by increasing their presence around the nation. At times, a franchise company may choose to manage their franchise sales by color coding zip codes, red and green zip codes denote sold or available territories. Although these companies tend to use zip codes, any district geography like counties or Census tracts, would do.

Cross Industry Sales & Marketing Teams – Competitor maps should be a basic tool for any sales or marketing department. It’s quite simple. Compile a spreadsheet of your top ten competitors by address. Import the spreadsheet into your business map application and view those competitor points on the map. Add some demographic data; perhaps population and median income. Add a spreadsheet of your own company’s locations. Now sit back and think about what you are seeing. If there are areas where your competitor exists and you don’t what should you do? Open a store? Hire an outside sales person? Conduct a direct mail campaign? Or perhaps, based on demographic trends, you should skip that area and focus on more lucrative markets. Sometimes I hear people complain about what a chore it will be to compile those competitor addresses. Ever wonder if your competitor took the time to compile a map of your locations?

Retail StoresDrive time maps come in handy for market analysis simply because driving time is always a consideration for measuring retail store potential or sales call efficiency. The question answered by a drive time query is, “How long will it take a customer to drive from their home or office to my store location?” Think like a pizza store. There’s got to be a sweet spot for customer driving time to pick up a pizza. I’d drive ten minutes to buy a pizza, but I probably would not drive a half hour (especially with kids under the age of ten in the car.) Now reverse the analysis and consider how far you want to drive to deliver pizza or how far your sales people should drive to talk to a customer. Windshield time vs. talk time should always be a consideration. Maps can help us assess how many possible customers live within a radius of our sales force and how likely it would be to interface with them.

Health Care Expansion Planning – Expansion happens constantly in the healthcare field. As hospitals and insurance companies expand into new markets and adjust to the Affordable Care Act, they are forced to consider how they will interface with related medical businesses within any new market areas. It’s not unusual for hospital systems to create business analysis maps that display every possible medical business within a 25 mile radius of a hospital center. This radius analysis compares the customer and ambulance drive times with rural medical coverage areas, home care agencies, and quick care opportunities, thereby providing a geographic starting point for strategic expansion planning. Market expansion possibilities are side-by-side with operational realities in a map like this. Medical systems are complex and maps help to organize complexity into a business strategy.

Business Listings are often used to describe a market’s potential or to populate a business area of interest with potential customers. Business maps may or may not offer business listings but you can always secure datasets through online services like http://www.infousa.com, http://www.specialdatabases.com, or https://www.dandb.com. Add a list of potential customer addresses into your business mapping software to your market analysis maps. Apply the business mapping filtering tools to develop and manage call lists across your sales organization. A small investment in a target area prospect list will provide new objectives for your sales team and ultimately should lead to new industries that require your products and services.

There are many ways in which technology can help us face change effectively. Mapping software is one tool that is available, relatively easy to use, and affordable. If you’re using spreadsheets and web browsers you are capable of using business mapping software. At the pace our business mapping software is growing, I can assure you that others in your industry are considering their business by looking at a business map.

Don’t wait for change to happen to you. Take control over your business direction. Start business mapping before your competitors do.

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 Now Integrated with Act! – But why?

Over the last six months Map Business Online has been upgraded to integrate with both Act! and Salesforce.com. Users of both of these popular CRM systems should find this upgrade extremely convenient for viewing contacts and prospects against an accurate map, creating marketing campaigns based on map filters, and for achieving more effective route optimizations.

Business Mapping and Customer Relationship Management are natural technology partners. Both Act! and Saleforce.com users apply their CRM software to their customer lists. These powerful software products allow sales and marketing teams to organize their customer and prospect lists for more effective utilization in sales campaigns and general lead management. The critical element for sales people is to make sure to actually use the CRM systems provided.

For both Act! and Salesforce.com integrations Map Business Online provides an easy-to-access import process. Act! users can actually export their list of customers directly to Map Business Online from within Act! to build customer maps. Salesforce.com users launch Map Business Online and proceed with an import process that offers Salesforce data, contacts, prospects, or accounts, as an import options. MBO is a true sales mapping software.

Act! users will also find an easy ability to create vehicle routing stop lists from their Act! dashboard. They can choose to export a segment of customers specifically for generating an optimized sales call route. This makes the tool perfect for the individual sales person who wants an efficient route focused on a particular city or hotel location. The MBO multi-stop route planner is derived from the base map data. It takes into consideration road classifications, bridges, turn restrictions, and speed limits to develop the most efficient way to get from a starting point through a list of stop required for the day or the week.

Both Act! and Salesforce.com integrations with Map Business Online offer an on-map tool bar button that lets the user view the customer record all the way back in the CRM database. Just click a point on the map and hit that CRM button on the mini-toolbar and you are viewing your contact details in your Act! or Salesforce.com CRM.

Those are the major features of the integration. However, the real power of Map Business Online for CRM users goes way beyond these direct integration conveniences. As a CRM user and Map Business Online subscriber you now have access to some pretty cool benefits:

Business Data Visualizations – At the click of a mouse you can visualize a segment of your customer list on a map. You can see where your customers cluster and more importantly, where they do not cluster. No sales or marketing strategy is complete without map visualizations
Sales Territory Mapping – You CRM environment now has direct access to Sales Territory Management. You’ll be able to clearly define who calls on specific areas of interest for your company. You can show overlapping territories, query accounts by territory, and publish and share periodic performance results using shared maps. Business maps define sales accountability for CRM organizations. Use them!
Shared Map Editing – Map Business Online can be used to set up teams of collaborative map editors. These share map projects can further drive results within your organization. Collaboration leverages your best minds towards your toughest problems. You will encourage cross department problem solving with shared map editing. Team editing is perfect for sales territory sharing, market analysis, and customer payment monitoring.
Market Analysis has many elements that are enhanced through the application of business mapping. With MBO you can bring demographic analysis to every map view your make. A competitor map view will reveal places you may want to consider or stay away from. And MBO’s advanced Market Analysis tool lets you compare two data sets to derive distance matrixes or query records around multiple points.
Classify & Color Code – Symbolization options abound with Map Business Online – import your own symbols or use the heat map view to liven up your business maps. The beauty of Map Business Online is its ability to customize your map based on your terminology, your business data, and your organization’s goals and objectives.
Access Geographic Layers – Every business has their own work flows and often they involve zip code look ups or zip code maps, county views, or some other district level operation on a map. Access these map layers in MBO for use in your particular business model. Share view-only maps with constituents at no cost.
Up-to-date Map Data – Finally, view a business map with updated and accurate road maps and addressing. Throw out that old MapPoint mapping with the outdated maps. MBO will geocode your address databases faster and more accurately than any mapping application you’ve tried. And if a point doesn’t geocode (locate), for whatever reason, you’ll have an opportunity to correct it.

All this is what I mean when I say that Map Business Online is the perfect complementary software for a CRM organization. Expand the reach of your CRM tools through business mapping. Explore the power of adding up to 100,000 customer locations per map to your business map view. Extend the strategic vision of your organization through the power of location based market analysis.

Win with business mapping and CRM. 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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Is Map Business Online Easy to Use?

We often get this question through phone calls and emails, “Is your business mapping product easy-to-use?”

This is a reasonable question that is somewhat difficult to answer. One could approach the answer from a variety of perspectives.

The easy answer for me is, “Yes. Of course it is. That’s why we’ve been so successful growing the user base and replacing MapPoint.” But, I’m a sales guy and who can really trust a sales guy to answer that question honestly?

One reason the question can be problematic is that I am not familiar with every caller’s technical abilities. There a variety people with a variety of skills and capabilities who could ask that easy-to-use question. Here are a few examples of how it might go:

Techno-Wizard – this person is great with technology. Technical challenges are usually easy for her to solve. She enjoys them. The chances are excellent she will find MBO very easy to use.

Competent Organized Business Dude – This guy is confident, in control of his day. He has administrative help to help him get things done. He made his goal and bonus last year. MBO will be easy for him too.

Ms. Hathaway – Administrative Assistant to Mr. Drysdale – Always competent, Ms. Hathaway finds MBO quite easy-to-use and has used it to help her boss visualize the bank branches where profitability can be most improved. However, when Jethro Bodine walks by while she’s retail mapping, her symbols have been difficult to manage. Ms. Hathaway realizes she needs to make sure distractions are at a minimum before she maps.

Admin to a Demanding Boss – Many administrative assistants call to learn about Map Business Online in terms of what their boss wants. I always prepare for trouble here because no matter how much the admin prepares her map, her boss is going to have a more complex vision of what the map should do. So I often suggest that admins be prepared to explain to their boss, “Maps are designed to communicate. Trying to solve all problems with one map often creates map clutter and defeats the purpose of a shared business map. At times a boss with a vision thing can make easy mapping difficult.

My Dad & Lt. Colombo – My father is really good with technology for an eighty two year old, but anything new takes time and he’s going to ask hundreds of questions. Does that mean the program is not easy? Not really. It means he does pretty well for a Parkinson’s patient. He behaves a lot like Lt. Colombo; pretty much convincing you he’s ready for lock-down and then asks a brilliant question that solves the murder, or mapping challenge.

Mr. Intimidated by Technology – Many people are intimidated or overwhelmed by technology. I can’t blame them. It happens to me regularly. Ask my wife about our broken remote pile. For those intimidated by technology MBO can be a mystery on a bad day or a God send on a good day. My suggestion for those of us who’s brains can freeze when overwhelmed – take a walk, take a nap, take something, get a cup of coffee and take your time. Make mapping fun. If you can do those things your business mapping and other technical work will be easier.

Health Care Manager – Usually MBO can help to simplify the lives of health care managers. They are often using maps to manage or visualize a mobile staff. Applying territories and coverage area maps to their work can be illuminating. But I’ve learned these people are extremely busy. And usually technology isn’t their number one priority. Savings lives or keeping patients comfortable is at the top on their priority list. This presents constant conflict in their lives as they struggle between emergencies and organizing chaos in preparation for future emergencies. For them MBO can be easy-to-use and then, during an emergency just logging in can feel like planning an Apollo moon shot. Practices and preparation for the big game is key to keeping things easy under fire.

Large Business Users – Especially with the demise of MapPoint, people who work in larger companies need new mapping tools for their work. Sales and marketing pros usually use maps to visualize or analyze a situation. They recognize fairly quickly that MBO is easy-to-use. Their challenge is more focused on their company’s restrictions, especially around cloud services. It’s important to realize that privacy and security are top priorities for Map Business Online (see this previous blog.) We’ll work with you procurement process and your IT department to make sure your business is as protected as it can be. So they feel comfortable allowing use to access an easy-to-use business mapping software. Read more here.

Territory Managers – This is actually a fairly common role in North American medium to large size businesses. And of all features in Map Business Online, we really do make the sales territory mapping process much easier. The tools ability to import customer data sets in Excel, pre-assigned territory regions in Excel, and the ability to create and manage territories on the fly, is unsurpassed at our affordable prices point. Try the application for free to see for yourself.

In general, people who are comfortable with basic technology – spread sheets, word processing, web browsers, do just fine with http://www.MapBusinessOnline.com. People who crush an occasional remote should be sedated. And people who are intimidated by technology should consider learning MBO for their own personal achievement, for they will find themselves business mapping or creating territories or building customer maps in short order.

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, g2crowd

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SpatialTEQ Releases MapBusinessOnline 4.5 – Improved GeoData and Demographic Reporting for Sales & Marketing Professionals

MBO 4.5

LOWELL, MA (May 6, 2015) — Map Publisher SpatialTEQ Inc., developer of North America’s premier affordable business mapping software, today announces the release of MapBusinessOnline.com 4.5 (MBO) – expanded business data and demographic data reporting for sales and marketing professionals across North America and the UK. With this release Map Business Online business map program introduces improvements to data visualizations, report generation options, callout controls, and location point and map color coding capabilities.

Data Window Enhancements and Reporting Options
MapBusinessOnline 4.5 geographic search tools and the Data Window or data sheet view, now include demographic report buttons for easy report generation. Users can select this button to summarize demographic data by selected geographic extent and include report views in the map as a text box. Users may also export report results to CSV file format for use outside the map application.

MBO Data Window database controls will now include the ability to cut and paste data from the Data Window and user created marketing lists into Excel. MBO Data Window improvements also include the ability to search zip code ranges, apply column width controls, and the ability to reorder fields. Data window search filters will now allow users create zip code maps by filtering by a defined series of zip codes.

Color Coding Improvements
MBO 4.5 adds the ability to summarize by numeric value, imported and color coded locations by state, county, zip5 code, zip3 code, MSA, city or Census tract. During the color code process MBO users will be offered the option to summarize numeric data by map layer. This new color coding option enables the ability to view sales totals by zip code using colored circles or charts for symbols. All MBO color coding dialogs, except heat maps, will be expanded to enable group color code locations summaries by state, county, zip5 code, zip3 code, MSA, city or Census tract maps.

A recalculate button will enable easy recalculation of updated datasets preserving color coding schemes and saving time. The color coding dialog will include options for excluding negative, zero, non-positive and empty values from range calculations. Color coding will now support unique values in numeric fields.
Business Analysis Map
New Callout Options
Responding to many feature requests, MBO location point callouts (labels) will now include size control and additional content control. Users will have the option to select compact or regular size callouts. Other callout controls include background color, format adjustments to originating column, and the assignment of up to five data values.

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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Common Sales Territory Mapping Solutions from Map Business Online

Sales territory mapping is a common and valuable business application of business mapping software. I’d have to say I get more calls and emails from business people looking for territory maps than any other business mapping application. Here’s list of the most common territory mapping challenges we hear about and solve with Map Business Online.

I need to create a territory map from a zip code list
MBO has an import button on the tool bar dedicated to this task. Simply navigate to your territory spreadsheet and import the territories. You should have a column for zips and a column for territory name. You can also import lists for state, and county territories. And the crowd goes wild.

I want to optimize my territories by Census population
Create that first territory (by polygon search, import, or incremental selection of zip codes, counties, states, or Census tracts) and then, in the data view of your territory click the Add Data button (lower right) to access MBO’s included demographic data. You can add columns for population, population segments, median income, households, ethnicity, and much more. Once you’ve set up one territory with demographic data, all other territories created in that map view will have the same demographic layers included. Using the Total option in the bottom section of the territory Data Window view you can tweak your zip code segments adding to or subtracting from your territory, based on Population totals. And remember, you can export each associated territory list for use outside of MBO. You’ll have territories with demographics by zip code, county, state or Census tract. Take a bow.

I need to generate a list of all our zip code territories by territory name
In the Data Window, select the full, USA wide zip code layer in the data drop down. Use the Add Data button to generate the append data dialog. In the left drop down choose General and pick the Territory column, then move that Territory selection to the right side dialogue panel. Click format data columns. Now, you should filter your list. Click the Filter Button on the Data Window toolbar. Filter for General and Territory, then choose a modifier of “>” (greater than) and in the numeric field on the right put “0” (zero). Click Filter. You’ve just filtered your data to reflect only your zips with a territory name. Export to CSV file using the last Data Window button on the right. The same logic applies to counties, states or other district based territories. You are officially a hero in accounting now.

I want to isolate one territory and show it on the map view
In the Data Window drop down select the territory you are interested in viewing. Right beneath the drop down selector check the box labeled “Filter Data on Map.” Viola! You can save this view as a saved map for easy retrieval later.

I want to query imported customer data by territory
In the Data Window drop down, select the customer data you want to target for your query. Once selected move to the right side of the tool bar and select the Yellow Puzzle Piece Icon – “Search Data Inside of Territory.” Give the saved dataset a name. To view only that territory’s allocation of data, right beneath the drop down selector, check the box labeled “Filter Data on Map.” You rule over minions and they bow to your mapping skills.

I want to export a list of zip codes from one territory
Select the target territory in the Data Window data drop down. Each territory displays a column listing the zip codes included in that territory. Note the quantity of zips included is listed in the bottom left. Move your cursor all the way to the right of the Data Window tool bar and click the Export Dataset button. Save in your favorite location on your desktop Mac or PC. Then give a thumbs up sign to your cubical mate.

I want to share my territory map with my sales organization.
Once your map is arranged to your liking, save the map view. Next click the Two People icon on the tool bar (towards the left.) A MapShare dialogue opens up. Choose the Public Sharing tab, which can still be Password protected for security purposes. Click Share map. You can copy the selected unique Map URL and paste it into a text or email, or you can use the e-mail option to generate an email with the link included, from your default email application.

Your map viewers do not have to be subscribers. They can simply click the link or copy and paste the link into a web browser tab. Each MapShare view starts with the click or paste and ends when the Viewer shuts that tab down. You get up to 200 free map views you can share per month – see subscription options: http://www.mapbusinessonline.com/Subscription.aspx And you may be up for an academy award.

I want to manipulate my Map Legend.
If the legend is not showing, you can open it from the Map & Data Tab. Click the Edit Properties Gear and look to the bottom section for the Edit Legend button. With the Map Legend displayed, click the small Edit Circle in the upper right hand corner. Once in edit mode, you can choose which data sets you want displayed, and pretty much over write any content in a white box. Use this editable legend to make your map communicate effectively with your map audience. Use words they understand based on your business vernacular. Hint: If the audience is the C-Suite use money terms. If it’s product management, use product terms. If it’s your in-laws, play up the grandchildren and hint about a trip to Disney World.

I want to show sales results by territory.
This is actually pretty easy and a real differentiator for Map Business Online. Once your territory map is complete you can import a dataset of accounts with associated sales dollars. The points will show on the map, but you can do this with the imported layer turned off or on.

In Map & Data hover over the map layer you used as a base for your territories – most often that’s zip code but it could be state or county. Click the Gear icon that pops up. Choose Labels and Callouts (vertical text on the right side), then choose the Format Labels and Callouts button. Pick the Territory callouts Tab. Use the lower section that says: “Select data column to show its total value in territory callout.” In the drop down choose your data, and then choose your sales dollars column. You can edit the Prefix to your liking. Click the Change Labels & Callouts button in the lower left. You are now officially “too cool for school.”

Use business mapping software for market analysis, customer mapping, competitive analysis, or any number of business reasons.

_____________________________________________________________________________
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.

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra, g2crowd

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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.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

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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Are You Looking for a MapPoint Alternative?

“People who bet against the Internet, who think that somehow this change is just a generational shift, miss that it is a fundamental reorganizing of the power of the end-user. The Internet brings tremendous tools to the end-user, and that end-user is going to use them.” – Eric Schmidt, CEO at Google


Last month Microsoft announced that it was discontinuing MapPoint, its desktop business mapping software, as of December 2015. Obviously, because I work for www.MapBusinessOnline.com (MBO), I see this as an opportunity. Still it’s kind of like saying goodbye to an old friend.

Five years ago, while working at http://www.DeLorme.com where I headed up the professional mapping division where we competed against MapPoint every day. At one point, the company hired an ex-MapPoint manager who, while never violating his non-disclosure commitments, gave me a sense of what a great team MapPoint had assembled.

MapPoint was a great desktop product. In addition to providing a solid array of almost GIS features and being extremely affordable, the product provided API access to the software enabling automation of some services. And although Microsoft really gave up on the product five or more years ago, it has remained a major competitor in the business mapping sector.

So what should MapPoint users do now for a MapPoint replacement? Here are a few ideas based on what I know.

Let Go of the Desktop
I know for some of you this is a challenge. You worry about your data security and the ability to import all of your data records. The desktop feels secure compared to the web. Well I am here to say, “Relax!” Web-based business mapping applications and mapping services are completely secure. MBO’s cloud service is hosted through Microsoft Azure where the data is encrypted. And even though we provide the cloud business mapping service our users love, none of us at MBO can view user data or maps. Only you can access your data using your log-in credentials. We have healthcare and banking customers using our cloud mapping services to access business mapping tools. Believe me, it is safe and secure.
And actually, business mapping software is even more accessible than desktop business mapping software. You can log-in to your business maps from any web browser – PC based or Mac based. How cool is that? I was once traveling in Mexico and had to provide an emergency web demo to a customer in Canada. I simply logged into my account using a hotel lobby business-center computer and proceeded as usual. The Internet is the Internet for a reason – it’s ubiquitous, it’s fast, and it’s here to stay.

Our business mapping software and many of our web-based competitors’ products allow tens of thousands of records to be imported and geocoded on a business map. We’ll allow as many as 100,000 imported records per map. You will find web based services to be more robust and faster than a five-year old desktop environment. We recently tested the MapPoint geocoder and found MapPoint failed to match 2% of the addresses we imported. We feel this error rate is too high and users should expect better results with web-based business mapping options. So get ready for improved geocoding performance (geocoding refers to when you plot data points or your location-based spreadsheets into a web map application.)

Symbolizing and Color Coding Your Imported Data
We’ve spent the last four years matching and surpassing MapPoint features. It’s been a challenge, but well worth the effort. Now you can Color-code and symbolize your business data in a variety of ways – including heat maps – which MapPoint did not offer. Most business mapping tools offer a library of symbols you can apply to your data. You can easily create your own symbols. MBO allows color coding by oversized circles that are flexible in size and color – great for over emphasizing sales results. Charts and graph symbols are available too. If you think of more ways you’d like to symbolize your data please let us know.

Territory Management
Sales territory management is another function we think is even better in web-based mapping tools. One way territory creation can be achieved is by importing a spreadsheet of your territory assignments. This could be a way to transition your MapPoint territories into a MapBusinessOnline or a competitor’s system. And of course, you can create territories on the fly using polygon or incremental selection tools.

If you’ve been using MapPoint for territory management you should look forward to the territory management tools now available to you. In our case, MBO allows more flexibility in constructing territories out of various administrative district layers. The various methods of territory creation provide the MBO user with great flexibility:

• Import pre-assigned territory spreadsheets
• Select administrative districts (zips, counties, etc.) using a polygon tool
• Incrementally select administrative districts one by one
• Filter zip codes by numeric lists (i.e. zips 01966 through 01989) and save as a territory

MBO includes the ability to query imported location data by territory. And users can aggregate their sales or customer data by territory, displaying sales totals alongside the territory names. That’s cooler than MapPoint. MapPoint does let you remove administrative district boundaries internal to a territory. That feature is on our list of territory related improvements to make over the next six months.

Filter & Segment Your Data
MBO provides a tabular data window view of imported user data. Within this window the user can filter data in a variety of ways including simple searches for specific content or by using formula modifiers like “>”, “<”, “=”, or “contains”. The user can filter any column of imported data and display and save that segmented list for use on the map, in building multi-stop vehicle routes, or to export for use outside the application. Filter by state, or filter by a query you design. We feel our data filtering process works better than MapPoint’s.

The Base Map Data
The one area Microsoft MapPoint let go of early on was street data updates. I don’t think they’ve presented an up-to-date street map dataset for a number of years. I just assumed it was a licensing expense issue – but I have no idea what the deal was. Cloud mapping services like Map Business Online secure their map data through web service agreements with map data providers. It’s more efficient to update map data layers for web services than it is for desktop applications. At least I think so. Our base maps are updated quarterly. And I think you’ll find that web-based business mapping services offer better background map views and a wider variety of administrative districts – for instance we just added city limits, MSA’s and Census tracts. MapPoint did not support City Limits. This also means you can expect to color code your business data by zip code, county or any other district. Think number of sales accounts by county or total sales by state – all colored and legend related. It’s as if you were a map maker by trade!

In addition to the street data improvements on the base map layer, many web-based MapPoint alternatives offer satellite map views and topographic map views. Base map data layers available from digital map companies are improving all the time. Today there is no excuse for having old map data. We live in a world of crowd sourced/open sourced worldwide mapping. If your map data has errors in it – complain to the map provider.

Demographic Analysis
Shop around the various mapping applications and you will find demographic data is also available. Here MapPoint’s analysis capabilities exceeded many of the offerings in the competing price range. For basic analysis and display of demographic data most of you will be just fine with the web-based tools available; however for more advanced demographic analysis (thematic mapping) you’re going to have to get your boss to increase the mapping budget because MapPoint provided some sweet capabilities at a low price point. You may require true GIS software now. Assume your costs will be north of $5000. But keep checking on this because web-based mapping tools are constantly improving and demographics data is in demand. MBO will be adding a dozen new Census demographic themes next month as part of our quarterly update to our annual subscription package.

The API
MapPoint allowed programming access via an Application Programming Interface or API which was extremely generous and, for advanced users, convenient. Some users used this tool to conduct market analysis like concentric circle construction across a database of locations or comparing several databases to determine distance relationships between points. In Map Business Online we’ve added a Market Analysis Tool that enables the comparison of two datasets for concentric circle analysis, dataset distance calculation, and multiple point data queries across two datasets.

Sharing Maps
MapPoint users used standard map sharing techniques to communicate their business maps. Today’s web based alternatives offer the same capabilities. Jpeg, PNG and PDF exports can be used to embed maps in PowerPoint presentations or to print large format (5’ x5’) wall maps. And because web based mapping applications are, well, web-based, they are great at creating web map URLs that can be sent via email or text message – communicating your business map message to your map audience.

All-in-all MapPoint users will find web-based business mapping tools exist that will provide better, faster, and more robust business mapping solutions than you are used to with MapPoint. Sure, you’re going to have to cough up money for a new subscription and you will face a brief learning curve but your mapping capabilities will be preserved and even expanded at a relatively similar price point. And here’s one thing you never got from MapPoint that you’ll get from some of these web-based alternatives, an answer when you call or email.

When you say good-bye to an old friend it’s nice to know there’s a new one standing by. We’re standing by to help you make the transition from MapPoint to a web-based business mapping MapPoint alternative.

Let a digital map help you learn about your business.

Review us at Google+ or at Best Vendor

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