How to Append Data to Labels in Map Business Online

Importing a spreadsheet of relevant business addresses is pretty easy to do in Map Business Online.  That first map view of your business data, neatly arranged and labeled against a map of the USA or Canada, is pretty thrilling for most first-time users of the tool.

But the next step most users want to achieve is appending those imported point labels with information that is important to their analysis – however simple or complex that analysis might be. Map creators often seek to:

  • Append their imported points with demographic data provided by Map Business Online
  • Display relevant business data they’ve also imported underneath map labels
  • Display a critical data element that may require adjustment by users
  • Add information to a map layer label such as a ZIP code or a county

Customers want that ability to append data to labels for a whole bunch of good reasons. Some maps are for sharing across a business system and several key demographic categories may be important to decisions making.  An example might be a call center making determinations on repair or replacement orders.

I had a guy this week who wanted every imported address label to display the number of registered vehicles associated with each local. Another user had interest in noting the number of interns hired by each Senator across all Congressional district layer labels.

Labeling can pull appending information from imported data, demographic data, and Map Business Online’s Calculated Data columns.  Calculated Data Columns is a function in Map and Data available within each Map Layer (county, state, ZIP) that lets the user create a calculation across two or more columns. The formula options include summing, subtraction, and ratios.

I’ve had customers who would like to append summations of demographic data, such as the population older than age 65 years, or a formula combining high household incomes divided by the number of children of elementary school age.  This calculated data can be referenced in map layer auto labels (explained below) or used as a basis for color shading.

Callouts and Auto Labels

In Map Business Online we refer to imported data labels as Callouts, and map layer labels (ZIP codes, counties, states) as Auto Labels.  Callouts are labels associated with points on the map.  Auto labels are labels associated with map layers like ZIP codes or Counties.

Label management is accessed either by selecting an imported point Callout/Auto Label on the map itself or by selecting the targeted layer in the Map and Data box.  When you select a point’s Callout, a menu pops up. Click that menu’s Edit Gear and then click Format Callouts. This opens up a panel that will allow the Map Business Online user to:

  • Adjust the Callout look and feel
  • Append imported data columns to the Callout
  • Append color coding data values to the Callout

The Callout label is associated with imported address or Lat/Long data only.  You can change the imported dataset name at the Map and Data box or the Data Window by hovering over the layer name and clicking the Pencil icon.

By selecting the Callout label a mini-menu is generated. Click the Edit Gear on the mini-menu to append data to the Callout. In the resulting dialogue, a user will find a General tab and a Callout tab.  Use the General Tab to adjust symbol sizes and colors. Down below in the General tab is the user’s opportunity to edit the data associated with that Callout.

Under the Callout Tab a business map user can adjust the position of the symbols, format the text of the callout, and to edit the fields of imported data used by the Callout label. Click Format Callout to access the data options. You’ll have five flexible fields that can be filled with data, supplementing the automatically included Name and Address info associated with the Callout.

Auto Labels

On the business map, as mentioned above, the user also has customizable control over map layer labels or Auto Labels. This gives the map creator the ability to pull from imported data or tap into included demographic data and append that information to map layer labels.

Appending auto labels with demographic data means business map layers, like ZIP codes, can be color shaded to reflect a major demographic theme, such as median income, while the labels for each ZIP code could display up to five additional demographic category values such as:

  • Male population
  • Hispanic population
  • Number of rental units
  • Consumer expenditures on beauty products
  • Number of housing units of a given decade

Or the map creator can mix it up by appending some fields with demographic data and other fields with imported data.  Whatever floats your map’s boat.

This label flexibility lets the map creator spoon-feed their map audience the data most relevant to the map’s purpose. It could be critical data for a customer presentation or simply referential to strategy discussions around the conference room table.

Auto Label Formatting

To access Auto Label tools, go to Map and Data. Hover your cursor over the target map layer and click the Edit Gear.  Choose the label tab along the right vertical.  There are two functions here.

Along the bottom of the dialogue are Auto Label controls for text color, font size, and bold controls. Here you can choose to show auto labels or not.

Please notice the “Start Labeling From” option. Pay close attention to this option.  In the associated drop down the user can adjust the map zoom level at which the labels appear. This lets you maximize the presentation of labels at a given zoom level. It allows the map creator to turn on as many ZIP codes as possible at a full USA view. Experiment with the zoom level option to get a feel for when your map layer labels show up.

In the same dialogue, you will also find Format Labels.  Click into format labels to append data. Make sure on the top tabs you’re clicked into Auto Label.  The Custom Label option works the same way as Auto Labels but controls pop-up labels when the map viewer hovers over a ZIP code or county.

When you click into Format Auto Labels you will find the five flexible fields listed in order. Check the #1 option and use the drop downs to access available data for appending the labels. Tweak the Prefix as required.  Just like the Callout function, auto labels formatting provides up to five fields to append data to.  Click Change Labels when finished.

Auto Labels and Callouts pepper a business map with information. Always tweak the settings and consider appending fewer data. Ask yourself if the data you’ve appended adds significant value or if instead, it detracts from the map view. Business maps are a balance between too much data and not enough data. Find the sweet spot in the middle. Tweak sizes and colors. Ask a colleague for their opinion.

A business map with a little extra time and tweaking will serve your map purpose well and emboss your name in the annals of cartography.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.  Discover Map Business Online – tools for making maps by map makers.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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Printing Options in Map Business Online

Chances are, your business map is carefully crafted. You’ve spent time thinking about visualizing your business, adding a variety of layers, and importing the key elements of location data that support your map purpose. Now you want to print or save map views for sharing.

With Map Business Online you’ve got a variety of options. You will find the below options available when using Map Business Online:

  • The print button on the master toolbar – Print to your desktop printer or save as a large format PDF
  • The save map image file button – save as either PNG or Jpeg files
  • Windows Snippet or Mac capture image tools
  • Interactively share the map view with constituents as public or privately shared maps

I suppose you could conduct a screen capture using your Print Screen button, but so many of us have multiple screens these days, making this happen is a time-consuming option.

Your Print Orientation is Landscape

Map Business Online printing or image file views are by nature, landscape views. That is, the map layout lies across your screen as a rectangle, long-side down.  So, to maximize your printing area output you want your printer settings set to landscape. By approaching all print operations as landscape first, you will save time and paper.  Every so often a state view like California or Texas may require a modified portrait view, but that will be an exception.  Keep things set to landscape.

Printing to 8-1/2 x 11 sheets of paper to your desktop printer should be pretty easy.  Click the print button and choose the top option, “Print current map view – the Printed map will fit to printer paper.” Once the print file is rendered and a map title is selected, Map Business Online hands the file off to your desktop printer. That’s where you control the process on the printer side – be sure to set up the landscape layout option.

Wall Maps

The lower option within the Print button is to create a large format PDF file for a plotter print.  This approach requires some experimentation and patience. We’ve included this because it gives the Map Business online user the ability to generate wall maps.

I’ve outlined this process in detail in this earlier blog post. We’ve tried to make this large format process as intuitive as possible, but it is complex. Take your time. follow the instructions and experiment with the following settings to get things to your liking:

  • Center on Current map View or map Area Defined – try both.  I prefer center on current map view.
  • Map zoom level – how far zoomed in you are, makes a big difference. Try it at over zoom and under zoom levels.
  • Paper sizes – You can go up to 60″ x 60″ or 5 feet by five feet. you see the Custom options. And here you can tweak the sizes to force a portrait or more landscape perspective.

Remember the large format PDF process saves as a PDF. It takes a few minutes for a large wall map file to format. But then you’ll be able to tell if its right for you by reviewing the PDF – as opposed to printing a humungous print job. If it ain’t right – delete it and start again.

And for printed maps of Texas or California, the large format print options with the totally customizable paper sizes may be your best way to go.

Image Files

To the right of the Print Button in Map Business Online is the Save as Image File button.  Use this option to save your map view as a PNG or Jpeg image file.  These files are great for email attachments or presentation graphics. But keep in mind, these image file views do not include Data Window or Map & Data shots. MBO image files only display the map graphics.

If you want an image file to include a Data Window view, use the Snippet tool or the Mac equivalent. Set your map up with your data component as desired and then create a Snippet shot. That’s what I use when I want to show you images of the Map Business Online user interface in my blog.

A Snippet file insertion

Data Window Copy & Paste

You do have the option to copy the Data Window tabular views into an Excel document. Simply pull up the data window and then click the Copy Past button in the lower right; just to the left of More Data.  That opens up the copy options.  Click copy when ready and paste into Excel.

Sharing Maps

If sharing static map images isn’t the best solution for your business, perhaps sharing an interactive map would do it. Map Business Online allows a vast amount of free sharing options designed to get interactive maps in front of your constituents quickly and efficiently. These shared maps do not necessarily require subscriptions, every Map Business Online user gets to share 100 map share sessions a month at no cost. In addition, these shared maps include routing and the ability to print maps. Read more on map sharing here. 

Printing maps is really just another way of sharing your work. Maps are for sharing and communicating concepts and business plans. Enjoy your map work.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.  Discover Map Business Online – tools for making maps by map makers.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson



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What Is a Business Map?

A business map is a geographic visualization of a business’s key elements for the purpose of planning or analysis. Business maps generally employ administrative map layers, such as ZIP codes or counties, and may or may not include a base-map background.

The key business elements of a business map will vary, but often include:

  • Customer sales activity by address or lat/long coordinates
  • Prospective customer locations
  • Brick and mortar locations of key resources
  • Demographic data through data append, color-shading or labeling
  • Sales territory alignment
  • Relevant location-based industry data
  • Transportation and route data

Key business elements are relevant to the map owner’s specific business realities. A clothing retailer will build a very different business map from a hospital system’s planner. In this way, business maps are subjective and dependent on their owner’s specific business systems and challenges. Their creation should be approached with care, an awareness of the map’s specific purpose, and a strong sense of the map’s viewing audience.

The Business Map Creative Process

A business map is a visual platform that derives unique perspectives from organizational location data.  Maps for business are used to communicate concepts that benefit growth or stave off disaster. Each business map has a specific purpose. Know your map’s purpose.

Business maps encourage the discussion and analysis of business challenges. Your map’s purpose will be along the line of solving problems. Here are a few examples:

  • To analyze and adjust next year’s growth strategy
  • To display the baseline sales territory alignment structure of a business
  • To expose new market opportunities based on current successful sales activity
  • To create the most efficient route for Area 9’s delivery services
  • To expose bottlenecks across a nationwide delivery network
  • To clearly define the operating areas of major competitors

With the map purpose firmly in mind, the map creator begins building a business map.  Keep it simple is the rule. Avoid adding map layers that do not support your map purpose.

Be aware of your map audience. Presenting a map to the management team is radically different from posting a map for the warehouse crew. Know the difference. For instance, don’t include salaries on warehouse maps unless it’s your last day.

Map Layer Choice

Your map may benefit from the use of administrative district layers like ZIP codes or counties. Think about your business. Are counties or ZIP codes referred to often? Do your salespeople travel within specific ZIP code areas or farther afield in county areas? It’s possible they cover various states.

Turn on only those layers you feel are most critical to representing your business on a map. I like to turn the States layer on for reference only – to make the map viewer feel oriented. I leave state boundaries on with dark colors, and the color fill set to off. In general, I turn state labels off to avoid clutter because most people know what state they are looking at.

Color choices for map layer fill, and all map object filled areas, should be understated. Make your map easy-on-the-eyes of your map audience. Pastel colors inform. Bright colors scream. Obnoxious colors and overbearing symbols detract from your map’s purpose. Save the brighter color for one, maybe two, key highlighted areas – if they are related to the map purpose.

Demographic Data

Demographic data is Census collected and processed data that is optimized for geographic map applications. This data lets the map creator color-code ZIP codes or counties based on population variations, median income increments, household statistics, consumer expenditure records, and many more business-related characteristics of modern life.

There are hundreds of categories and variations of demographic data available for map analysis. Choose your categories carefully. Avoid posting too many demographic themes and overwhelming the map viewer.

Color-shading ZIP codes or counties by demography should add relevant meaning to your map analysis. Color-shade based on the most relevant layer. Append demographic data to labels only if they add value to your map purpose.

Use understated colors.  Build graduated colors of red, green, or black to make a point with color.  Typically, red is associated with deficits, black with surpluses, and green with good stuff in general. Stick with traditional color associations. Don’t make your map audience have to reinvent common associations to comprehend your map. Always keep it simple.

Not relevant telephone data

Imported Data Layers

Importing customer and prospect sales data by address into a business map is a critical element for a candy machine company making a business planning map.  Importing billboard locations for a marketing firm managing billboards is a critical element for a marketing map. Neither of those businesses would require an imported dataset of hospitals because it is not critical to their business purpose. Only import data that is relevant to your map purpose.

Imported data layers will require symbols on the map. If you have thousands of data locations, consider using small dark dots sometimes referred to as a dot density map. Dot density maps show clusters of locations across your operational coverage areas.

Keep symbols small but visible. Useless obtrusive colors to avoid clutter and distraction. Make sure map symbol colors standout from background colors. If you’ve bothered to import data or to include a map layer such as ZIP codes, we already know it supports your map purpose, so make sure the map audience can see it.  Towards the completion of your business map, make it is not unusual to take fifteen minutes to tweak color shading and symbols choices.

Alternatively, you can express the numeric value columns of imported data as a heat map layer. Heat map layers on a business map express numeric values as color intensities. Heat maps depict business activity as gradations of hot or cool colors across an adjustable area. A heat map layer is a great way to show how sales patterns or where most deaths from the plague occurred in 1347.

Map Background

Map background options vary widely. Try the options available. Based on your business map goals what background options best serve your map’s purpose? Background map options include:

  • Standard street level data
  • Topographic and land cover maps
  • Satellite and aerial imagery data
  • Plain color shaded backdrops
  • Nothing at all sometimes referred to as ‘nudie kazoo’

Labels & the Map Legend

All text and labels on a business map need to be succinct.  No one wants to read a missive on a map. If they see lots of crowed small text, your presentation is over. Restate all data layer labels, map text, legend lines with as few words as possible. Abbreviate where possible. Just make sure the required identifications are readable, sensible and relevant.

  • Use a map title to pull together the entire map purpose
  • Make sure the legend layers are necessary – there’s no need to have a legend line for a State layer used for reference
  • Make sure all text on all labels, legends, and text notes are sized and color shaded to be readable
  • Use background colors on text boxes that enhance readability
  • Make sure text box colors do not conflict or blend in with the underlying map area colors

Are you getting tired of reading about your map purpose and keeping maps simple, relevant and readable?  Good.

Tweak It

I know you’ve been working on your map for a while. You’re excited about it and you want to go public with it. But take a moment to review the map and adjust things. Here’s a list of adjustments I will make as my map nears completion:

  • Are all the various labels across my map consistent? Imported data labels are usually oddball filenames not conducive to map communication. Tweak them
  • Does the map’s demographic color shading interfere with other aspects of the map? Tweak it
  • Are labels the right size font, and bold for this map? Tweak them
  • Are the legend layer text layers succinct? Are there layers listed that add no value? Tweak
  • Try turning map layers off to see if their absence degrades the map. If not – leave them off
  • Try various colors for a plain map background to see what looks the nicest

Perhaps reading this business mapping blog overwhelms you.  If so, take heart. Working with business maps is fun and rewarding. Few big wigs are going to want to build compelling maps, so it’s a great way for you to enhance your value to the organization by creating business maps that add value to decision mapping processes.

Typical USA White Male Corporate Big Wig

Remember, a business map is used to communicate business concepts visually. keep it simple, focused, and relevant.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.  Discover Map Business Online – tools for making maps by map makers.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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How to Split a County or ZIP Code Territory in Map Business Online?

On occasion, Map Business Online customers may develop a need to split a territory. This could occur because of an excessive customer density within a small area – like a ZIP code.  Too many customers in a focused area sometimes drives a need to divide a ZIP code or county customer list between one or more sales reps or clinicians. Splitting territory units occurs more commonly in urban areas where territories are based on ZIP codes or Census Tracts, then in rural areas.

Another reason for splitting territories could be geography. A bridge, a mountain, a highway or a river could turn a few close-by customers, as the crow fries, into an all-day affair due to driving patterns.

A third reason customers split territories is a difficult one for us to accept, but it still happens: Because they’ve always done it this way. At some point in the early 20th century, Grandpa Zaputa started building territories based on tree stumps and large boulders. “It’s how we’ve always done it.” Ah, OK.

Because territories in Map Business Online are usually based on a specific map layer made up of a unique geography segment, the need to split a territory requires some creativity. Typically, business mapping users base their territories on counties or ZIP codes. But territory base layer options include state, county, ZIP-5, ZIP-3, city limits, Census Tracts, and even school districts.

Specific Map Layer Based Territories are Recommended

We highly recommend sticking with one-layer based territories because this allows the full benefit of database management and analysis:

  • Demographic data is easily accessed and comprehensive
  • Imported data layers are easily imported into the analysis
  • Report generation and export is a one-button operation

Still, some customers prefer to create territories that are split between map layers and if that is your case this is how you do it.

In Map Business Online territories are based on one geography segment – not multiple geography segments. This means there are three alternative approaches to splitting territories we can discuss:

  • Change the base geographic segment or map layer
  • Create a region out of two or more territories
  • Use draw tools to build the split territory

Changing the Geographic Segment

This approach works for any territory base segments that has a lower tier option available.  For instance, if your territory is based on states, you can reconfigure that territory down to counties. If your territory is based on counties you can reconfigure to ZIP codes. ZIP-3 codes would reconfigure to ZIP-5 codes. ZIP-5 codes could reconfigure to Census tracts. And so on.  You can always jump from layer to lower layer – from State-based territories to Census Tract territories.

For example.  A company has based a series of territories on counties. They then decided they needed to split a county-based territory into one full county and a half of another county. The ZIP code layer is turned on and the original territory area would be queried for ZIP codes and resaved as a ZIP code territory.  Holding down the shift key, the business map user could select as many ZIP codes in the second county area as necessary, to complete the now county-split territory based on Zip codes.

If more granularity is required for the selected area, consider using Census Tracts as the geographic base of the new territory instead of ZIP codes.  Census Tracts work well for inner city coverage analysis.

A user could always use a polygon search tool to generate the overall territory boundary map object and then query the ZIP code layer from that polygon.

Remember when the new territory is created to delete the old one.

Create a Region out of Two or More Territories

This solution to the problem of split territories is achieved by creating a Region out of two or more territories. Using the same example as above, the map user would leave the original territory in place. Then they would create a new territory, covering the county section based on ZIP codes using a polygon tool, querying the ZIP codes and naming the additional territory section. The new territory section would be saved as a territory name and would be in the territory layer.

Next, the user can use a polygon search tool to select both the existing county-based territory and the new ZIP-code based territory and name it as a Region.  Now the Map & Data box will display a region layer in addition to a territory layer. In this territory map, Regions will indicate split territories across counties.

In the Region case, do not delete the old territory because that is used to build the region.

Move Away from Map Layer Based Territories and Create Drawn Map Object Territories

Finally, the map user always has the option of simply creating territories as drawn map objects a shape on the map unconnected to a map layer.  For this approach to territory creation, use the Map Business Online draw tools.  The drawn circle, polygon, or free form object will be labeled, and the color filled in.  When you choose the path of drawn objects you lose access to the Data Window’s More Data tool. You can still compile data associated with your drawn territory, but you’ll just have to use the summary button.

The summary button is found in the Map Objects mini-toolbar. Click the sideways M on that toolbar and add the imported data or demographic categories you require.

These workarounds listed above are presented as suggested alternatives to the tools Map Business Online designed to solve territory mapping problems. We highly recommend that map users stick with map layer territories for their obvious benefits:

  • A consistent geographic base map layer enables consistent analysis across all territories
  • By building territories on map layers Map Business Online’s More Data database tool is available for analysis and reporting
  • Building territories by ZIP codes, Counties or other map layers access Map Business Online’s powerful, comprehensive, and growing library of demographic data

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson


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What is so Cool About Map Business Online Downloadable Apps for Windows and Macintosh

Map Business Online was originally released in 2010 as a web-based business mapping service in The Cloud.  For the last eight years, Map Business Online customers have accessed the tool almost exclusively through standard web browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer (now obsolete), Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Google Chrome.

However, for a variety of business reasons, two-years ago we released a downloadable version of Map Business Online, which we now refer to as either the Windows App or the Mac App. To be clear, the Map Business Online Windows and Mac Apps remain a Cloud service that requires an Internet connection.  You can’t log into the application unless you are connected to the Internet.

Downloadable Apps for Windows & Mac

Both App versions are always available to any Map Business Online subscriber as an alternative to the traditional browser-based Map Business Online at NO additional cost.  Your saved maps will be there for you in your saved map library.  In general, the Windows and Mac Apps are pretty much the exact same user experience to our web browser version, but cleaner and faster.

At first, the Map Business Online apps where developed so that users could avoid clunky and temperamental web browser challenges. For example, Internet Explorer (now obsolete) updates were often problematic, sometimes breaking features and requiring software changes. Recently Firefox has developed a few glitches that conflict with Map Business Online.  We’ll fix them all, but with Desktop Apps we control much more of the map rendering software which generates a better user experience.

Last year Adobe announced that support for Adobe Flash Player was ending in 2020.  Map Business Online, like many other web services, uses Flash Player to render the web map experience. So, we started rethinking how we would render our business mapping applications moving forward. That work is ongoing.

A Sales Territory Map

Downloadable App Benefits

The major benefits a user get by using the Downloadable Apps instead of the browser-based versions of Map Business Online are:

  • Map Clarity – A cleaner interface. I personally used to use Map Business Online on Firefox for web demos because I thought it looked nicer and cleaner than Chrome. Now I use the Windows App because it presents a cleaner visage, better color rendering, and it offers a little more detail.
  • Update Datasets Faster – Windows and Mac Apps streamline imported data updates enabling a one-click super fast update. (Requires the use of a unique ID column  in the imported spreadsheet)
  • Easy Map Access – A taskbar launch button can be set-up for Windows or Mac Apps that lets you launch Map Business Online with one click. Right now, web browser Map Business Online require a variety of steps to launch Flash Player-based applications.
  • Enhanced Application Speed – I find the process to launch Map Business Online is much faster using the Windows App. Heavy application processes like data import run a little faster.
  • Avoid Clunky Browser Issues – Internet Explorer is obsolete so it shouldn’t be used at all. You’ll run into application issues, credit card issues, and other problems. Firefox updates of late have broken some map functionality on 64 Bit machines. Safari versions have a few bizarre issues addressed in our Help section.
  • Updates are Painless – Software updates, if required, occur automatically and quickly at launch time.
  • Does not require Adobe Flash Player – As mentioned above, development is underway to replace Adobe Flash Player as a rendering agent for Map Business Online. These changes will be available before Flash Player is officially canceled.
  • For IT System Administrators – Map Business Online Windows App installations do not modify the Windows system file. A user does not require admin rights to install and update the App.

Keep in mind the downloadable Apps require an Internet connection. Imported user data is still stored in the Cloud.  Remember that imported user data is always encrypted to protect it from bad actors. We use HTTPS for transit data encryption and stored data is encrypted on the server. (Your IT Department will know what that means.)  And as always, we strongly suggest our users never upload credit card data, personal health information, or other critical private data.

Map Business Online Windows and Mac Apps are the most effective and efficient tools to use to access your business mapping.  For the foreseeable future, we will continue to support web browser access but consider trying the Windows App and Mac App for the most advanced features and optimized user experience.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson


Posted in Business Mapping Software blog post, How to instruction | Leave a comment

What is a Marketing Plan with a ZIP Code Profile?

Affordable and Accessible Business Mapping Can Help

Business mapping software makes it easy to plot customer and sales location-data against an accurate map for business analysis. Armed with this data digital maps will display where your company does business well or does it poorly. By analyzing those areas where you do business, a sales or marketing map user will discover what works, what doesn’t work, and will next consider why a particular area works better than another.

Concentrated sales activity will show up on the business map either as densely populated customer location points (density maps), or as a bright color intensity layer, often referred to as a heat map. These dense areas show where sales transactions happen. The background map may be altered to underlay ZIP codes, counties, or city limit layers which can be color-coded or labeled to display Census demographic information associated with each jurisdiction. It is that demographic data that suggests the reasons why products or services do well in some areas and not in others.

A very basic assessment is one that views Census population estimates per ZIP code. Obviously, a ZIP code that carries one hundred thousand people will generate sales for more products or services than a ZIP code that carries one hundred people – unless your selling bags of refuse, in which case the results will be similar.

Add to your analysis more definitive statistics such as:
• The number of Hispanic adults per ZIP code
• The number of females per ZIP code
• The number of people ages sixty-five through ninety per ZIP code
• Households with income greater than $100,000
• 2016 Consumer Expenditures related to hair products

If your selling products like hot sauce, hair nets, or pain medications, these statistics will have merit within your business analysis. The available options for demographic analysis within Map Business Online are many and growing. In some cases, we may be able to supplement your analysis with demographic categories not provided. Just ask and we’ll explore possible solutions.

Build a ZIP Code Profile
Once an area such as a group of ZIP codes within a region, has been identified as a lucrative source of sales for a product or service, the sales organization will have established several key pieces of sales intelligence:

• Products that sell well within ZIP codes that carry distinct demographic characteristics
• The optimum demographic categories returning the best sales results
• The customer target industry types returning the best sales results
• Possible sales channels and paths to market that work

Business mapping software will yield such Sales intelligence by simply importing address-based spreadsheets of customer and prospect activity and viewing demographically prepared business maps. Enlightened by these sales results sales and marketing professionals can conduct a map-based search for similar areas. It’s a filtering process really designed to expose those ZIP codes that reflect the optimum demographic make-up. Show me all the ZIP codes with these three criteria:

• Greater than (>) 20,000 Hispanic residents
• Greater than (>) 18,000 Females
• ZIP codes with the highest ration of Household Income/Households

The resulting ZIP codes are color shaded to make it obvious where the market regions with the most potential are located. Decisions will be made around which regions make the most sense to try next. Perhaps all of them, but it will depend on sales and marketing resources in the area. It is likely that test campaigns will be applied.

Let ZIP Codes Teach You About Your Surroundings

Find Sales Leads
The next step is to define specific business prospecting targets in your targeted regions. These will be selected by ZIP code and by Industry Type. In Map Business Online, you could select just a few or dig deep across all new regions.

By testing customers and prospect accounts across multiple regions you will gain sales intelligence:
• Are the areas with similar demographic make-up performing as expected?
• How are customers reacting to the products or services offered?
• What new regional patterns are developing?

It’s possible that product colors that sell well in New England do not sell as well in Florida or California – where the beautiful people live. I’m being facetious but geographic and demographic patterns will emerge.

Business mapping software is an affordable and accessible platform for identifying well-performing markets and then replicating that success in other areas.  Don’t get left behind.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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Sales & Marketing Success Through Shared Sales Intelligence

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them yourself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Sales and Marketing Professionals use business mapping software to help achieve quarterly sales goals, define sales territories, and identify new markets. Cloud-based and affordable business mapping connect sales goals results to target areas displayed on an accurate map. The geographic visualization of sales and marketing activities provide unique business perspectives that help develop winning strategies, powering sales growth and suggesting new market strategies.

By sharing map views across sales and marketing teams, sales intelligence is communicated and improved strategies for success are born.

Empower Your People with Location Data
Business mapping software is a simplified and more affordable alternative to a full-on Geographic Information System (GIS). A true GIS is a big investment and a valuable asset for any organization. But often, only large companies that are dependent upon geographic science (think energy and land management orgs) are going to utilize GIS. Access to maps for low-level sales and marketing folks within GIS heavy organizations can be spotty. “Get in line,” is the response non-core GIS map requests are often met with.

That’s why a small investment in cloud-based business mapping software makes so much sense for companies that could benefit from some basic map love. Basic business mapping is affordable and easy-to-use. Give your people what they need. Expand your sales and marketing teams’ location awareness.

Encourage map use.

Business Mapping Customer Visualizations
Be sure your sales and marketing folks have easy access to customer address databases and prospective customer lists. These very basic spreadsheets are the cornerstone of advanced sales and marketing analysis for your business.

Business mapping software converts simple customer address lists into geographic visualizations that provide fast and effective snapshots of your company’s sales coverage(s). Historical sales records by address reveal the company’s recent regional sales patterns. Product sales activities are identified and correlated with lucrative ZIP code areas, exposing actual customer purchasing patterns that point to customer demographic characteristics by ZIP code.

Customer visualizations also suggest industry categories that define broader marketing targets for products and services. While physical business locations, exposed along a sales route, become never before targeted prospects for sales and marketing contact.

Map visualizations of your internal address datasets lead to new markets and new customers.

Sales Territory Shared Views
Business mapping software is a double-check on the distribution of sales activity. Are goals, tasks, and account responsibilities evenly meted out? Or are certain sales associates overwhelmed with customer calls while others can’t seem to fill their day with sales activities?

Sales territory maps define sales accountability by area and customer. Overlapping coverages can be addressed visually on a territory map. Multiple sales channels, from a total addressable market, are merged into full territory analysis. A defined sales territory becomes the repository for current customers, new lead sources, existing account responsibilities, and even product applications.

Sales territory maps visualize imbalances and should be shared across the sales team to help effect new approaches. Sales territories naturally incorporate company goals and provide the perfect platform for shared group visualizations. Learn more about Sales Territory Mapping.

A well-balanced sales team is more effective at recognizing new opportunities and driving new sales efforts. An effectively balanced sales team will expose new customers and turn those new customers into new markets.

All of this sales intelligence is critical data for your marketing team. Encourage customer storytelling.

Territory Map with Prospects

New Market Analysis
A marketing manager uses business maps to clearly establish what markets are working and why. Marketing maps visualize existing customers, recently exposed customers, and prospective customers. Marketing maps setup location-based data analysis that exposes patterns in customer behavior.

Imported current customer locations and prospective customer locations help define what works now. Overlay these views with a layer of ZIP codes color shaded by demographic characteristics and let marketing maps tell the story of what’s working and why, pointing to new market opportunities based on demographic profiles. Marketing maps define the addressable market based on past success while suggesting new areas to exploit and new approaches to test.

These new opportunity maps help define where the premium opportunities exist for new products or where the most lucrative locations for new retail outlets might be. Call center sales, retail sales, direct mail sales – they all benefit from location sales intelligence.

Business Listing Leads
Prospective business leads, selected by industry categories with a record of interest in the products offered, overlaid on top of a marketing map, suggest key campaign segments for an overall marketing plan.

Marketing campaigns will test leads selected by name, industry, geography, business size, or location configuration. Test results are fed to sales representatives and transformed into sales campaigns. Sales result maps by territory are shared in sales and marketing meetings. Sales and marketing people share stories of customer reactions, sales successes, and product applications.

Maps are for Sharing

Lessons learned are lessons shared. The whole company benefits from shared experiences as sales plans are adjusted and sales tactics are fine-tuned. Figure out the best time to encourage sharing at your business.  Buy the doughnuts, or responsibly serve the beer. Just make the folks, who all work for you, sit down and view business maps and share stories of selling and sales results.

Business maps visualize success and encourage discussion. No maps and no results sharing leads to slow growth or worse. Encourage map use and sharing.  Learn more about map sharing.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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How to Optimize Your Business Map’s Look & Feel

Map Business Online includes a variety of specific editing tools designed to help you, the business map creator, to adjust your map for an optimum look and feel.  That said, “optimum look and feel” is a subjective thing.

A few years back my wife decided that we needed to give our peeling white farmhouse a new paint job. We needed to give it a new ‘look and feel,’ so to speak.  Our old house had been white since 1860 – which I barely remember. My wife chose a teal blue. Our old peeling white shingles were going to get painted a bright new color.

New Look & Feel in Process

After the painting got started, it took my neighbor a few days to ask me, “Are you going to stick with that color? It doesn’t really match the neighborhood.” Clearly, his preferred look and feel on the big white farmhouse didn’t match my wife’s vision. And just like houses, maps are subjective.  That’s why Map Business Online includes a variety of tools that give the map creator control over the map ‘look and feel’. But, after you invest time on your map’s look and feel, I recommend not showing it to your neighbor.

Suggested Edits for Territory Maps

Sales territory maps are a common application for business mapping software users.  Usually, our users are building territories based on ZIP codes or counties. There are several key controls over map look and feel that should be considered for territory maps.  These tools are accessed through Map Business Online’s Map and Data box.

Map and Data is a light blue box that hovers over the map area – usually on the left side, but it can be moved. If it’s closed, you will find the blue Map and Data launch arrow at the far left side of the application in the middle of the side panel. Click to Open.  Hover over layers to Edit Map Properties. Read more on Map & Data.

I won’t be addressing how to create territories with this blog post. Read about territory creation here.  Once you’ve created your territory map, Map and Data will display the territory layer as a checkbox option.

See Me, Feel Me

See me, feel me” is what your business map says to your map audience. To adjust the look and feel of your territory map, hover your cursor over the territory layer in Map and Data. Click the Edit map Properties Gear.  You will find yourself looking at a light blue panel with four key ‘look and feel’ adjustment tools at the top. Here’s what I do to improve my territory maps look:

  1. Uncheck all of the map layers in Map and Data: ZIP code, County, State, or other non-territory district map layers. Leave the background (usually Streets) on for now.
  2. Check on the Hide Internal Boundaries box. Immediately your map will become less clutters. For ZIP code-based territories, this adjustment will eliminate internal ZIP code boundaries across your territories.
  3. Next, at the top Line should be checked on. Drop down your line options and select the next thicker Map Layer Outline or boundary option. You may prefer a thinner boundary. Still, try a few options.
  4. Now drop down the border color selection and choose a dark border color. I find a darker, thicker territory border will tell the map viewer that this is indeed a territory map. It brings the viewers attention to the territories.
  5. Next, make your territory fill transparent by moving the Trans scroll bar to the right. Play with the control to see what level of transparency looks best for you. Notice the color selection and how it fades.

That’s great.  Now let’s add some other layers back to determine which map administrative districts like states or ZIP codes add the most value to the map. These map layers all work the same. From Map and Data’s start dialogue, hover over each map layer with your cursor and select Edit Map Properties. Once inside Edit Map Properties, you can simply place your cursor next to the target layer and the dialogue will shift to that layer.

  1. Select the State layer. I like to uncheck the fill and simply select the State Layer Outline or boundary controls.  Try a darker boundary for the state layer. It should be different from the territory border color. Try a few thickness options, and choose the one you prefer. I like using states as a referential layer. I think it gives a map viewer a sense of where they are. An oriented map viewer is more open to your map’s central purpose because they aren’t spending time figuring out where they are.
  2. Do similar exercises with county, city, and ZIP code layers. Turn each layer on, adjust fill and transparency to your liking. Zoom out to a national view and take it all in.  Them zoom into a more regional view. Consider adjustments that enhance your look and feel at the most important zoom levels.
    Ask yourself, “Does this map layer add value to my map?  Or does the map layer in question detract from my maps purpose in some way?” If it clutters the map, turn it off.  If it helps to organize the map view, consider keeping the layer turned on.  Think about each layer. For instance, “Does our business take county boundaries or county related data into consideration when creating our business models?” If it does, then include counties in your map.

Develop a Map Look and Feel

Map Labels

You’ll notice in these Map and Data dialogue pages that there are two editing options listed only the right side of the panel, in the vertically oriented text. The General and Labels tab.  Click into labels to find the label dialogue.  I wrote a previous blog on map labeling here.

As ever, make sure your labels do not clutter the map and that the labels you choose add value to the map.

Remember: Map applications are powerful visualizations tools.  They are also fun to use. Always keep your creative map mind focused on the map’s purpose. Avoid clutter, bright colors, obnoxious symbols, and too much text. The map is about your business. While map preferences are subjective, try to keep you out of your business map.

Filter It

Here’s an extra-credit idea for you. Map Business Online provides several background map options for users to utilize.  You get a map of the USA, the UK, Canada or combinations thereof, to enhance your business map.  But often your map intent is all about a specific area, territory, region or perhaps a district as small as a Census Tract.  Map Business Online has several ways you can filter your data to highlight just the area of interest your constituents want to view.

For States – Filtering by state is a very common requirement so we put a state filter in the Map and Data toolbar. It’s at the top far right of Map and Data’s opening dialogue toolbar.  With the state layer checked on, click the Funnel icon and choose the state or states you’d like to display.  All other states will disappear and the map extent will zoom to the selected group.

For Other Districts – For a focus on one or more ZIP codes, countries, territories, or other map layer segments, use the Data Window view. In the Data Window choose the layer you want to filter by in the upper left drop-down. Then click the Funnel Icon on the Data Window toolbar. Drop down to General on the left.  Next, choose the layer you’re going to filter by.  Now, in the right-side panel select the modifier “Contains” and to the right of that input the name of the county or territory etc. to highlight.  Finally, in the upper left-hand corner of the Data Window check on the Filter Data on the Map check box. Viola. You’re all focused in on your map now.  Don’t forget to uncheck the filter when you’re done.

Another flexible map feature users can adjust is the background map layer.  Read more here.

Choose symbols carefully – read more here. Think about the map legend. Consider preserving your filtered view by saving that map under a different name or a map template.

Back to Reality

Those are some tips around adjusting your map’s look and feel. In the end, our neighbor was happy with the color of our old farmhouse. At least they haven’t said otherwise. Admittedly, I’m better at controlling map clutter than yard clutter. So maybe they’re considering moving anyway?

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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Access Business Listings from Within Map Business Online

As you’ve probably realized by now, Map Business Online got a major upgrade in late December which included access to business listings from with the business mapping application.

These business listings are accessed for a fee. Map Business Online subscribers can buy credits through the Subscription option, under the Upgrade Existing Subscription Tab. It’s the third check box option as you scroll down the page.

Each Map Business Online subscription, including the FREE Trial, has free business listing credits included, so that users can test the tool. One credit is equivalent to one business listings.

You can read the press release we just published about Business Listings here.  I would paste the content into this blog, but the ever present Google Robot that monitors all websites, despises duplicate content.

You can also review our the Map Business Online page dedicated to business listings here.

In general, business listings has been a popular feature request from the Map Business Online community.  Use business listings for the following purposes:

  • To enhance business intelligence through accurate address, contact, sales, and employee size information
  • To build more complete competitor analysis maps
  • To explore potential markets for your products and services
  • To add prospect contacts to CRM systems or create leads for sales and marketing campaigns

We’d also like to hear about how you apply Map Business Online business listings.  Please let us know.

Here’s a link to our Business Listings Webinar registration scheduled for January 24, 2019 at 11:00 AM EST.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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How Business Listings Contribute to Location Intelligence in Map Business Online

Business listings, just added to Map Business Online, are a component of location intelligence.

Location intelligence is information related to specific points or areas on the Earth’s surface. When defined like that, the concept, location intelligence, comes across as very scientific, as if it were a military secret. But when considered from a business perspective, where location points might represent customers, prospects, business facilities, and field installations, location intelligence acquires a cutting-edge aspect for wide-awake managers. Especially when we remember that each and every one of those specific business location points has critical business data associated with them.

Gathering knowledge about customers, prospects, and areas of interest related to your business has become basic due diligence conducted by all successful organizations. The more you know, right?  Location intelligence is the information you need to help your business compete effectively, to maintain a healthy growth rate, and to remain profitable so that your employees maintain solid jobs and the community prospers overall.

That’s the circle of business life, and today it’s directly related to location intelligence.

Our business experience takes place within a market. Location intelligence helps your management team understand and define that market system and keep it productive for your business. For example, 95% of Map Business Online business comes to us through the Google search engine marketplace. Location intelligence helps us perform within the Google marketplace by defining who uses our products for specific applications by location and industry. Homecare agencies in the inner city may apply a Census tracts map layer to monitor patient territories, while more rural homecare agencies will likely use ZIP codes.

Census Tract Map Layer in Use

Effective January 2019, Map Business Online includes access to business listings. By adding business listing data as a searchable dataset within Map Business Online, we’ve expanded the extent of Map Business Online’s location intelligence capability. This makes Map Business Online a better value for businesses that care about winning; about serving their community; or about overall profitability.

Business listings contribute to business intelligence because they provide a wealth of relevant business data:

  • Business name – a business name is the basic element of all business data. Sounds simple enough, but it is critical, and names can vary. Duplicate names can cause confusion and confusion can be expensive.
  • Business address – Accurate addresses are used for sales and delivery routing, mailing; or building visualizations of business opportunities. An address is what makes the location relevant.  Latitude longitude coordinates work just as well.
  • A ZIP Code – ZIP codes (and other geographic units) are base units for overlying demographic trends and sales histories into map visualizations. ZIP codes are used to build area profiles. Product ABC sold well in ZIP code XXXXX let’s find similar ZIP codes across the nation and market product ABC to businesses in those areas.
  • Industry categories – NAICS and SIC codes unlock the types of businesses you sell to and help you to duplicate successful strategies based on business category.
  • Employee data – Categorizing customers and prospects by employee size helps develop your target sweet spot – the optimum prospect for your sales and marketing campaigns.
  • Sales Histories – Useful in categorizing company sizes and defining your customer sweet spots.
  • Location types – Understanding headquarters vs. branch locations helps define sales and marketing approaches, territory assignment, and hiring requirements.

A Word About Ordering

Map Business Online Business Listings Pricing and Ordering takes place here. You’ll find prices listed by quantity purchased under the Subscription page, click the Upgrade Tab. Business listings prices start at $45 for 300 listings.  Each listing equals one credit. Free samples are included with each Map Business Online subscription options.

Map Business Online FREE Trial – 10 listing credits at no charge per subscription

Map Business Online 90-day – 120 listing credits at no charge per subscription

Full-year Single User & Team – 1,200 listing credits at no charge per subscription

Business Listings as a Market Analysis Enhancement

Business listings help to organize and define marketing and sales campaigns, fundraising campaigns, political campaigns and government projects. Each organization will add their own business data points to their campaign target lists. Business listings are the physical location of target accounts. Forward-thinking companies will gather more detailed intelligence for larger accounts, or strategically critical accounts, including research data compiled through Internet searches or hired consultants.

All told, business listings as location intelligence help marketing and sales decision makers define target markets and develop actionable programs designed to improve response rates and customer conversions.

Adding business listings to the Map Business Online feature-set made sense for several reasons:

  1. Our customers were constantly asking for the ability to search for business listings. We track all customer requests and consider adding features that are most often requested.
  2. Map Business Online’s most commonly applied application is customer visualization – seeing a spreadsheet of customer addresses geolocated against a map. An obvious extension of this capability is the ability to conduct geosearches for customers and prospects as business listings.
  3. Another very popular use case for Map Business Online is market analysis. Our customers like to find and explore potential new markets for products and services. Business listings broaden the Map Business Online capability to explore new markets because it adds actual prospects to the analysis based on their business name, business type, or key business characteristics.

Map Business Online business listings will enhance the value of the product’s business analysis capability:

  • New market potential – Defining where and what is the addressable market?
  • Competitor analysis – Identifying competitors and building a strategy that enables business mapping users to compete more effectively.
  • Sales planning – Add sales campaign prospect lists to sales route plans.
  • Strategic analysis – Conduct new market analysis by NAICS & SIC industry type.
  • Sales territory mapping – Add prospect leads or sales opportunities for sales territory rep use in forecasting.

Ultimately business mapping software is intended to improve an organizations sales and marketing by improving your business’s ability to gather relevant location intelligence.  By adding business listings to the Map Business Online toolkit, we’ve provided more location intelligence about points on the Earth that are relevant to your business and will help your business compete more effectively.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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