Map Business Online Blog

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

Premium Map Layers in Map Business Online

Map Business Online offers full-time subscribers a premium set of additional map layers. These additional layers are geographic map data options that were repeatedly requested  by the MBO user base.  To access these layers click the Blue Globe button, currently placed on the toolbar seven buttons in from the left. Select a layer and click Add to Map.

City Limits

My favorite premium layer is City Limits.  There is another city layer called Cities. We added Cities for people who require additional city names to display prominently on the map. Cities are points.  City Limits are the boundaried jurisdictions  associated with each city or town. With both city datasets you’ll expose more of them as your zoom in.

The City Limits data layer lets you edit the layer, as you would a zip code or state layer.  Simply hover over the layer in Map & Data and click the edit gear to edit line and color features or to change the labeling fonts, colors, and text.

City Limit geographies can be used as a base layer for sales territory mapping or creating areas of interest. This means you could establish territories by city limits as opposed to zip codes or counties. This can come in handy for businessmap users.  I also like turning on the city limits layer when trying to assess metropolitan areas form a nationwide zoom level.

And if you just want more city points, more than we offer with the Cities layer (they have specific display rules by zoom level), you can always import your own home-grown dataset of cities.  Be sure to include a state column in your imported city data because you never know how many Meridiths there are in the country.

Metropolitan Statistical Areas
MSA Map View
Metropolitan Statistical Areas or MSA’s are Census Bureau defined metro areas. They can be used to define marketing areas of interest around an urban district largely to support market analysis.  You could build territories using these geographies as well.  Color coded, MSA’s create a striking map of the USA and can help get a viewer’s attention.  If you look online you can find conversion charts for creating similar marketing areas out of zip codes – like converting a list of zip codes into DMA’s. You would than simply import spreadsheet to convert zip codes to DMA’s.

Census Tracts

Census Tracts are also available in the MBO additional map layer offering. Accessed the same way, Census tracts can be used to create territories, and come in handing when defining busy areas of interest in heavily populated areas like downtown Manhattan or Chicago. In urban areas Census Tracts tend to be more granular than zip codes which makes them a nice alternative to zip code maps for describing business processes.  For rural areas Census tracts tend to mirror zip codes.

School Districts

For businesses doing a lot of work for schools we’ve also included school Districts. These could be helpful for transportation companies or service organizations catering to school districts. Once again, you can establish territories based on school districts. School districts are a nice back ground for a multi-stop route planner system supporting bus transportation.

Zip 3 code

Regular zip codes are made up of five digits. I grew up in 01966.  The three digit zip code associated with 01966 is 019.  Three digit zips cover a wider area then their subset five digit zip codes. Three digit zips can be a quick and dirty way to establish zip code territories that combine zips in an organized fashion. Direct mail folks like to monitor mail deliveries by 3 digit zip codes because USPS tends to deliver  to homes in 3 digit zip areas on the same day. I’m sure the Post Office has operational methods that are organized around three digit zips but that information is classified – which means I don’t really know for sure.

Cites and Highways

The city point layer and the highway line layer are included in premium layers largely to support additional referencing over territory maps. With these layers, if you color code in your states, counties or zip codes layers, instead of making those layers transparent to show orienting background map data, you can simply drop the highway layer on top of your area of interest map. It’s an option that can keep your map looking cleaner and more focused.

Request More Layers

The premium layer button is a reminder that we pay attention to user requests. Please hit the contact us button with layer requests, if you run across any.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into

Contact: Geoffrey Ives (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider as your MapPoint Replacement.

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Creating Territory Map Data in Map Business Online

One of the most popular applications of business mapping is sales territory mapping. In Map Business Online you can create sales territories or market areas of interest in a variety of ways. You can import a list by zip code, county or state; create a drive time polygon of zip codes; use a polygon tool to lasso a bunch of zips, or incrementally select a bunch of zips with a series of mouse clicks.  Each of these processes will result in a color defined, shaded area of zip codes, counties, or states that define your sales territory.

That sales territory will have a data view within the Data Window in Map Business Online.  That Data Window Territory Data View is easily accessed by dropping done on the data drop down and choosing your territory by Name. Once inside that territory data you have an array of options to choose from for data selection and data clean up.

In the lower right of the Territory Data view, choose More Data. This launches a database management tool. Columns on the right exist in your territory data. Move columns you don’t require to the left. These might include “Primary” County or State columns which can be used to help manage zip code overlap. Simply select the data and use the Blue Arrows to move the data out or into your analysis.
Territory Map Data
Above the right hand column you’ll see a Drop Down arrow. Here you can choose from Demographic Data, General Data (this includes your territory names). You can also access any data you’ve imported or perhaps Calculated Columns you’ve compiled out of our demographic population, age or income segments. As you select these categories various layers become available in the left hand column for transfer to the right side. For example, you might see Household Income as an option and pull that data over to the right to create a Household Income by Zip code analysis.

Any data you pull into that specific territory becomes a data template for all other territories you create that uses that geographic segment in that saved map. In other words, if you build a new territory it will reflect the same demographic and imported data options as the first one does.

In this way your territory map becomes more valuable as a business management tool. For instance, you could optimize all your territories by population, using the Total button in the Territory Data view to show the total population by territory. Now any territory you create will display a population total in the data analysis view. Hint: You could edit the zip code layer so that same population total displays in the Territory Label. This would make it easy to assess population values by territory for optimization purposes.

As long as you have selected USPS Zip codes as your Zip code standard (see Map & Data – Zip Codes Tab) you will see “Place name” as a column in your territory data. Place name is really city name and those city names are often helpful to MBO territory map users.  Zip code maps are a powerful and common application of Business Mapping Software.

Remember too, once your territories are final and your data formats are complete you can export the entire list of territory data for use outside the application. Demographic data and all.

Above, I refer to Area of Interest as another name for territory, and so it is. These same data views can be considered as market analysis for specific geographic areas of interest. You may not think of it as a territory, but these tools work in the exact same way.  Your retail store has a market area of interest and you’ll have the exact same interest in sales results, demographic realities, and drive time perimeters as a territory manager would.

Nary a day goes by when I don’t show a new user how to build a territory and format their territory data. MBO provides powerful territory mapping tools at an extremely affordable price.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into

Contact: Geoffrey Ives (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider 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

LOWELL, MA (September 10, 2015) — Map Publisher SpatialTEQ Inc., publisher of North America’s premier affordable business mapping software, today announced the release of 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, 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  (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

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Calculating Demographic Data Columns in Map Business Online

Map Business Online business mapping software includes access to demographic data with each subscription. Canada and the UK have basic demographic data options. The USA version offers a comprehensive library of demographic data layers beyond just population and household income. You’ll find ethnicity, age, gender, occupation, housing, and more demographic layers to work with. You can easily explore the data options by taking the thirty day FREE trial. In this way MBO is truly a demographic mapping software.

Within our demographic data offering are categories of demographic information broken down by age, year, or other segments. You might import your own demographic data with similar separated categories. Map Business Online provides calculating tools to combine these demographic gradations into one layer for a succinct presentation on your map. These tools are advanced. Any user can access this functionality, but it is advanced.

Once you realize you want to combine demographic layers, go to or open the Map & Data Tab. Choose any Map Layer like states, county or zip code. Hover over the layer and click the Edit Gear. Once inside that layer’s editing function choose Manage Calculated Data Columns.

This opens up the Calculate Data Column’s dialog. At the bottom choose Add Data Column. In this dialog usually the Demographic Data Options are preselected. But you will note in the drop down, you could choose data you’ve imported.

Be sure to Name the data you are about to create. For this I might name it Ages 65 and Up. But the naming is up to you. It helps you identify your data when you map it in a few minutes.

Looking at the demographic data layers on the left, scroll up and down the list to find the data you want to combine. In this example, we’re interested in all elderly people from age 65 and up. So, starting at population in the age bracket 65 to 69, we selected the layer and click the right directed blue arrow to add that layer to our combination operation. Then just go back and get age brackets 70-74, 75 to 79, 80 to 84, and (everyone’s favorite) 85 years and older.

Once you’ve got them all moved to the right, click the Add Data Column button which will show you the Manage Calculation dialog again, now with a New Column listed. You’ll note there is a Divide/Multiply option in the calculation process so you could apply division and multiplication operations if you had additional factors to consider.

From the Manage Calculation dialog, if you need to you can change the name of the data you created. Just click the Edit Gear and have at it.

Now, return to your map view. Choose the Three Puzzle Piece icon to create a demographic map by state, county or zip code. When you arrive at the Setup Color Coding page in the dialog process, click the drop down arrow to select your data. Choose the “Calculated” option that is listed there now. You should find your data listed there. Apply it as you normally would.

Your Calculated data result will also be available for use in Market Area and Sales Territory analysis datasets. You can even sum data components from different originating datasets – just make sure you are combining apples and apples.

Thus you are able to combine multiple data layers into one data layer within Map Business Online. When will we stop improving this product?

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into

Contact: Geoffrey Ives (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider as your MapPoint Replacement.

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

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Business Mapping and Market Analysis

Many Map Business Online users apply business mapping tools to market analysis. Market analysis can mean many things. Market analysis can be as simple as a visualization of prospects against a map to ascertain rough distribution density across a market area. It could also be a competitive analysis showing competitor locations relative to customer densities. Market analysis could also be a market area defined by zip codes or other districts combined with demographic data layers and customer drive time estimates.

There are many business mapping tools that can be brought to bear on marketing assessment. Let’s review the tools available within Map Business Online.

Data Visualization & Classification
Visualizing potential customers or prospects is a pretty basic business mapping software application. Import a location-based spreadsheet and look at the points on the map. We’ve talked about this process a lot. (Import Data YouTube Video) But taken further, those dots on the map can add more and more value. Import datasets that include additional columns of customer classifications or types for color coding. Examples might be:

• Prospect type – purchased list, house account, LinkedIn lead
• Product interest – consumer, professional, audio edition, text edition
• Type of business – distributor, end-user, manufacturer, retailer

You can then color code your data symbols based on the above classifications adding value to your map presentation. Moreover, you could import additional columns of data showing numeric values associated with your markets:

• Sales values – total sales sold into each account by location for year 2014
• Unit values – total units sold into each account by location

Symbolization can be color coded to reflect numeric values in ranges. You could also turn off the points and color code the zip codes or counties based on data points per district or total numeric values per district. These are all marketing map options that may add value to your map view.

Zip Code Map & Drive Time Analysis
If it was my retail store and I wanted a map view of my market I would probably want to look at demographic data by zip code within a thirty minute drive time of my store. I figure zip codes are a basic geographic unit of measure that naturally reflect local demographics. You could get even more granular with Census tracts because their coverage area is generally smaller than zip codes. In addition, thirty driving minutes is about as much time as I’m going to sign-up for on a Saturday with kids in the car unless I know there’s a nap in my immediate future. I know. I am a Dad disaster.

But realistically, if you’re looking for retail business on a Saturday in November, peak retail season, these views will likely represent your best shot at meeting goal on a good year. You can add a dataset of your active customers on top of that view. Perhaps you will direct mail to customers within that thirty minute drive and send only emails those further away. You decide based on your response rate history. But the customer map gives you some guidelines. And it lets you adjust specific areas and demographic ranges to get various perspectives. It get’s you thinking and developing strategies and tactics.

Your Competitors
Market analysis should regularly include a review of your competitor locations. This analysis can be a simple import of your competitor’s store locations, just like we’ve done with prospects and customers. But you could classify this competitive dataset based on product mix for more value. And certainly viewing these locations against core demographics might be interesting too. Does your competitor understand something you don’t about the market in a specific area or perhaps in a new state?

In a previous role I got to know a marketing organization entirely dedicated to the business of selling tires. It was all about retail stores, car models, tire models, car registrations and car sales records. As it turns out, there is no mystery to tire sales. People drive so many miles on average, tires last so long, there are only so many vehicles registered and they all take certain tire sizes. Finding a place for a new location is a fairly simple math problem. Either there is a need for tires in that area, or there isn’t. If a competitor’s store already exists in that area there’s usually a good reason why. Maps let you visualize the realty. Retail mapping translates the math into action items – you might decide to close these two tire stores in the inner city and open one service center at the new Mall due to shifts in shopping trends and demographic patterns.

Demographics Maps
Map Business Online includes a growing list of Canadian, USA and UK demographics. These common categories of government collected data are supplemented with geographic districts like Census tracts, postal codes and other pertinent demographic geographies. Use these tools to illustrate market conditions and market potential by demography across your areas of interest.

Most of this data can be appended to specific territory or area of interest datasets and then exported out of MBO for use in Excel or other applications. Adding income, population, household, ethnicity, or other categories of demographic data to a business map can lend significant credibility to your analysis – justifying changes, or helping to explain results.

Franchise organizations often use demographic zip code maps to justify new franchise locations and their values. I recently had a franchise organization ask about pet demographics. We’re looking into it.

The Market Analysis Tool
Map Business Online includes a dedicated Market Analysis tool – the icon looks like a bull’s eye on the tool bar. This tool lets the marketing user compare two datasets in three general ways:

1. Search a defined circular area around multiple stationary data points and create lists of the data results. You can use this option to draw multiple circles at a specified radius around up to 200 points at once.
2. Compare customers and store locations. (Substitute your own relationships here; for instance hospital and patients or houses and fire barns.) You can vary the distance measured from customers to a store. And you can calculate for up to five nearest stores.
3. Calculate the quantity of customers within a radius of each store and get average or total numeric values for the results. With this view you can vary the market area around each store and choose up to three numeric fields to calculate.

The MBO Market Analysis tool can be used to back into additional calculations too. You can get creative with your MBO market analysis, like processing once to determine a new data set, and then compare that new dataset to the original data for even more finely tuned results.

A Bigger Picture
When you consider all of the various visual elements in business mapping software you’ve got quite an array of market analysis tools available. But you should resist the temptation to solve too much with one map. Perhaps zip codes color coded by demographics, on top of customer locations, and a drive time analysis is enough for one map topic. Consider building a second map to display sales distributions. Always make sure when you add additional layers to a map you do it in a way that communicates clearly.

More tips:

• Heat Map – For additional numeric data a heat map layer can be a quick way to supplement a nearly complete analysis. It adds a fresh looking layer that can be clicked on and off. It adds color and flash to your map. Use it wisely.
• Edit the Map Legend – MBO’s map legend is editable. Use it to speak to your map audience in a vernacular that they understand. Think of words that are unique to your business and use them.
• Import Symbols – Import your own symbols for data classifications that include industry symbols or images your audience relates to like logos.
• Edit labels – Explore the map layer label editing functions. Total or average numeric values by zip code, county, state, territory or area of interest. Adjust boundary lines and colors to you liking.

In business management, sooner or later you’ll be required to present your department’s results in a meeting or a report. Presenting a nicely laid out map-based marketing analysis helps to tell your story while adding credibility to both your presentation and your personal reputation. So, no matter what market analysis means to you, use these business mapping tools to better position your business and keep your boss out of your business. If you know what I mean.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into

Contact: Geoffrey Ives (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider as your MapPoint Replacement.

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra, g2crowd

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SpatialTEQ Expands Demographic Data for Subscribers

LOWELL, MA (March 10, 2015) — Map Publisher SpatialTEQ Inc. today announced the release of 4.4.3 – business mapping software with comprehensive demographic data for sales, marketing and territory planning professionals in the U.S.A., Canada and the U.K..

The 4.4.3 release provides an update to previously installed demographic data layers for both the USA and Canada. USA demographic layers now reflect 2013 Census Bureau updates. MBO Census derived demographic data layers are available automatically to all existing MBO subscribers using USA map data. MBO also includes Census Tract and Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) boundary layers for convenient Census tract maps and sales territory maps based on Census geographies.

For Canada map users has been expanded to include the following additional Canadian demographic data categories: age, education, employment, ethnicity, income, housing units, minority, population, occupation, and race.

Demographic data in Map Business Online can be used to build USA county, state, zip code, or Census tract maps that display density, age, and category breakdowns by age ranges, education, employment, ethnicity, gender, households, housing units, income, population, race, and travel times.

MapBusinessOnline users apply Census data to nationwide demographic analysis maps, specific area-of-interest maps, marketing areas, and sales territory mapping. Multiple demographic layers can be appended to area map datasets and exported for use outside of the mapping application. Sales territory map views allow demographic data to be totaled by category enabling territory optimization by population, income, or other categories. Demographic maps can be built using state, county, zip code, zip 3, Census tract, MSA, and city limit geographies.

MBO demographic data is applied by thousands of businesses across a variety of major vertical markets including advertising, banking & finance, franchise sales, healthcare, insurance, retail, general sales & marketing, and manufacturing.

About Map Business Online
From the creators of BusinessMAP, has been providing sales & marketing professionals with affordable and intuitive business mapping software, retail and customer 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. Implement shared map editing. 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 (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

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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.


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Contact: Geoffrey Ives (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

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