Map Business Online Blog

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

Filter Your Imported Data in Map Business Online

Business mapping software usually enables spatial searches and filtering searches of your business data.

Filtering data in Map Business Online is a little different from conducting a spatial search of your business data. Once you’ve imported data into MBO to create business maps or just plain business data visualization you can create subset lists of your data based on geographic queries and data filtering.

A geographic query or spatial search is a search conducted within an area that the user designates using search tools in the product. It might be a radius search or a search based on a polygon or drive time area.  It could be the search of a specific map sales territory or market area of interest.
Spatial Search Examples
A Spatial Search

A filtered search takes place in the Map Business Online Data Window.  Open the Data Window.  In the middle of the Data Window tool bar you will notice two search operations along the Data Window tool bar:

  1. A quick search – A blank white space with a binocular icon and a delete button. Cursor-hover over this and it will say: Enter text to search data rows by name
  2. A filter icon button – Cursor-hover over the filter icon and it will say: Filter data rows

Use the Quick Search function to search data by the Left most column of your imported data. Enter a keyword, a few letters, unique numbers to get a set of results which will display in the data window.
Filtered Data example
A Filter Search

Use the Filter button to open the filter dialogue box which will, allow you to search any column of your data. Within the Filter dialog you may choose the column or columns you wish to search and then use the drop down in the middle to apply a modifier to your search.  A modifier might include symbols like > (greater than), = (equal too), or contains, among a few other modifiers. Once applied these modifiers generate a result that is displayed in the data window – a subset of the originally imported data layer.  You will notice in the lower right of the results a tally of the number of returned results and the original file’s total number of records.

Whether you are working with the Quick Search or the Filter button your data can be filtered on the actual map view too.  You’ll notice a Check-box labeled Filter Data on the Map just below the Data drop down in the upper left hand corner of the data window. Check that box and your data results will be the only data showing on the map.

Also, you will now be able to export your filtered data result to a CSV file and use the data outside of Map Business Online. To export simply click the right most button on the Data Window tool bar. An alternative export method is the old school cut and paste.

Cut and Paste functions in Map Business Online occur when you click the Copy Data & paste button in the lower right corner of the Data Window. You’ll see the double page icon and when you hover over it, the button says: Copy data to clipboard. Pay attention to the Copy Data button dialogue. You will note you can resize the Data Window view to change the number of records visible in the window and copy and paste just those visible records. This comes in handy at times.

To the right of the filter button are two additional tools you can use to create marketing lists out of multiple filtering actions. You could, for instance, create a new marketing list and populate it with data results from multiple filtering operations.

MBO users use data filtering operations in the Data Window to support a variety of business activities:

I’m sure there are many applications for data filtering that your business can dream up. Geographic and spatial searches are core features for business mapping and GIS applications.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.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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Clearly Express Your Business Map Message

Your very first mapping experience probably happened through a childrens’ book.  The Sponge Bob Kids History Research Institute reports most children are exposed to the concept of ‘mapping’ by the age of two years. For children, maps are typically depicted as guides to where the secret treasure is located, perhaps for Aladdin or Captain Hook. But as an adult, maps become more visual aids than treasure maps.

Over the holiday break I noticed two map infographics circulating in my LinkedIn and Facebook feeds. (Hey, so I was working a little? It’s not like I was checking my LinkedIn at a New Year’s Eve party. I’m not that guy.)  One map showed the most common Internet searches by state.  Maine’s was Amy Schumer.  And the other map showed, again by state, the most likely cause of death on average compared with other states.  Maine’s was the Flu – which surprised me. Get your shots people.

Now I found both of these maps to be visually informative. I glanced at them briefly and I quickly understood what they were trying to communicate. This, to me, is a critical element of a successful map or business map. Maps do not need to be complicated, colorful, or multilayered to get the job done. In fact, the more complicated or busy your map becomes, the less that map may communicate. A lot depends on knowing your map audience. What is your map audience looking for?

As Ben Carson, the one-time GOP leading candidate for president recently found out, maps need to be proof read. Take time creating and publishing your maps.  Leave them for a while. Come back later and view the map with fresh eyes. Look for glaring inconsistencies, or simple mistakes. Ask a colleague to review your map.  Try to see your map from the perspective of your map users.

Ben’s map person would have done well to examine that odd-shaped New England section before releasing it to a world eager to poke holes in his boss’ reputation. I include this video link to show how maps can generate the wrong result if you are not careful. Do not fall into this trap. Maps, like any other document, are subject to human error.

So no matter what mapping tools you apply, be thoughtful and careful with your map creation. Your map is a visual aide, not the busy kitchen table catch-all of spatial ideas. Keep it clean and neat. It is often valuable to consider what not to include in your business map:

Base Map-Data – Does your map require base-map data?  Perhaps just state outlines will do the trick. Digital base-map data is without a doubt one of the coolest things our generation has loosed on the world, and you may have access to the most accurate and up-to-date data available. Just make sure that a base-map data layer adds value to your map’s intent. All business mapping software should let you adjust this feature.

Administrative Districts – What administrative district – zip code, state, county – layer makes the most sense for your map view? It’s not always zip codes, although zip code maps are most commonly created, in my experience. Perhaps your business analysis is more effectively communicated over counties?  This could be because counties are easier to visualize nationwide, or because population by county displays better than by zip code, or perhaps because county population data adds more value to your analysis than the zip code population. Think it through. It only takes a moment.

Map Extent – At what zoom level of detail should your map be presented? A zoom extent covering the whole contiguous USA map may feel like it defines your map project, but the details may be more pertinent by zip code, in which case four separate regional map views might display more effectively for your map audience. A map describing the density of hospitals across the USA works at a USA wide level, while a demographic population map classifying all the Methodist Churches by congregation size might work better regionally.

Label Definition – Your map may or may not include state labels, zip code labels or imported data labels. Make sure they are required before turning them on.  If your map is displaying numeric values by zip code or county, displaying numeric zip code labels may create an incomprehensible map for your viewers. Too many numbers. Often a business map can be set to display a pop-up label upon mouse hover or click. Experiment with the different label options in your mapping software – large or small text sizes, various text-box color backgrounds, and text formatting options. Do you really need state labels to display?  Perhaps your map audience already knows the state names, for the most part? I know I do ( I know – Map Geek!) In general, keep the map simple.

Boundary Definition – Most business mapping software will allow adjustments to boundary lines. View your map carefully and choose appropriate line thicknesses and colors. Try different options to see what works best for your map. You may find in your industry, with your particular type of analysis, certain colors are expected or display data in away that rings truer with your map viewers.

Point Color Coding – Like boundaries, put some thought into how you color code points that you’ve imported. For instance, if I show a 7,000 location point hospital map, I typically make my points small and dark so the density of facilities by city is obvious. Should I label each point? Why would I do that? Only do it if you have to. Perhaps turning on just a few key regional point labels better communicates your map’s point.

My Busy Map
A cluttered map.

Most of the maps we make in our business work are not going viral like the Ben Carson map. But many of our maps are critical to our business processes. Think about your map presentation. As a business manager, you are always communicating with higher-ups, peers, or associates who work for you. Each of those audiences is looking for different map messages.

Management wants to see dollars, risks, and operational efficiencies – the high level business view. Avoid too many details. Steer clear from decimal points, extra map layers, and random data that invites criticism.

Your peers may be watching work flows carefully. Some peers will be looking to poke holes in your presentation (you know who they are.) Don’t give them easy errors to attack you with. It’s distracting for everyone and defeats the business purpose of your mapping efforts.

The people who work for you are looking for clear direction and leadership. Avoid mixed messages and map clutter. Turn off superfluous layers. Use multiple maps where operational issues pile up. Maps can be great tools for sharing progress associated with company goals and objectives.

Think it through, proof read your maps keep it simple and maybe you’ll be president someday.

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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Your Map Business Online XMas Stocking


I was looking for a light, Christmassy Map Business Online blog subject and remembered our Public Data folder. Think of it as your MBO XMas business mapping stocking.

You can access public data as you import or Plot data on the map.  When the dialogue box opens, instead of browsing for your own spreadsheet data, click the lower of the three options listed. Choose the option that reads: Select data you have already uploaded to server.  And in the drop down data folder presented there choose: Public Data

Now, cast your beady eyes down that list that displays below the drop down arrow. Look at all that data!  We’ve put crime stats in your XMas stocking!   Forget Leggos or a bicycle, Billy got murder rates by zip code for Christmas!  What a festive map program.

There is also basic data for cities and towns, public school locations, and places (another list of 26,000 plus towns with a category column.)  Use these datasets in your work.
Chicago
You’ll also see a complete update list of US Post Office zip codes.  The zips are categorized by zip code type. This comes in handy for assessing your zip code information. Remember zip codes can have boundaries or just be a point on the map.  This can have an impact on your sales territory development because point zip codes, while geocode-able will not create a territory.

So play with these data sets in Map Business Online.  Perhaps they can help your business analysis. Just remember a 1:00 PM we’re going to your grandmother’s house for dinner. And no, you can’t bring your laptop or Gameboy.  I need a drink.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from 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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Migrate from MapPoint to MapBusinessOnline

For a decade or more Microsoft MapPoint was a terrific business mapping tool. Since its cancellation in 2014, Map Business Online has picked up thousands of new customers. The early adopters and nervous nellies quickly moved from the MapPoint’s desktop platform to our web-based cloud service with no problems.  But there are still many cautious MapPoint users that are reticent about the transition and awaiting the perfect solution.

Microsoft really covered the waterfront with MapPoint.  They provided a comprehensive business mapping tool that offered territory creation, market analysis, optimized routing, plus API access for automating business processes using MapPoint output.

In many cases, replacement of MapPoint is going to require expensive software solutions. API’s driving automatic routing solutions will cost businesses more money and probably some development work. But for general business map users, MapPoint refugees should be able to find an affordable and comparable MapPoint replacement.

Quite a few of our 2015 MapPoint to MBO converts were large enterprises with multiple users accessing maps generated by MapPoint.  Map Business Online offers affordable options that ease the transition from the desktop applications like MapPoint, to a cloud service mapping solution.
Where Meet Lawyer
View Only or Edit Worthy?

Managers looking to source a MapPoint replacement should consider whether their user base requires a map view-only solution or the ability to edit and create maps for all or most of your user base. A Map view-only solution saves money and may provide all your busy users require.  Many call center companies share business maps as a visual resource used to manage customer problems.  For example, call center map users may look up the closest maintenance center or field technician by zip code. A cloud-based mapping service, like map Business Online, provides such easy lookups across a network of users for a nominal fee. Shared web-maps are much less costly than one hundred licenses of MapPoint.

A map view-only solution provides an interactive web-map that enables users to pan and zoom all over the world, click on map points to investigate pertinent location information, access a spreadsheet view of all imported data layers, and conduct geographic and filtering queries of map data layers. It’s quite powerful, and in Map Business Online, view-only maps include the ability to perform incremental routing.

The map view-only feature does not allow the map viewer to edit the map. IT planners and business managers can hold back on offering editing capabilities until they determine which map users really require map editing functionality. Spend some time determining who on your team is ‘edit worthy’ to make sure you’re not buying licenses for people who are intimidated by technology, don’t get maps, or just don’t have the time or inclination to create maps using business mapping software.

Conducting Sales Palnning

MapPoint was often applied to sales planning – daily or weekly analysis of target customers, route development and note taking. Optimized routing is a key sales planning tool. Used as a way to lower fuel costs while increasing productivity, optimized multi-stop routing can become the most important aspect of your sales planning map use. A view-only map might provide the customer and prospect lists your traveling or inside sales people require to do their jobs. They can drill into the data you’ve shared with them and run queries. If your business uses CRMs like ACT! and Salesforce.com there are Map Business Online integrations that support direct import and export of your CRM data.  MBO multi-stop optimized routing is available through the view-only application for as many as one hundred stops per route.

Strategic Planning

Most of the truly strategic business managers using MapPoint have already made the transition to alternative business mapping solutions. That’s because they are strategic and they understand how critical location-based analysis is to achieving business goals and objectives. For new business managers replacing a MapPoint license or too, transitioning to a web-based MapPoint alternative is a positive and affordable item on your 2016 to-do list.  It shows proactive thinking, an understanding of technology, and that you know how to get a bang for your business buck.

Take some time to view your customer address lists against demographic map views.  Think about setting up shared map editing teams to solve tough problems and drive sales territory accountability. Make business mapping part of your plan for 2016.

Collaborative Map Editing

With the advent of cloud computing, collaborative map editing becomes possible.  By allowing multiple users to share editing control of a shared business map, cross-department teams of managers and valued minds can be focused on solving difficult business problems. Here at Map Business Online we’ve seen an array of differing customer types set up map editing teams to address serious challenges within their businesses.  Challenges that include: managing and sharing accountable sales territories; sharing and querying complex market analysis; and even military spend auditing. There is a growing list of applications for shared map editing.

The old adage ‘two heads are better than one’ is what’s happening with collaborative map editing. It is the quintessential ‘no brainer.’

Here are the three steps to enterprise level business mapping success:

  1. Start applying business mapping tools to all of your strategic, marketing and business planning
  2. Begin sharing business maps with constituents as one way to communicate key business concepts
  3. Start solving business problems and improving processes through collaborative map editing teams

All of the general business process referenced above are actual examples of applications businesses have implemented after migrating to Map Business Online from Microsoft MapPoint.

It’s not too late for your team to make the transition to a web-based business mapping service. Be the hero; think strategically and geographically. Embrace technology, web-based services, and business mapping software.

 

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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Consider the Business Map

A business map extrapolates strategic intelligence from location-based business data. Often, the resulting maps are simply a business data visualization of customers, patients, donors, members – you decide – against a map.  This map visualization reveals patterns and trends in your business data otherwise invisible to human analysis. To get to the point where the business map user is able to view their data against a map involves much preparation on the part of the software provider and a little prep for the map user as well.

Business Maps Are An Amalgamation

Consider a business mapping application.  We usually see a business mapping software as a whole thing, but the tool is really made up of an array of component applications.

A basic and critical component for a business map is the base map.  The accurate background map is created by map data providers who collect and compile the geographic data in a variety of ways.  In some cases they drive the streets of the world taking pictures and collecting data that helps make the street topologies accurate, connected and informative.  These maps are formed by overlaying a variety of imagery and vector layers and then deciding how the layers and lines fit together and how they interact.  The zoom in and out capabilities of a web map are made possible by hierarchical databases that store certain information in certain data layers and serve them up to you the viewer, in just the right way and at just the right time. For instance, the map service makes sure the zip code labels display in an organized and uncluttered fashion no matter what zoom level you are at. Imagine what a USA map would look like if all the zip code labels were turned on at the nationwide view. Spoiler alert – it’s a wicked mess that’s barely readable.

Base maps cover a lot of ground – like, all of it – and base map data is always changing so updates are critical. MapPoint users know this only too well because Microsoft abandoned map updates years before they canceled their business mapping product and user started searching for a MapPoint replacement.  Street and highway data requires constant massaging so that the optimized routing functionality, often included in a business map, can function in a way that drives operational efficiencies.  One-ways and two-ways, bridges, turn restrictions, speed limits, and accurate road classifications all impact the ability of a vehicle routing tool to actually lower fuel costs or improve route times.

Over the base map layer business maps usually include administrative layers like zip codes, counties, cities and the like.  These administrative layers are often managed by third party data providers that assure accuracy and provide data feeds into your business mapping software.  One of the most common business mapping customer requests is for a zip code map.

Geocoding

What about the ability to place your spreadsheets on the map? The process of importing your location based data is called geocoding and it’s usually a web service provided by geocoding providers. Geocoding is what makes those visualizations of your business data so powerful by assuring accurate placement based on addressing or lat/lon coordinate placements. Geocoding services depend on constant data updates because addresses change, road names change, and new roads are always coming into being. Geocoding enables a map side data presentation in spreadsheet form, which can enable a variety of map filtering operations useful for data segmentation into usable chunks; for sales visits, marketing campaigns, and various types of business analysis.

Such services provide the basis for a working business map, but there’s so much more required to support effective map use. The application requires map file management tools, printing and sharing functionality, map symbology options so you can color code your data, a routing engine and a help library.  And never forget the value of drawing random shapes and objects on the map for territory development, area analysis, and data segmentation by geography.

Is It Easy-to-Use?

A business mapping application must combine all this functionality in such a way as to be relatively easy-to-use by the typical business person. And guess what?  Not everyone learns or uses the software in exactly the same way.  What is wicked-easy to most, may be brutally difficult for some users. And as it is with democracy, so it is with mapping tools, you simply can’t please everyone all the time. All business mapping software attempts to be easy-to-use. Some are better than others. It’s a personal preference thing, and a personal capability thing.  As with all things technical, patience helps. Take your time and use the help tools.

Bleeding Map View

Preparing Your Business Data

With your business map prepared and purchased, the business map user must also prepare. You should come to the business mapping application with an orderly dataset of business data.  It should reflect accurate addressing or lat/lon coordinates, but any location placement such as zip code or state centroid points will work. Your spreadsheet should be clean with no superfluous commentary or title info in sections above the data.  For best results, import only column headings and data to the mapping application.

Open Your Mind

You should bring both an open mind and a list of questions related to the geography of your business.  Questions like:

  • What is our current area of business operations or sales coverage?
  • What is the value of our sales when measured by territory or area of interest?
  • What’s your ratio of customers to sales people or patients to clinicians?

Or perhaps consider conducting an exercise like this:  Import your sales records to the map.  Color code zip codes to reflect Census median income levels by zip code. Determine your sweet spot for sales by median income per zip code. Now determine how many zip codes exist with your sweet spot median income value that show minimal or zero sales from your company. Ask yourself, “Why?” How can we grow sales in those sparse areas with high income?

Keeping an open mind allows the map visualizations to inform you in ways you might not expect. Imagine you came to your mapping session looking only for areas where you were selling less than or more than the competition. That’s a valid analysis. But if you have an open mind, you might notices areas where you and the competition are not selling at all.

Try a variety of approaches to building your business map:

  • View your business by zip code, county and Census tract. Which one best represents your business?
  • Perhaps a county or zip code based demographic analysis by commuter, renter, or occupation Census data might reveal something new about your business? Try different categories.
  • Do you subscribe to industry groups that might share or sell industry related location-based data? Get a sample of the data and import it into your map, sit back and think about what you see.

Business mapping applications were not developed overnight.  These map applications have undergone years of iterations and adjustments as location technologies have been developed since the 1980’s. Today they’ve become web-based and more affordable. Take the time to learn how to use your business map. Try different approaches. Explore various map backgrounds, demographic data categories, and geographic districts until you feel you understand your business more completely than you did before you used a business map.

Because considering a business map is really about considering your business and that deserves a considerable amount of consideration.

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 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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