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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Summarize Your Data by Zip Code, County or State Map Layer


New to our blog? Each week we try to talk about Map Business Online features or real world applications of our business mapping software. Occasionally we might touch on a subject outside of business mapping software. We try to keep it light and quick. You should find a video or map samples to help explain things. Some times we get silly – apologies for that.

We view Map Business Online as an affordable business mapping solution helping basic business users to access the power of location-based or geographic views of their business data. The tool is used for sales territory creation and management, business analysis, strategic and operation planning. These map data visualizations are most often accessed by simply importing an Excel spreadsheet of your business data. The tool includes demographic data, a variety of geographic map layers like zip codes and Census tracts, and comprehensive help documentation with links to our growing YouTube video library.

A few weeks back MapBusinessOnline.com experienced one of our regular quarterly updates. One of the new features was the ability to summarize data by County, State or Zip code.

Summary data is nice to include in reports or business presentations. Summarizing both visually and using a numeric table gives you a couple off different approaches for communicating information to your business map audience.
SummarizePic
This capability to summarize data was inserted into the first page of the Color Code by Point, Color Code by Circle, and Color Code by Chart dialogs. This new option confused a few people, who were used to starting with the select data column option. If you want to use the Color Code by Point option in your usual way just click Next at the summarize page and carry on as usual.

However, if you’d like to summarize sales dollars by state and data count by county, for instance, choose county as you pass through your summarize by geography option. By doing so, all of the points associated with a county will be consolidated into one point for each county. You could then choose to color code by map layer for the state layer and summarize numeric values by state as well. In this way you could summarize dollars by county and total count by state or some other really cool combinations. See the video for a demonstration.

Summarizing your data by geographic districts means the color coding process will consolidate your imported data by district and place one point in the middle of that district instead of a group of points, like the address points in your data. So, if you summarized 1000 address points of sales data you’ve imported for New England by state, then all your records would be summarized for the six New England states by placing six different colored points across New England.

There’s an additional Map Business Online Summary option you can choose, that’s also new. If you are viewing imported data or a territory in the Data Window, you’ll notice a Summary button on the lower right. Look for the Sum button – Summary in the lower right. Upon opening the Summary function in the data window you will be presented with the opportunity to import data from our demographic library or from data that you may have imported. Add these to your summary column as required and then export. This is another great tool for generating reports that sum up data columns based on the geography you have defined in the data window via query results.

The next time you fire up Map Business Online be sure to explore summary options for symbolization and for summary reporting. They are both nice tools to have in your bag of business map tricks.

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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Ascend356 Adding Great Value to Map Business Online

View Ascend356’s MapShare: https://www.mapbusinessonline.com:443/Viewer.aspx/066cea3a-3d80-4a2e-a757-607a5a477841

Map Business Online business mapping software is utilized across a variety of vertical markets but the market most often applying our data visualization tools is the healthcare market. Applications within healthcare vary widely. Hospitals use the tool to plan expansions or simply get a visualization of medical resources across a target area. Home health care agencies use the tool to organize their field staff and supplement scheduling processes with the MBO multi-stop route planner and patient location visualizations. Insurance companies use the tool to organize marketing campaigns, visualize claims by location, or plan nation-wide events that engage the public.

Ascend356
Enter Tracy Ferren from Ascend356 – http://www.ascend356.com. I first met Tracy a few years back when he called asking questions about how to apply Map Business Online to sales and marketing territory management. Since that time Tracy has become somewhat of an expert on MBO himself. Ascend356 consults with a variety of healthcare related organizations about their field staff requirements, marketing efforts, web-site development, and capital equipment availability.

One element of Tracy’s consulting practice is to provide the tools and process for powerful map visualizations. That’s where MBO comes in real handy. Tracy’s medical customers include medical device companies that sell capital equipment and at times consumables. Tracy sets up map visualizations that display medical facility points color coded by equipment concentrations, all this against a background of sales territories by county or zip code. Sales territory mapping provides health care organization with clear coverage areas and sales accountability zones. These Map Business Online visualizations also help Ascend356’s map audience assess equipment allocations, and track waste products for disposal compliance. Data layers can be exported from the map for use in third party applications or for record keeping.

Ascend356 also provides a rapid operational analysis that thoroughly assesses territory size by matrix. That matrix can include surgery count, bed count, number of hospitals in a system, or any number of customer selected criteria. Tracy points out, “Map Business Online is a powerful tool that allows me to easily extract, sort, and analyze data by territory, zone, or region.” I would add that Tracy has provided valuable MBO customer feedback and feature recommendations that often become part of the MBO feature set.

There’s almost no end to how map visualizations can help a medical organization better manage their business. Part of the power of MBO is that simple instant awareness that occurs when a human being views a map. Maps connect people and organizations with places, to state the obvious. Once that recognition takes place, additional data only expands the viewers understanding. For instance, when a field manager views Tracy’s map she can quickly understand where the facility is located, what its coverage area is, its bed capacity, and the critical disciplines supported by the particular medical team.

Market Analysis
From a marketing perspective Ascend356 can provide a soup to nuts solution that goes way beyond mapping and geographic marketing analysis. Ascend356 offers web-site development services, SEM and SEO support, as well as expertise in email and online marketing approaches. And nobody understands how overwhelming the current marketing technologies can be better than I do. SEO/SEM consulting services pay-back can be outstanding. Because we’ve all got plenty to deal with in managing our day-to-day business without have to hold SEO séances that try to predict the impact of the latest Google update. With apologies to the Google SEO robot.

Tracy Ferren and Ascend356 are consulting engineers who add tremendous value to standard software applications – in mapping and in general sales and marketing. You should call contact them with your questions.

We’d love to understand how your business can add value to Map Business Online just like Ascend356, but perhaps in your particular vertical market. Contact Map Business Online and let us know. Sharing our mutual success stories will only benefit our companies in our shared markets. After all, it’s all about SEO today – blog it, Tweet it, share it, and hope that somebody clicks on it besides my mom. Did I say that out loud?

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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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.

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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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Presentations Using Business Mapping Software

On occasion business mapping customers and Map Business Online users get asked by their higher-ups to generate a presentation based on map views. That means it’s time for you to test your new map skills in front of your peers, and your executive team. Gulp.

Fear not! For as Shakespeare said, “Of those presenting to their King, none have fared better than the lowly cartographer – for he paints the world as the King would have it.” Ok. I made that up. But let’s imagine that’s how the Bard felt about maps. Maps are business intelligence. Map makers, therefore are keepers and communicators of business intelligence. So, show your peeps some intel.

You have two digital options for presenting map views to your executive team – use Power Point or some similar slide presentation software, or use Map Business Online itself. In either case I will reiterate my usual caveats:
• Keep the map simple – don’t try to over communicate
• Color code points to describe categories or classifications of things. Color code types of customers, products, or vendors. Do not color code individuals or store names which creates map clutter and invites derision or worse
• As a rule, import no more than four data layers per map and use different symbolization schemes to display each layer
• Use the map legend editing tools to cater to your audience. Your map should speak your audience’s language

In general, a chaotic map presentation that misses the mark means you won’t be asked back. A clean and simple map presentation that delivers the desired message(s) makes you look like a reliable authority. Maps are data visualizations. Maps clarify concepts through geographic display.

Embed Your Map Views in PowerPoint Slide Shows
Slide shows are effective ways to communicate business plans. Your map may show sales results, it may add value to strategic planning meetings, or it could show market statistics in support of product development plans. There are many reasons your boss wants a map. Slide shows, like PowerPoint, allow you to present map views in stages. Take advantage of this by building one to six map views that tell a developing story.

• Build several slides describing last year’s sales, year-to-date sales, and projected sales
• Create a series of slides that show existing customers, prospective customers, and then sales representative base or home locations
• Build maps that show product sales for 2014, new product inventories by store locations, and competitive product locations

Any of these slide show map views will contain a mix of your imported business data layers and map layers derived from the business mapping application. For instance, you’ll import your customer data, prospect data and competitor data while using the map application to display key demographic map layers, zip code maps, and city names.

Use your slide show tool to clearly state your discussion points. Then show a simple map slide that backs up your point. By using a text slide followed by several map slides in sequence, your audience will stay awake. Always keep text slides a brief as possible – avoid more than one line of text per thought. Keep your bullets limited to three, if you can.

If you find yourself editing paragraphs of text and adding more and more salient points, start over. Your presentation is going to fail. Do not do this:
• Write long and detailed lines of text that show how informed and smart you are
• Cram as many points into your slide as the slide parameters allow
• Try to impress your audience with all of the various aspects of your topic that you can list (Yawn)
• Create slides who’s content continues into the next slide

Instead do this:
• Be succinct
• Use 3 points/slide
• Focus on money (Bosses love that)

Use the Save Map Image to File button to create images for use in slide shows (that’s the globe with floppy disk icon to the right of the Print Button). I typically save my map view as a PNG file for use in PowerPoint, but Jpegs work too. Sometimes I’ll use the Print Screen keyboard button to copy my image and paste it into PowerPoint – but that captures everything on your screen. You could also use the Windows accessory Snipping Tool to grab images, and I have a subscription to SnagIt which comes in handy especially for video captures.

Using Map Business Online to Present
“Use the Force to present to your master, young padawan.” – Yoda on Swagellian, 2655
Ok I made up that one too, but if you are gaining confidence in your abilities using Map Business Online you could use the application in conjunction with the Force to present to your team. First, make sure you have a solid Internet connection. If not, go back to slide sharing.

Use Map Business Online to create the map you’d like to share. Use various data layers to make your series of points. Turn on one data layer at a time to describe each business point.
• Start with a map of your area of interest – perhaps a territory map
• In the Map & Data Tab click on the locations of all of your branches or stores – small circles on the map, perhaps color coded by product or type
• Now click on an imported data layer of your competitor locations
• Finally click on a heat map symbolized display of sales by location – that always wakes them up

Keep in mind, with any MBO map you could utilize various administrative layers to color code and display different aspects of your business. Turn on zip codes for territory layers, and counties for a demographic median income view.

Microsoft still supports PowerPoint unlike MapPoint. MapBusinessOnline.com will provide even better PowerPoint presentation graphics than MapPoint. MBO is web-based, maps for Mac or PC, and our data is updated regularly.

The Wrap Up
Regardless of how you do it remember:
• KISS – Keep it simple stupid
• Don’t try to solve all problems with one map. Consider one for sales, another for operations etc.
• Don’t drone on and on. Keep it lively.
• I sometimes insert random images in my presentations to wake up the audience. Here’s one that always worked. Feel fee to use it.
Barney Fife

But remember, I’m not the one risking all in their map presentation, you are.

______________________________________________________________________________
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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SpatialTEQ Releases MapBusinessOnline.com 4.4 – City & Road Territory Overlays, and Expanded Map Limits & Controls for Team Users

LOWELL, MA (January 20, 2015) — Map Publisher SpatialTEQ Inc. today announced the release of MapBusinessOnline.com 4.4 – affordable business mapping software for sales, marketing and territory planning professionals in the U.S.A., Canada and the U.K.. With MapBusinessOnline.com 4.4 MBO users will be able to overlay vector layers of cities and roads on top of sales territory maps, demographic maps or business planning maps. In addition, 4.4 provides a series of enhanced account management tools controlling the set-up of map editing teams, groups of annual subscribers interested in sharing map editing capabilities.

Road & City Vector Layers
City and road vector layers are new optional vector layers that provide accurate, labeled line and point layers to be used as overlays on user maps. This frequently requested feature adds additional visual references to advanced business mapping applications, like sales territory management. MBO map editors will be able to clearly define and display road networks that are relevant to their map’s mission. For instance, a major highway vector might be used to define general areas of sales responsibility on a sales territory map. Or city labels can provide obvious reference points for urban areas without covering shaded areas with boundaries or additional coloring. The user will be able to pick and choose street or city layers from a list of additional map layers. Sources for additional map layers include © OpenStreetMap contributors data. New vector layers are powered by SpatialTEQ’s proprietary FastMappingServer (FMS) map-attribute rendering engine.

Team Account Management
MBO 4.4 team account management, for annual subscribers only, will enable easier purchasing and upgrading options so that businesses can easily move users into and out of team editing groups. Controls will enable the selection of total user quantities at discounted prices. MBO team users will now receive additional map allowances including up to 400 saved maps per user, and up to 2400 MapShare sessions per user per year. MBO users will be able to purchase additional shared maps and multi-stop routing allocations. MBO 4.4 provides users with the ability to shift account log-in credentials from one email address to another.

Sales Territory Planning
Sales territory mapping functionality includes the ability to add demographic categories to territory data breakdowns, enabling views of total demographic values by territory. Easy territory creation workflows leverage demographic totals by territory; for instance MBO 4.4 users will be able to note total population by territory or total income by territory. Demographic layers and territories can be compiled by city, county, zip code, zip3, state and Census tract.

About Map Business Online
From the creators of BusinessMAP, http://www.MapBusinessOnline.com 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. 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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MBO MapShare – Free Map Sharing vs. Paid Shared Map Editing

Seeing as 2015 is the year of the MapShare, now is the time to layout some details regarding what to expect when you share interactive web maps using Map Business Online. Web map sharing is a distinct benefit of using a web-based business map, as opposed to desktop mapping systems such as MapPoint.

Let’s keep in mind, under this MapShare scenario we’re generally using maps to communicate with our associates and our customers. Applying business mapping software to your business case should not be an afterthought. You know, the Big Guy passing by your office saying, “Oh, and Marge, when you get done with those quarterly reports, whip up a nice map for the executive team. Something colorful and distracting, I need to waste a good 15 minutes of their time in the late morning session.” No, no. That’s not appropriate map use. Map generation takes some preparation and thought all geared to clear and valuable communication.

Sharing business maps should start with a good understanding of what you want to communicate through MapSharing. Import your key datasets; ones that are pertinent to the issue at hand. Color code your data in a meaningful way.  Include enough data, demographics, and shading to communicate related and critical content, but don’t over-do it. Once your map is to your liking, start the sharing process.

Your Data Will Be Shared

I know this sounds obvious, but any data you import into your Map Business Online map is going to be viewable and possibly down-loadable by your map audience. Whether or not you’ve checked the Data Box associated with your imported data layer in Map & Data, once that map is saved that data will be available for viewing by everyone who clicks on your MapShare URL.  You do have control over allowing or not allowing downloads/exporting of your data – there’s a check box for that. If you don’t want some viewers of your map to see a certain data set – do not import it, or delete it before you save the map.

 

This can come up when sharing sales territory mapping with competing departments or organizations. This is especially important if you are managing overlapping sales territories. Just give it some thought before you save that map. Do you want Super Man the sales rep and Lex Luther the sales rep to see their overlapping accounts? One solution is to build separate parent maps for these two feuding reps. Tedious I know, but perhaps less expensive than kryptonite proofing the men’s room. It’s your call.

 

Who Can View My Map?

The short answer is, you decide. MBO subscriptions allow up to 100 free MapShare sessions or views per month. That’s no charge for view only and those free viewers do not have to be subscribers. A MapShare session is initiated by clicking on an interactive web map link or by pasting it into a browser. Each session can include panning and zooming, clicking on points, viewing data, radius & polygon searches, saving views, saving & exporting data, measuring distances, printing, and multi-stop routing.  Once you close that window your session is complete. The next time a MapShare link is clicked or pasted counts as MapShare number two.

 

Paid annual subscribers can be set up to share editing privileges. This is controlled by the map editor/creator. Get your map ready for sharing and save it. Then click the Share Map button (the politically correct interracial mixed gender icon on the toolbar.) Here you will find controls over the following options:

  • To turn off sharing – make your map private
  • Public sharing and free map viewing
    • Public sharing with data export allowed
    • Password protection over public sharing
  • Team sharing and map editing
    • Adding users and creating teams
    • Designating who can edit or view your map
    • Designating who can access and edit data
    • Team & editor management tools
    • Map lock to prevent overwriting by multiple users
  • Map sharing instructions through links or emails

The Sharing Process

I usually use the auto-generated email with the MapShare link to share the interactive web map.  In the MapShare dialogue, click the Show Map Viewing Instructions button.  You’ll notice a Show e-mail option in the resulting pop-up.  Click that to generate the preformatted email and then you can edit it. Now you can click Send Email.

Once you shared the map, any changes you make to your shared map will only be shared if you save that map. Remember – What you save is what you share.  This is important to remember because on the one hand, you want to make sure your audience gets to view the data you intend to share and on the other hand, you may not want to share some data sets so – do not include them in your map.

What the Share Map Does and Doesn’t Offer

With a view-only free MapShare your shared map will allow your map viewers to do the following:

  • Pan and zoom across the entire globe map view – all the way in and out
  • Plot new location points and look up zip codes through the address bar.
  • View, query, and filter shared data through the Data Window – viewers can create their own marketing list from your shared data and export those lists
  • Take notes on your data records. These are not synched to the original database but can be exported as CSV/Excel files for external use
  • A map creator can share a route via the shared map. Viewers will have access to the turn-by-turn directions and the map route view
  • A shared map viewer inherits the route limit of the map creator. Thus a MapShare viewer may be able to create routes with as many as 100 stops
  • Measure distances on the shared map
  • Save map views as Jpeg or PNG files with the option to save as a conterminous U.S. view
  • Access to help documentation

Your map viewers will not be able to:

  • Edit the map
  • Automatically route to marketing list results
  • Query and export administrative district (zip codes, counties, states) lists
  • Symbolize data, apply heat maps or color code the map
  • Print large format
  • Import additional location spreadsheets
  • Conduct drive time or drive distance analysis
  • Access draw tools

Annual subscribers who have been designated as map editors will have the ability to fully apply their editing tools to shared maps.

Real examples of Map Business Online MapShare applications:

  • CRM – Call center contact management – reps use the map to retrieve contact info and take notes
  • Non-profit donor activity sharing
  • Sales territory map sharing among internal and external sales reps
  • Nationwide customer sales activity sharing – Customer Mapping
  • Driver multi-stop optimized route sharing

_________________________________________________________________________________________
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

Filed under: Business Mapping Software blog post, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

Drilling Down on that Low Hanging, Open Kimono

The Drill Down
It’s 2015 and time for you to finally explore your business mapping options; especially in light of the shutdown of Microsoft MapPoint. We can make this transition easy for you. We really can. And if you’ve been following my business mapping blog a while you can tell my New Year’s resolution is to beat this dead horse – i.e. Map Business Online as a MapPoint alternative.

There’s a good sales reason for this. No one seems to know exactly how many MapPoint users there are out there but our best guess is it’s in the tens of thousands. And for business mapping software companies, this is what business talkers using business speak like to call “low hanging fruit.” So let’s go open kimono, drill down, and circle back on the subject so that at the end of the day we’ve generated more low hanging fruit.

The Fruit
If you’re using MapPoint for basic business mapping processes like customer mapping or prospect visualizations, sales territory mapping, or geographic market analysis, then Map Business Online can directly replace what you do with MapPoint. In fact, we’ll help you take it to the next level, which could be franchise mapping, finance analysis, or health care operations maps.

This means you can easily import spreadsheets in Excel format, text files, or other basic database files into Map Business Online. We’ve got YouTube videos and help documentation to help you achieve these imports quickly. Once you’ve pulled in your data you’ll be able to symbolize, segment, color code and total numeric data by administrative district (county, zip, etc.) You’ll find these Business Mapping Software applications easier than MapPoint, if our actual customer applications and feedback is any indication. We get multiple calls and emails hourly on replacing MapPoint. Visualization tools include various symbolization options, import your own symbols, and heat maps – which are way cool. And if you assign a unique ID column to your data you’ll be able to update changes in your imported data wicked fast – business speak for really fast.

Our Core Competency Thingy
Sales Territory Mapping is our strongest suit. That’s right, until you reach a price point north of $5000 per year or per install you just won’t find a better sales territory mapping software. Period. We own that market. So look forward to experiencing a much more advanced mapping tool than the one you’re used to in MapPoint. Much more advanced and much more intuitive – and with actual map data that is up-to-date.

If you have territories pre-assigned in a spreadsheet then import them and watch your territories easily take shape and color in your new mapping software. Or start from scratch, it doesn’t take long. Simply turn on a state, county or zip code layer, grab the polygon query tool and start grabbing selections of zip codes (because they are the most popular administrative district for territories) and build your new territory map. Save it as a map template for future work, or share your territory as a MapShare URL. Your map viewers don’t need to be subscribers to view your territory map.

Vertically Speaking
Market analysis means you can import your sales or prospect data, competitor locations, proposed store locations – whatever – and view that data on an accurate map. You’ll be able to add demographic data and color code those demographic files by administrative districts. Conduct drive time analysis from specific addresses to get a sense of the proximity of your stores to population centers or income densities. Pretty soon you’ll have that marketing map you could never quite get out of MapPoint making us even more than just a MapPoint alternative. Like many aspects of life, when something passes, better things are in store for you.

If you have questions about your application of MapPoint and whether or not it is doable in MapBusinessOnline.com simply ask us by email or phone. We are here to help and will do our best to respond quickly. We can always set up a web demo, we’ll even use your own business data (if that’s allowed) to examine MBO’s relevance to your organization. And if you can correctly identify the number of business speak phrases used in this blog, I’ll give you an hour of free training.

At the End of the Blog
So let’s ‘dial it up a notch’ and start improving your business mapping core competencies by getting you to drink the Kool-Aid of Map Business Online so at the end of the day, you rock. We’re really bleeding edge (that’s good right?).

_________________________________________________________________________________________
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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The New! Drive Time and Driving Distance Query

Ever wonder what the polygon created by driving your car in every direction possible from one central point, for 30 miles, would look like? Yeah, you have. Admit it. Using your car to solve this conundrum is going to take you a while to accomplish. But fear not! Because someone has provided an answer to that vexing question about driving distance polygons and that someone is Map Business Online, America’s favorite Business Mapping Software.

Believe it or not, some people do want an answer to this driving distance polygon question. Whether you conduct customer mapping, market analysis or resource planning DTDD analysis is a valuable tool. With our latest release we’ve adjusted our Drive Time analysis tool to include an option for Driving Distance. It works exactly the same as drive time – choose the tool, drop a point, select either time or distance, and pick a number of minutes or miles to analyze.

Access Drive Time and Driving Distance in MBO
The Drive Time Driving Distance tool (DTDD) is accessed from several convenient places within Map Business Online. The tool icon is represented by this image:
Drive Time icon
Whenever you notice this shape you can conduct a Drive Time Driving Distance query.

Access the Drive Time Driving Distance icon from the main Toolbar. Find the Circle with the Binoculars icon and use that drop down arrow to its right. There’s the icon.

You can also access this tool when you plot a point on the map. One way of plotting a point is to enter an address in the address-bar and click the binoculars. Look for a small toolbar under the plotted map point. Notice the DTDD tool icon second from the left.

There’s yet another Drive Time Driving Distance toolbar option when you use the Draw Tools located on the main toolbar. Click the drop down arrow, scroll down to the bottom option – a map pin – and manually drop a mappoint anywhere on the map. There it is – that DTDD icon again.

Using any of the DTDD buttons lets you establish a polygon on the map that represents the distance or time you can cover if you travel outwards from a central point in all directions along the road network. The resulting polygon is the area covered considering the turn restrictions, speed limits, one ways and two ways, regular streets and highways, your virtual vehicle will have to travel over for the specified distance or time. Like any other MBO map object, you can choose to fill or shade the object with various colors or leave the polygon transparent. You can also adjust the line thicknesses.

All DTDD polygons are query-able. Click the binoculars to search for data within the polygon boundary. Save that file with a unique name and work with that query result. Export the data, plan a route from the data, or filter the data to develop a more refined list.

Example Applications
Companies, non-profits, and governments can all benefit from drive time distance queries. Here are a few query examples:

Chiropractor query – Develop a list of all patients living within a 25 mile driving distance of our satellite office. Determine if the resultant polygon overlaps with a 25 mile polygon drawn around our headquarters’ office location.
A non-profit query – If I drive 25 minutes from my home office in any direction, how many donors from the 2013 donor list could I visit?
Marketing query – Use a driving distance polygon to develop a demographic map displaying population by ethnicity and metro area around our top retail outlet. Query the polygon for zip codes and create an Area of Interest with demographics. Conduct a 30 minute drive time study to determine the estimated market potential for our upcoming product release.
Brookstone retail mapping query – Generate a list of all family yard sales within ten miles of a Brookstone store. Generate optimized routes to these locations and make sure they are not selling used Brookstone vibrating foot and back massagers. Destroy all used Brookstone massagers and heating pads found and payoff the home owners with Brookstone coupons. Give them a map showing drive times to the closest Brookstone stores.
Police department query – Generate a list of all Brookstone retail stores within a 50 mile driving distance of the three residential address locations reporting harassment at their yard sales. Match the Brookstone coupons to the originating coupon pad and arrest the employee in possession. See if they’ve got one of those pillows with built-in speakers, while you’re there.

The driving distance component is an improvement upon the old MapPoint drive time tool you may be familiar with. If you are a MapPoint user, be sure to consider Map Business Online as a MapPoint replacement.

As you can see, drive time and driving distance queries come in quite handy. They can be applied to many disciplines across numerous industries. It’s a little like exploring the world from the comfort of your very own Brookstone vibrating massage chair.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

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 review us at Capterra, g2crowd

Filed under: Business Mapping Software blog post, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Welcoming 2015 – Out with the MapPoint!

Wrapping up 2014, our busiest year yet, Map Business Online looks forward to assisting many more business mapping software customers in 2015. Setting aside for a moment the demise of Microsoft MapPoint, we’ve noticed a major uptick in sales to business managers who use Map Business Online as a way to communicate business strategies and drive sales accountability through shared, interactive digital maps.

We think 2015 is going to be the year of the shared map. Business managers need to efficiently communicate company objectives – especially sales objectives – with their team members. And what better way to communicate than by sharing a web map? Shared maps communicate quickly and effectively because they combine facts with places in a way that helps to clarify business objectives. Shared maps say, “Your responsibility starts and ends here,” or “Your customers live and behave in this area in this way,” or “Your patient expects your assistance with this problem right here, at 6:00PM.” By relating customer targets with locations, maps help tie objectives to results.

Dare to Map Share – Securely
There’s no longer a need to ask or answer the question, “Didn’t you get the memo?” In just a few clicks a shared interactive web map can communicate the latest sales territory boundaries, display this month’s sales results by territory, and perhaps show a heat map of key account sales activity across a sales region. And all of this information is visualized and understood in one glance – as opposed to reading a boring memo.

Most businesses have warmed to the idea of uploading a spreadsheet of customer locations onto a cloud-based digital map. There’s some understandable wariness about importing business data into a cloud service, but those security concerns aren’t stopping people from doing it. The best cloud services providers encrypt imported datasets and effectively secure all map access through SSL protocols. You have to actually give bad guys your password for them to access your business data or view maps without your permission. With security in place, and advanced mapping features more broadly available, businesses are ready to move beyond MapPoint’s ten year-old feature set and get creative with their business planning.

Critical Data That Wants to Be Shared
CRM software providers have recognized the power of a map used to share critical customer data and are actively seeking out mapping integration partners. Picture a call center associate’s computer screen. An incoming call is more quickly and accurately managed when there is a map involved. Maps provide context for a rapid resolution pathway for customer questions or needs. An incoming customer, identified by location, can be instantly visualized offering immediate options for outside contact, or service center referral, based on a quick radius search or a zip code locator. Critical contact data, account information, and other key details are a simple click from the customer location symbol. A fast resolution pathway means a happy customer – more product sales, more renewals, better conversions.

As cloud services become the new software distribution model, affordable business mapping software applications have become standard tools for customer mapping, retail competitor analysis, demographic analysis, and sales planning. By sharing these popular visual perspectives on the business landscape, companies are achieving more efficient planning and improving work-flows. There’s no sense in preserving the company sales territory map on the wall of the headquarters’ boardroom. These data visualizations need to be more universally shared to derive maximum value from your entire planning process. And sharing sales territory assignments across the corporate network just makes so much sense. Sharing territory maps drives accountability – more product sales, more renewals, better conversions.

Today, with a little more investment and some planning, your team can share map editing privileges as well. This takes map sharing to a whole new level – beyond map viewing to shared editing. Got a rep complaining about slow or inaccurate data updates? Enable team shared map editing. Empower them to make changes on the map. Cloud services rule when it comes to shared editing. Legacy desktop software, like MapPoint, struggled with shared editing.

Contemporary mapping tools way outstrip MapPoint capabilities in the category of sales territory management. They are easier, more flexible, and visually more appealing than Microsoft’s last iteration – developed some eight years back. Prepare to be sales territory mapping amazed, MapPoint users. Your MapPoint replacement has arrived.
MBO Map Image

Seek Your Map Geeks
CAUTION: Sharing maps for editing and viewing is not for everyone on your staff. This is just a simple, albeit sad fact. Some of your associates are not comfortable viewing maps or they just don’t get their value. So don’t go buying everyone a mapping subscription right off. Be selective with your investment. Your business mapping team will be made up of a continuum of map-geeks. The true map geeks will grab hold of this technology and run with it. The map-peeks will use it for monthly reporting or for critical looks-ups when they have to. And a map-weak will not look at the map unless Chris Christie calls and scream-threatens them with twenty-one days of Ebola Quarantine. Protect your investment – be selective based on your understanding of your people.

Maps Inform Strategic Plans
Any strategic plan that doesn’t include a location-based analysis today is less strategic than it could be. Massive energy companies down to local mom and pop variety stores all develop their business plans based on an understanding of sales potential by coverage area. Can you imagine a business that wouldn’t want to understand its market potential by demography if the tools were readily available at a reasonable price? Of course not. That’s why smart companies, companies who look for competitive edges, are applying customer mapping tools in their strategic planning processes.

Business mapping tools as applied to strategic planning are the modern-day equivalent of radar during the Battle of Britain. The Germans didn’t understand how the British were using radar, so they left those strange-looking stations largely untouched. Bad move Adolph. Upon a Luftwaffe sortie launch, the British knew exactly how many bombers and fighters were on their way and exactly where they were headed, twenty minutes before they reached the British shoreline. This gave them time to assign RAF fighters to an appropriate rendezvous point for a successful counter attack. Picture those uniformed British women raking toy planes across a massive map while the big-wigs looked on – today that’s your business map! Likewise, your competitors could be unaware of your mapping advantage or they may be outwitting you at this very moment with their own mapping tools. Didn’t you get the memo?

Business mapping software in 2015 is a core planning tool complementary to other business systems like CRM, business intelligence, or order processing. Twitter may be history in five years – business mapping software will be more advanced and even more ubiquitous.

A MapPoint Alternative to Valhalla
As the MapPoint Viking longship is lit a-fire and pushed off to Valhalla, business managers don’t need to jump on board and sacrifice their sad selves. This is their chance to reassess their use of business mapping software and start exploring new mapping opportunities – in territory management, customer mapping visualizations, retail mapping, and strategic planning. There is life after MapPoint replacement. The smart competitive business person is already on our website exploring the vast benefits of up-to-date business mapping software. They’ll be sharing maps in 2015. Don’t wait for the memo.

Wishing everyone a spatial holiday season and a very mappy new year!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

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 Capterra g2crowd, chekkt , or Best Vendor

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,