Four Ways to Arrange Labels on Your MapBusinessOnline Business Map

Last week a ex MapPoint customer asked a question via chat: How can I arrange a label so that it doesn’t overlap other info on a ZIP code map?

While the options for controlling label placements in MapBusinessOnline are easy, the answer to the above question is more complicated than just ‘click here and select an option.’  There’s more a MapBusinessOnline user can do to optimize label placement.

Call Out Adjustments

MapBusinessOnline labels are associated with map layers, imported points, and territories. Imported points receive a Call Out label. These can be turned off selectively – one at a time – or they can be all turned off or all turned on.

To rearrange a Call Out orientation, simply click into the Call Out label and click the little Edit Gear in the right-hand corner of the label – between the Route Car icon and the Close option. Here you’ll find a clock face upon which you can select the call out position around the clock. You can also choose Compact Call Outs in the Map and Data imported data layer.  In Map and Data hover over the layer, click the Edit Gear, choose the Label tab and then find the Compact Call Out option.

Map Layer label options include the ability to adjust the font size and to choose the Zoom Level at which most of the labels begin to appear. Select the layer in Map and Data as noted above, then under Label, scroll to the bottom of the panel, and under Auto Labels try a few different options for size and Zoom level.

The above instructions are two quick ways to optimize label placement. But, for a detailed business map, that you’ve invested your precious time into, you may want to consider a few more points of optimization.

Zoom Level

The map Zoom Level, controlled in the upper right-hand corner of the application, can always be adjusted. Zooming in on the map will reveal more detail, and ZIP code labels will become more numerous as the map displays larger ZIP code areas but a fewer ZIP codes overall.

This zooming-in process requires your review in terms of Map Clutter. Are your labels still effective at this Zoom level?  Are there too many ZIP code labels displayed or is it just right?

As mentioned above, all labels have an adjustment that controls and defines the Zoom Level at which a set of labels appear. In Maps & Data choose the layer you want to edit, click the Edit Gear – Label – Auto Label.  Here you can set County labels, ZIP code labels or other map layer labels to appear at specific zoom levels.

Remove Superfluous Labels

Consider adjusting County labels and State labels too.  Do you even need a state layer label turned on?  States are largely referential and perhaps just a light state boundary is all that is required.

In general, less is more on a business map.  Chances are good, your executive team is filled with busy people who may require spoon-fed reporting and business map reviews. Don’t make them hunt and peck for information. Get your business map point across quickly and efficiently. Bad mapping probably won’t ruin your reputation around the office, but a solid business map, ripe with the right content, will be remembered.

Get the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? Enjoy the new Map App capabilities and watch for more advantages in the future. Escape Adobe Flash Player now!

Map Layer Transparency

Each map layer includes boundary and fill transparency controls. Accessed through Map and Data under the General Tab, these controls let you decide exactly how much color you want to display on the map and that fill layers opacity.

In general, I follow these “rules” for map layer adjustments.

  • State layers do not require a color fill or a label. A boundary is sufficient to define a state. If your map viewer doesn’t recognize a state boundary, send them back to elementary school. States are generally used for orientation only.
  • Counties are optional and usually only add value if the territories have some county-level basis.  Still, on certain maps, like COVID-19 maps, counties may be the focus map layer.
  • ZIP codes are generally the key map layer and should be color-shaded to reflect your map’s core purpose. Always allow as much transparency as you can without losing meaningful definition.
  • You can always apply different background maps. Be sure to try background map options to determine which background adds the most visual value.

These rules are just guidelines. Play with the tools to get used to the options you can apply.

Think ‘Easy on the Eyes’

Assume that your map viewer just woke up with a vicious hangover and the first thing they’re going to do is look at your business map. Keep the colors subdued. Make borders obvious, but not too thick. Always support your business map’s intent when adjusting the look and feel of your map. Don’t make your map viewer have to think too much.

I like to use pastel shades and colors. I tend to avoid bright colors unless I am highlighting something to make it obvious and critical to the map viewer. If your map is a territory map, and you’d like to add some drive time polygons to support your analysis results, consider developing a second map that focuses on drive times.  Do not try to solve all problems with one map. That’s a classic rookie map move.

Cloropleth Map

Business Maps Provide Situational Awareness

Remember, your business map serves many purposes.  Business maps provide map visualizations of business realities or possible business futures. Business maps serve to communicate concepts present facts to a business audience.

Business maps should be a thorough analysis of business situations designed to make constituents aware of periodic results or strategic threats and opportunities. Business mapping services provide reporting to update business teams with tracked results or project statuses.

Labels and call outs are critical elements of any business map. Choose their placement wisely and help those labels to emphasize your map’s purpose.

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Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline or contact us with an interesting use case, in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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Pandemic Mapping & the MapBusinessOnline Viewer

2020, the year we all realized our lifestyles were precious and subject to forces outside of our control.

I suddenly realized it on a Friday evening in mid-March 2020, as my wife and I walked across a few streets in Portland, Maine on the way to our favorite Chinese restaurant, Empire. I pay close attention to the news, and I thought to myself, “This could be the last time Barb and I go out for dinner for a year or more.”

Although we have actually gone out to dinner since then, as restrictions in Maine were relaxed, dining out is no longer normal. All Maine restaurants must serve diners outside, with adjusted menus, and in many cases, plastic cups for beer. A plastic beer cup isn’t a disaster, but when you live in one of the craft brew capitals of the world, it kinda sucks.

Fortunately for us, the reported case and death rates for COVID-19 have been comparatively mild in Maine. Early intervention by the State and general compliance with the Governor’s latest rules on the part of Mainers, have kept casualty rates low.  I know this is very tough for certain Maine businesses. After all, tourism is our largest industry.

Work at MapBusinessOnline has proceeded without restriction. Business has hung in there well, thanks to our loyal customer base and the fact that our business occurs almost exclusively online.

But it is interesting to watch our customers shift their use of business mapping software as a tool for pandemic mapping. What are the application challenges MapBusinessOnline customers are approaching with business mapping software during the greatest epidemic the world has experienced since 1917?

Equipment Tracking

As companies return to business as usual, or close to it, many businesses need to track down where all their equipment is located. Delivery services, rental agencies, and businesses supporting all kinds of field services were shut down on short notice.  Many projects and service operations were simply dropped where they were. Equipment may have been left on job sites all over a particular area of interest.

Business maps can help gather a list of equipment last know locations. These lists can be geocoded or plotted on a map by address or latitude-longitude coordinate. Equipment location visualizations are nothing new to MapBusinessOnline.com.  It just another business reality that can be managed using mapping software.

Job sites and equipment locations are often imported into MapBusinessOnline as latitude/longitude coordinates.  MapBusinessOnline includes a background map option for “Satellite Imagery with Streets.”  I like this view for job sites because it includes a view of building and building footprints. The imagery isn’t always ‘satellite’ imagery. It is usually fairly recent aerial imagery compiled by municipal or state government entities for planning purposes.

Equipment maps can be shared with non-subscribers.  Try the new MapBusinessOnline Viewer app.  Have your target constituent map viewers download the Map App (no charge.)  You’ll find all the MapBusinessOnline Apps now listed in the Microsoft Start Menu as you scroll down to the ‘M’ section of the list.

To use the MapBusinessOnline Viewer all your map viewers need to do is take the link you send them via email and click the link.  A web page will launch offering a choice to use the MapBusinessOnline Viewer or to install the Viewer if it is not yet installed. The MapBusinessOnline Viewer does not require Adobe Flash Player.

Read more about the MapBusinessOnline Viewer in this month’s MapBusinessOnline Newsletter. If you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter let us know via email or chat.

Tracking Sales Activity

Tracking and comparing month-by-month sales results from 2019 to 2020 is on a lot of peoples’ minds. Sales results are easy to track on a business map. A simple import of a list of transactions by address viewed against a business map provide insight. You can import these records by month or as a year-to-date compilation. All location-based transaction data can be aggregated by ZIP code, county, state, or territory.

Such data aggregations mean that all the dots you see on the map representing company sales values will be summed by your choice of area. Most often our customers do this summation by sales territory. But the type of map layer focus depends on your business.  A Retailer might prefer to see results by ZIP code groups or by City limit.  While a manufacturing sales organization will be focused on nationwide sales results by region or division (available in MapBusinessOnline Pro).

COVID-19’s impact on sales results varies from business-to-business. Food services and airlines have been decimated. Internet Service Providers and cleaning services are booming. It’s more important than ever to have a complete grasp of accurate sales reporting.

Challenges like managing overlapping sales and or exposing gaps in sales coverages are well suited to business map visualizations. I will note that sometimes, new users expect to be able to replicate complex sales structures on a basic business map.  A full GIS application may be better suited than a business map for visualizing three or more overlapping sales coverages or product lines. But I always recommend that map creators keep their sales territory maps as simple as possible.

Creating a basic map to communicate sales results and account responsibilities will go far towards instituting organizational sales achievement. Maps with too many data layers, themes, and colors, difficult for the average salesperson to decipher, will be confusing and are likely to demotivate your team. Keep it simple. If necessary, build multiple maps to drive home more than one critical business idea.

Map Symbolizations

Symbolization is a pretty big word. But it covers an important concept. A dot or a triangle displayed against an accurate map of the USA can mean many things. In MapBusinessOnline, those symbols are available in the symbol library through the import and color-coding processes.

It’s possible to apply colored circles variable by value. For example, your colored circle can change from orange to red to reflect higher sales or more intense concentrations of  COVID-19 cases.  The circle can also vary in size, adding more visual cues for your map viewer.

A Dot Density Map Visualization

The application even includes Chart and Graph Symbols which I use to show value variations over time – by city county, state, or ZIP.

Sometimes a basic dot density map works wonders for exposing patterns across wide areas.  Importing large datasets, 5,000 or more records, and symbolizing the data with medium to small size dots can reveal concentrations of key criteria. Potential customers, epidemic outbreak locations, or just good old sales accounts can bunch up by city or business park leading to more effective contact or mitigation strategies.

I encourage experimentation with symbolization options in any business mapping tool. Mapping your business is personal. Based on your business’s sales pace, product price points, and industry type, certain symbols will optimize communication. Listen to your map viewing audience.  Over time you’ll learn what works best.

Avoid loud colors and overbearing symbols.

Mapping COVID-19

We’ve been tracking the spread of COVID-19 deaths by state and county.  I’ve tried to keep that focus consistent. I was very concerned about the Trump administration’s attempt last week to redirect hospital virus reporting away from the CDC. I am very much in favor of keeping data consistent and widely available.

Other organizations may require tracking of the virus by different factors. As long as the data provided has a location component – an address, lat/long, a ZIP code – it can be displayed on a map. MapBusinessOnline customers in the health care and health insurance industries have tracked the virus by hospitalizations, seeking to calculate risk as realistically as possible. COVID-19 risk factors impact hospital preparedness, PPE requirements, staff requirements, and insurance claim planning.

Coronavirus caseload statistics can swing rapidly over a ten-days. What a hospital system data analyst might hope is just a tick up, could turn into a full-fledged hot spot over a few days. A well-designed business map can depict those ups and downs visually, providing trends based on a period of days or weeks, valuable in triage planning sessions.

MapBusinessOnline can display the progress of the virus by jurisdiction and expose trends through color-coded or heat mapped ZIP code areas and counties.

So keep those cards and letters coming about how you use MapBusinessOnline during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Let’s make sure we document our pandemic experiences for our great-grandchildren, dealing with their pandemic a hundred years from now.

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Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline or contact us with an interesting use case, in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

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Two MapBusinessOnline Pro Features You Might Need Someday

MapBusinessOnline Business Mapping Software is used to solve a myriad of challenges.  Below are two specific problems that come up every once in a while.

ZIP Code-to-ZIP Code Driving Time and Distance Queries

Every so often a business contacts us with two lists of ZIP codes across which they would like to conduct driving time or driving distance queries from all ZIP codes in one list to all ZIP codes in the second list. So this is a complex twist on a ZIP code map.

We’ve always called this use of business mapping a ZIP-to-ZIP query.

Companies desire  ZIP-to-ZIP queries to derive a sense of what transportation costs might be from one ZIP code to another ZIP code across their vehicle routing network. This information can be critical for a business to accurately project expenses, monitor staff time on the road, or to develop delivery and visitation pricing for clients.

I’ve seen ZIP-to-ZIP queries used in the real estate business, in healthcare, in retail, and food services. ZIP-code to ZIP-code driving distance and driving time queries are estimates because a specific address not applied to the query. The point-to-point analysis is made from the Centroid Point or weighted average center of each ZIP. So ZIP-to-ZIP estimates may be used to ball-park a service call or delivery stop’s route time.

MapBusinessOnline Pro provides stock tools for this analysis in the Market Analysis button on the Master Toolbar. The Pro Market Analysis button provides the import process for placing both ZIP code datasets on the map and then continue with the analysis process.

Click the Market Analysis button. Scroll down to Market Analysis Batch Calculate Distance and Time Between Two Datasets, which is the Market Analysis option to apply. The results are generated as a spreadsheet in the Data Window.  The Pro map user can apply the Add Columns tool button (formerly More Data) to edit the columns in your query result to simplify the exportable report to match your audience’s needs. E.I., don’t overwhelm the boss with data. She hates that.

One thing to remember about driving time and driving distance queries – they cost money. Each Pro subscription comes with route/driving time credits but for large driving queries credits will be consumed.

Step-by-Step Instructions for ZIP-to-ZIP

  1. Import two separate ZIP code spreadsheets. These ZIP code lists can be imported, as usual, using the Plot Data button, or in the Market Analysis Batch Calculate Distance function itself. Either way, the resulting data import places two sets of points on the map. Each ZIP code from each dataset is represented on the map by a ZIP centroid point or central dot.
  2. Still in Market Analysis Batch Calculate Distance and Time Between Two Datasets. Carefully select which dataset is the Origin dataset and which is the Destination dataset. Usually, a store location, factory, or warehouse is the Point of Origin. Give this careful consideration before you run your query.  Remember, these queries cost money
  3. In the ‘Measure‘ dropdown select the type of distance or time analysis you’d like to apply:
    • Straight line distance
    • Drive time
    • Straight and drive distance
    • Drive distance and time
    • All distances and time
  4. If you want to get fancy you can set Time-of-day. This can come in handy when considering commuter traffic. MapBusinessOnline can apply traffic modifiers to the driving time and distance calculations based on time-of-day.
  5. Select a word or phrase that will describe your ZIP-to-ZIP exportable result. For Example: ‘Bus Route Time Estimates’
  6. Click Next, to generate the report. The results will be viewable and exportable from in the Data Window
  7. While in the Data Window, map creators can click the Choose Columns (formerly More Data) in the lower right. This opens an easy-to-use data layer management tool, which I would suggest you use to fine-tune your data before export:
    • Move columns around for optimized viewing
    • Delete superfluous data columns
  8. Export final results using the Export button on the far right of the Data Window toolbar

These multiple driving time and driving distance queries are not new to the world of mapping. What’s different about MapBusinessOnline Pro is that such analysis is available at an affordable price with results generated in a matter of minutes. Typically these sorts of GIS queries are expensive, require a level of expertise, and involve long wait times.

Setting Up a ZIP-to-ZIP Query

Enrich Your Imported Business Data

Another capability of MapBusinessOnline Pro is the ability to enrich data that you’ve imported into the application. An example was presented to me this week through a support Chat.  A user wanted to import a list of addresses with no ZIP codes included, only addresses.  Then he wanted to find the ZIP codes, add them to the data and export the list including ZIPs.

This is entirely doable in MapBusinessOnline Pro.

Scroll down to the Enrich Dataset button, the last option under Pro Market Analysis.

Import or Select your address data. In the dropdown select the Map Layer you’d like to explore for data – County, ZIP, State, etc.

Finally, choose whether you want to add Demographic or Geographic data to your dataset. In this case, it is geographic, because you want to add ZIP codes. Select ZIP codes. Click Next and then Done and the Data Window will display your enriched dataset. Export and take a bow.

The above two scenarios are just two examples describing how MapBusinessOnline Pro can provide unique and useful geographic solutions to business problems.

______________________________

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline or contact us with an interesting use case, in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

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

Online Maps Will Help You Reach Your Mountain Top

A 4th of July Week Pandemic Distraction

I live in Cornish, ME adjacent to the largest area of undeveloped land in York County, Maine. Two 1,320-foot mountains sit side-by-side about 1-1/2 miles behind my house. When we first moved to the area you could easily access these beautiful mountains by hiking up along public dirt roads. But since that time, all of those roads have become no-trespassing areas. One access road is defended by a Second Amendment fanatic, making the forbidden passage somewhat hair-raising.

Still, those mountain summits beckon. They provide amazing views of the surrounding area with vistas of Southern Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, including Mount Washington. Now that the kids are grown and I have a little more weekend time and the need to exercise, I committed to discovering a new path to reach those mountains outback; one that didn’t require a bulletproof vest.

Decent maps were an essential part of achieving my goal. I consulted many maps including:

Most of these maps were not business maps but I don’t limit all of my map use to market analysis and sales territory mapping.  Not all online maps are a MapPoint replacement. (And low, he pays tribute to the Google SEO Gods.) Moving on.

Last summer I took a series of hikes from my house back into the woods, attempting to get around Clark Mountain to climb Hosac Mountain, the highest peak with a clear 360° view. To be clear, I could simply drive a few miles, park my car and walk into the Sawyer Mountain preserve, right up to Hosac Mountain. But I wanted to walk up to those mountain tops from my backdoor with no assist from a vehicle. You get it, right? No fossil fuel expended for my weekend excursions, litter picked up along the way, walking the whole distance commando, and other radical far-left rituals.

Just me, the woods, and ten thousand tics.

But last summers hikes didn’t reveal an efficient hike up the mountain. I had an efficient start, but I needed to get around Clark Mountain, and find a path to Old Sawyer Mountain Road. That was the key.

Skirting Clark Mountain

Clark Mountain stands between my house and Hosac Mountain. Almost identical in height, Hosac is cleared on top providing astounding views of Southern Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Clark Mountain has a few nice overlook spots, but it is quite wooded, and it is gated-off to prevent interloper access. Clark does block the view of Mount Washington from the top of Hosac, but with all the hills around my house, I see Mount Washington more than I see my wife.

The first-quarter mile hike, up the requisite rise in elevation to reach these hills, takes place on town roads, mainly Mountain Road in Cornish. This half-hour hike is a wonderful walk I hike often in the mornings before work. Although it’s only a quarter-mile hike up to a lookout, you get wonderful views of Mount Washington and Western Maine’s Pleasant Mountain.

 

 

An Overlook off of Mountain Road – A Quarter Mile Hike Above the House (in blue)

To hike the full Hosac Mountain loop from that abbreviated hike up Mountain Road I follow an old hunting and RV trail that leaves the maintained road to the south. Late last February I followed this trail into the woods.  The path leads directly to the base of Clark Mountain and follows the mountain base’s west side for about a half a mile.

Taking this trail in February was unusual for a Maine winter.  The snowpack was quickly disappearing due to an early spring thaw. In the mid-morning winter sun, the ground and snow remained frozen, so I was able to walk normally without a lot of mud and wetness in my boots. There were no signs of snowmobiles on the trail.

As the trail moved south the ascent was gradual until my cell phone altitude app told me I was  approaching 1100 feet, the highest point before descending again and approaching Hosac, my goal. I saw no animals in the vicinity on that day, but there was plenty of deer sign and moose scat at one point. I stumbled across the remains of a blue jay ripped to shreds by a wild cat or a coyote. The wind blew silently through the trees and my neck got a chill as I stared at the bright blue feathers frozen into the top layer of snow.

My take-away from this delicate moment was that sometimes it sucks to be a blue jay. No wonder they make such a racket.

Last summer when I came this way I stuck with the trail as my altitude declined on the far side of the mountain.  But my dogged trust in my sense of direction led me into swampy areas. At the time I moved to the north to avoid the muck and mire and only found more of the same. I got lost, I fell, and I got wet, and that was on a nice summer day. I eventually reached the Old Sawyer Mountain Road, long since discontinued. And from there I did summit Hosac, but the entire hike was ugly and would not serve as an efficient and comfortable hike for an aging, whiney, baby boomer.

A MapBusinessOnline view of my backyard mountains

 

I want to be able to bring visiting friends up to these scenic vistas. I’m not going for Jeremiah Johnson in a blizzard, warmed in the cabin by the near-dead pioneer widow Baxter. No way. I’m going more for recently retired yuppie takes a two-hour walk on a beautiful summer day and naps when he gets home. No cabin-bound, practically frozen widows involved.

So, on my winter’s day hike, when I reached the end of the marked trail, this time I turned to the east. I made this turn, based on a topographic trail map I found online in December, one of perhaps fifty maps I perused while researching this hike. You can also find Topographic Maps in MapBusinessOnline.   This particular map indicated a 900-foot contour line at the base of Clark Mountain once I reached the southern side.  It showed that contour line follows the mountain base around to the east and then takes a hairpin turn back to the west, leaving the wet area below that 900-foot ridgeline in the crotch of that hairpin turn.

Contour lines are noted on classic topographic maps. Each line represents the contour of the landscape based on its elevation about sea-level.

900 Ft Contour Line on a MapBusinessOnline Topographic Map

I knew from looking at all the maps I consulted, that this contour line was my answer. When my position on the far side of the trail had declined to 900-feet on my cell phone altitude app, I moved east. By now I could see and hear that the wetland I’d encountered last summer was fed by a rushing brook quite alive with snowmelt. On some of the old maps that brook is called Little River.

As I moved east there was no longer a path.  The terrain was steep and shaded by a thick stand of pines. The ground here is rocky and muddy with little vegetative cover. But with the help of a long thick maple walking stick, I was able to maintain my balance and avoid an embarrassing call to my wife begging for the rescue squad. I pushed on, gradually making my way down to the Little River.

I then followed the brook east and upstream for maybe a hundred and fifty yards. The stream was quite beautiful in the hazy morning sun. I carefully selected a crossing point where several boulders and a log seemed to guarantee that my boots would remain dry. These Little River stones lived up to their promise and  helped me across the rushing stream, no worse for wear.  I then spent an hour wandering around on the other side of the wetland looking for the Old Sawyer Mountain Road by dead reckoning with no luck.

I got tired quickly, it being the first walk of the season and having not eaten before I left home (like an idiot.) I decided I should return to the brook and pick-up the map’s contour scheme again. In doing this I found Old Sawyer Mountain Road within five minutes. #Maps are great.

Old Sawyer Mountain Road

Old Sawyer Mountain Road once provided passage for horses and carriages. Its use was stopped before 1930. But the road now serves as a wonderful walking trail deep in the Sawyer Mountain woods. Covered by tree canopy, the road is pretty much a straight-line turnpike from Clark Mountain in Cornish to Lowd Road, in Limerick. It’s about fifteen feet wide and bordered by stone walls on each side.  There are old home foundations and cemeteries along the road. The obsolete road is now a mountain path, rutted and muddy in many areas, but in summer it softens and offers a bed of dry leaves upon which to enjoy a shaded hike on a hot summer day. If you can find the freaking thing.

As it turns out, the brook crosses Old Sawyer Mountain Road just a quarter-mile east from where I left the hunting trail and began my bushwhacking excursion. Huzzah!

My turn-by-turn directions would be these: Turn right off of Mountain Road, follow the Clark Mountain hunting trail south, then follow the Little River East until you reach Old Sawyer Mountain Road.  Follow Sawyer Mountain Road east for about 20 yards and take a right onto a wide trail sloping up that leads to Hosac Mountain. That trail will T onto another trail. Bear right at the T to access the incredibly steep Hosac Peak access road. You’ll see the tall cell tower as you approach the mountain top from the woods.

Hosac Panoramic View

Once a hiker reaches Hosac Mountain there are frequently used trails in several directions that lead to Sawyer Mountain and the Francis Small Heritage Trust trail system. There are also roads leading to the towns of Limerick and Limington, Maine from Hosac Mountain. A hiker could spend weeks walking the trails back there and see very few humans.

A rainbow viewed from the Hosac Summit

My goal had been achieved. The critical element of my success was studying the various maps of the area. The maps varied quite dramatically from each other.  Specifically, the actual position of Old Sawyer Mountain Road varies from map to map.  Many show the old road moving right over the top of Clark Mountain, an unrealistic placement based on the old road’s original purpose – basic horse drawn transportation between remote homes on the heights and the town. It made much more sense for the road to circumnavigate the base of Clark Mountain where maintenance and passage of horse-drawn carriages would be easier, especially during winter.

The map that most accurately depicted the obsolete road was the Town of Cornish tax map. But you just don’t think to review a tax map to find an accurate hiking path.  Hikers should consider consulting tax maps for old trail verifications. Follow the money.

My point, overall here, in addition to hiking as a great pastime and source of good clean fun, is that digital maps, studied carefully can provide navigation solutions to backwoods trail use. No surprise, I guess. But these geographic sources are all there online for free and can be a fun and productive way to pretend you’re Davy Crockett or a near-dead widow in the wilderness, without becoming one.

Just be sure to bring your cell phone and some water.

______________________________

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

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5 Reasons Sales Organizations Chooses MapBusinessOnline Sales Territory Mapping

Sales Territory Management is a primary reason why customers select MapBusinessOnline over competing business mapping software products. I could just say we’re better, we’re easier, and we’re more affordable, but then I wouldn’t have much of a blog post. I’m supposed to shoot for 750 words.

Businesses  require sales territory mapping software for a variety of reasons.

  • Franchise businesses want the ability to sell and manage their ZIP code territories
  • Pharmaceutical companies must monitor the sales of traveling sales reps across complex and ever-changing territories
  • Retail stores set up territories by store locations to track foot traffic, measure marketing campaigns, and to build demographic ZIP code profiles
  • Manufacturing sales organizations track direct sales teams and manufacturing rep companies across nationwide regions and divisions
  • Distributors and wholesalers create territories by state, metro area, and product line, using territory sales records to rebalance inventories
  • Healthcare businesses use territories to plan the cross-state expansion of hospital systems or to track field clinicians across a home care system
  • Insurance companies apply territory analysis to field claims management, expose coverage gaps, and to support classic sales departments in monitoring and sharing sales results

There are at least five major reasons why MapBusinessOnline is the sales territory mapping program of choice for business mapping customers all over the USA and Canada.

Ease of Data Import

Sales territory managers spend a great deal of time and effort preparing for and creating sales territories. Generally, data preparation for a complete sales territory mapping scheme will include a spreadsheet of ZIP codes or County based territories as well as an address spreadsheet of accounts and prospective accounts. MapBusinessOnline streamlines the location data import process providing easy and fast map visualizations of both customer visualizations and sales territory creation.

MapBusinessOnline sales territory management offers a multistep import process that is intuitive and includes instructional wizards that describe the process in easy steps, for people who prefer that. Video tutorials and help docs provide quick and easy guides for the creation of your first territories, after which additional territories are a snap. Chat and email support will get you past any roadblocks, like Point vs. Boundary ZIP codes (yes – that’s a thing.)

Competitor software offerings tend to be more complicated. GIS competitors, like Maptitude, require a Rocket Science degree and a subscription to MIT Calculus magazine to create a basic map.

Complex Territory Hierarchies

Ease of Territory Editing

Once those territories are created, they must be managed. Unfortunately, my friend, nothing stays the same in life. MapBusinessOnline enables mouse click territory selection leading to a menu of editing options including operations like:

  • Add to
  • Remove from
  • Remove from all Except
  • Update
  • Intersecting
  • Create New

Holding down the shift key during the map layer selection process enables multiple map object (ZIP code) selection. These easy-to-learn tools will make you the expert at creating and managing territories for your sales team in no time.

Updates and changes to territory maps are critical to your sales process. Many businesses optimize their territories based on a variety of metrics which could include: the number of accounts, travel requirements, legacy accounts, product spread, or other industry-specific measures. Choose a sales territory mapping software that makes the change management portion of your job easy, fast, and fun.

MapBusinessOnline is More Affordable

While MapBusinessOnline is priced below our competition, it is important to also compare the features and allowances, when determining which business mapping software is the best solution for your business.

  • MapBusinessOnline offers generous location data import allowances. Pay attention to the amount of data our competitors allow. They tend to be stingy
  • MapShare free viewer sessions are extremely affordable – in fact, shared map sessions are free up to 1200 sessions a year. Every subscription includes the ability to share interactive web maps for free
  • Business listings are available for you to search, map, and to export at $0.15 per listing
  • Extra routing credits for vehicle routing or drive time calculations are also available for a small fee, should you run out of your subscription’s generous allowance

The Most Like Microsoft MapPoint

There are still Microsoft MapPoint replacement seekers landing on MapBusinessOnline.com every day. They come seeking an online mapping solution that can replace MapPoint and provide a similar user interface. We’ve converted thousands of such MapPoint refugees over the past five years.

MapBusinessOnline’s look, feel, and user interface comes very close to MapPoint. Your most dedicated MapPoint users will feel relieved after they make the switch and start accessing up-to-date ZIP codes and Demographic Data. Don’t waste any more of your associate’s valuable time working with obsolete maps and demographic data. Get access to state-of-the-art mapping features.

Territory Map Layer Flexibility

For some companies, sales territories are simply groupings of ZIP codes in organized sections surrounding the home location of salespeople or within a specified radius of an office or a warehouse. Other businesses require more complex sales territories.

Complex sales territories often exist for good reasons. More advanced businesses can turn to MapBusinessOnline for flexible territory development that offers multiple sales territory options:

  • Create multiple sets of territories on several map layer geographies – ZIP code and county for instance – all on one map
  • Identify areas of overlapping sales territories. Show ZIP codes belonging to more than one sales territory in bright red or black – you choose the color
  • Leave some states or counties whole and split other states and counties up into smaller segments

MapBusinessOnline Standard and Pro offer advanced territory management tools that will support your organization’s sales force as they set-up sales territories and maintain them moving forward.

Unparalleled Technical Support

For more than 95% of our customer base, we never receive help requests, which speaks to the ease-of-use of MapBusinessOnline.  But the other 5 percent, who may require some assistance we offer multiple ways to access technical support:

  • Chat with a technical sales rep during business hours. Ask us anything. We’ll get you on track in short order
  • Email for technical support or request a web-share demonstration of the product
  • Call the technical support 800 number
  • Read our blog which contains hundreds of user scenarios and how-to documents on popular features and applications
  • The more visual folks may want to peruse our YouTube video library filled with video demonstrations of common practices

Lastly, read what our customers have to say about MapBusinessOnline on one of our review sites.

Capterra.com and ShopperApproved.com

I could ramble on about why MapBusinessOnline.com is the preferred mapping solution for the Universe at large, but I’ve got to get this blog posted.  Suffice it to say, MapBusinessOnline’s features are designed for business people just like you, who just need to create a map as part of their business process or business analysis.

______________________________

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. No More Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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How to Create a ZIP Code Heat Map

Up here in New England, it’s getting hot outside. What better time than during a heatwave to discuss heat mapping. After all, heat maps are cool.

Heat maps describe business or human activity by color shading data values over specific locations or areas. A business map is manipulated to depict the concentration of sales transactions by address, or the intensity of thunderstorm activity across an area.

MapBusinessOnline includes a heat map button on the Master Toolbar. This button enables the creation of color intensified areas across a set of location data points based on the numeric values assigned to those points on the map. This is great for showing the intensity of sales by account or by salesperson. A great addition to a sales territory map or sales planning map.

What the MapBusinessOnline Heat Map button does not do is display the intensity of data by ZIP code.

There are two different types of heat maps:

  1.  Heat maps that reflect data intensity by location points – like the heat map button in MapBusinessOnline, and
  2. Heat maps that reflect data intensity by area such as ZIP codes or Counties

Your boss or associate may expect their requested heat map to show point-based or ZIP code-based heat mapping. Make sure you are clear on their requirement.

ZIP Code Heat Maps

A ZIP code heat map links a set of location data points to a group of ZIP codes. The ZIP codes would then be color-coded based on the numeric value of the data the map creator is required to highlight. The map below reflects imported location data showing COVID-19 cases by ZIP code, which in Massachusetts corresponds closely to cities and towns. In the case displayed I color-coded the ZIP codes based on the column of COVID-19 case numeric data.

COVID-19 Heat Map by ZIP Code

In general, the term heat map is used because maps that display data intensity tend to use colors toward the red or hotter side of the color spectrum. These maps use redder colors to reflect more intensive concentrations of the imported numeric data.

ZIP 5 codes are a popular area unit of measure for heat mapping because they are relatively small and relatively familiar to all US citizens. ZIP codes can be color-shaded to reflect local or national data values. A heat map could be applied to town areas, counties, states, or Census tracts. MapBusinessOnline also includes ZIP 3 codes, Metropolitan Statistical Areas, and even Congressional Districts, which could all be heat mapped. How cool is that?

ZIP 5 Heat Mapping in MapBusinessOnline

I know, stop yapping and tell me how to do it, you’re thinking.

  1. Import the location data you’d like to turn into a Heat Map. A ZIP code map will reflect heat map intensity for address-based imported data points.

The imported data should include location columns, like these:

      1. Addresses, or Lat/Lon coordinates
      2. ZIP codes or
      3. Counties, ST or
      4. City, ST
  1. Import your location data using the Plot Data button. Read more on data importing.
  1. Click the Color Code Map button on the Master Toolbar – 3 Puzzle Piece Icon
    1. Select the map layer you want to Heat Map – in this case, ZIP codes
    2. Select your target imported dataset
    3. Select your numeric value column
  2. Within the Color Code Map dialogue move down to select a range ( 2 to 100) and color scheme
    1. In general, keep the range at 2 to 5 ranges. This maintains a less chaotic map. Too many color options make the map difficult for the user to understand. At some point, with too many range levels your heat map becomes a hot mess
    2. Apply colors in a gradation scheme – cold to hot, low to high
    3. At the bottom of the Range/Color tools are some preselected graduated color schemes. These make color arrangements that are easy to read and easy to apply
  3. Click done
  4. Review the map and your ZIP code color scheme. Make sure your map intent is clearly displayed. It’s easy to run the Color-Code Map process again and make adjustments.

That’s how the ZIP code heat map is done in MapBusinessOnline. Compare it to our traditional heat mapping approach outlined below, which you might like better.

  1. Click the Heat Map Button, just to the left of the Color-Code Map button
  2. Select your target imported data layer. Click next.
  3. Choose a color scheme and a heat radius, which controls intensity
  4. Select which column in your data contains the numeric data to be heat mapped
  5. Finally, choose Preview or Done.

Once the heat map is established it is wicked easy to go back to the beginning and readjust the settings or try a few tweaks. Click done and see how it looks.

A Point-based Heat Map

Alternatives to heat mapping include color-coding a point layer.  To do this use the Three Colored Balls icon.  Read more about color-coding options here.

So, go forth and heat map. But keep your maps uncomplicated and easy on the eyes or your heat mapping experience may turn out not so hot.

______________________________

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

 

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10 Tips for New Users of MapBusinessOnline.com

Sometimes we get simple MapBusinessOnline questions on Chat that deserve quick answers, and perhaps some longer-term users may wonder about these same basic processes too. So, here’s a list of simple MapBusinessOnline processes you might wonder about. After all, we are an easy mapping software.

I’m New, How Do I Access the Mapping Tool?

A valid question. Currently, there are two ways to access MapBusinessOnline online mapping software.

  1. Download the Map App for Mac or PC. We recommend that you access your business maps this way. It avoids the need for Adobe Flash Player. In general, IT departments prefer downloaded Apps to Adobe Flash Player. The Download is Here.
  2. Access the Web Map. On MapBusinessOnline.com, scroll down to the bottom margin and click the Web Map link highlighted in blue. This will open up the web browser-based mapping tool. These web maps are rendered through the Adobe Flash Player platform. Adobe is scheduled for termination on December 31, 2020. Please consider using the Map App as mentioned above. An alternative web browser-based map rendering tool is under construction.

How Do I Delete A Map?

On the Master Toolbar, to the far left, click the Map Library Folder, or the Open Map and Manage Saved Map button. The dialogue reveals the My Maps panel. Hover your mouse cursor over the map titles listed and you will notice a Red Button with a White X appears on the right side of any map file. That’s the Delete Map button. Find the map you wish to delete and then get that red button to show up again and click it. “Bada bing, Buda bang, ” your map is history.

Make double sure you want to delete that particular map. And make triple sure that that specific map is the map you want to delete. I can’t tell you how many times a user deletes the wrong map. Retrieving a deleted map is time-consuming and will cost you at least $300.00. Be sure.

 

I Lost the Map I Was Working On

Two important concepts to understand here. First, to really save a map you must click the Save button on the master toolbar – three buttons in from the left. That puts the map in the Map Library Folder, or the Open Map and Manage Saved Map button, as mentioned above.

Second, MapBusinessOnline.com is a web app. So, if you are working in a browser-based version – Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, or Safari – the web-browser will cache or preserve a view of the last thing you were doing in MapBusinessOnline. It does this with all the web applications you use.

People often get lulled into the belief that their map has been saved. It hasn’t. You have to click that save button to save your map. Where this can be tricky is when  a map user, changes their web-browser for whatever reason. If you’ve been using Chrome for a month, you come into work, you open Chrome and your map is there.  You do your work. But if you change web browsers and use Firefox one day, instead of Chrome you will open MapBusinessOnline and the map will not be there, because it’s not cached by the browser. Hopefully, you saved the map and it is snuggled safely in your Map File Folder library.

If not, call us in a panic. We may be able to restore your map files, but it will cost you – as mentioned above $300.00 to cover human and machine time.

I Got A New Computer – How do I Get My MapBusinessOnline?

Just go to Www.MapBusinessOnline.com, download the Map App, or access the Web Map as described above. All you’ll need is your login email and password.  There is always a password management process available at login.

Microsoft Internet Explorer Browsers Can Get Squirrelly

Microsoft has canceled some support for Internet Explorer 10. IE 11 may still be supported for some businesses using advanced Windows Apps. If your company is still using Internet Explorer as a Web Browser and you encounter issues using MapBusinessOnline the cause may be the ActiveX filtering setting in IE. Please try clicking on the settings gear icon in the top right corner of the IE window. Next, go to Safety and uncheck ActiveX filtering if it is checked on.

Our general position on Internet Explorer is that Microsoft has stopped advancing the program. Consider a more modern browser. Better yet – Download the MapBusinessOnline Map App for MAC or PC. 

Difficulty Using the MapBusinessOnline Map App

Occasionally, the installation of the Map App can get corrupted. Evidence of an issue with the installation could include:

  • Not finding a launch icon
  • The application won’t boot up from the App

The best answer, if you have trouble updating the App on a Windows machine, is to go to the Start menu and launch the App from there.  That will generate an automatic update to the Map App.

Otherwise, an uninstall and reinstall might be required. In a Windows machine, in the Start Menu Search Bar find MapBusinessOnline. Right-click on the App in the Start List. Choose Uninstall. When that operation is complete, download the App once again and let it install.

On a MAC there should be a MapBusinessOnline Map App Icon on the Desktop. Launch the App from this Icon. If you can’t find an Icon, look in the Applications Folder.

For further assistance please Chat or Email us for support.

Zoom Tools

Sometimes new users need assistance with the map navigation tools. Here’s a quick primer:

  • Double click on the map and you’ll zoom in. Be aware that if a map layer like ZIP codes is turned on your mouse click may select a ZIP code, instead of Zooming in. In this case, uncheck the ZIP code layer.
  • In the upper right, you will find the Zoom Tools.
    • Use the Scroll Bar to Zoom in and out or click the Plus/Minus buttons
    • Click the Magnifying Glass icon on the bottom and then drag a Zoom box on the map. This is my preferred way to Zoom in on the map. Once the zoom operation is done, uncheck the tool
    • Note the forward and back buttons to repeat or undo a fancy move you just made on the map
    • Click the American Flag to Zoom to a Continental USA view
    • Click the World icon to Zoom out to a worldwide view
    • Minimize the Zoom tool control panel the by clicking bottom right blue up arrow

Text Tools in MapBusinessOnline

Address Bar

Also a navigation aid, the Address Bar is the blank white space located in the upper left-hand corner of the application, just above the six left-most buttons on the Master Toolbar. Here you can type in an address, a ZIP code, or a Lat/Lon address to Zoom to a place on the map. This comes in handy.

Address formatting must include commas: 19 Norwood Avenue, Rockport, Ma

Lat/Lon formatting is important too:        32.53026, -86.458

Saving a Map Image with Data or Dialogues Open

Sometimes it is effective to save a map image showing the Data Window or part of a Map Dialogue operation open. The Save Image File button on the Master Toolbar will save an image of the Map only.

I often use the Microsoft Snipping Tool to capture images for maps with full views including exactly the features I want to ad – like the Data Window.  To do this well and keep your map focused, you should close all Toolbar areas, focusing the map viewer on the map itself. Toolbars would include the Master Toolbar, Zoom Scroll Bar,

  • Close Map & Data by clicking the X in the  upper right
  • Close the Master Toolbar by clicking the Tiny up arrow located just to he left of the Address bar
  • Minimize the Navigation Zoom Tool by clicking the Up Arrow in the lower right on the panel

In general, I would hope that this blog serves as a great help tool for all users.  Use the blog search tool in the upper right.  Search on words like: Import, Radius, Route, Territories, and Laxative.  Ok, not Laxative. I’m just testing to see if you’re still reading…

Here are some additional Blogs designed to support new users to MapBusinessOnline:

Some Handy Tips

First Time User Tips

How to Make a Beautiful Map

______________________________

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

Posted in Business Mapping Software blog post, How to instruction | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Political Mapping – T’is the Season but Proceed with Caution

 

What defines America? I think this is a question many of us have been asking ourselves over the last ten days. Who are the folks that make up our nation? It’s a wide range of groups. On a very basic level, a business map, with Census published demographic data can roughly describe the major segments of American society.

Demographic data for the USA is largely defined by the ten-year Census data collection. This once a decade process is happening now across the nation, as I write this blog. That decennial census will be updated and re-estimated every year until 2030 to keep up with increases or declines in populations by area around the nation.

MapBusinessOnline provides access to that Census Bureau demographic data layers and provides a set of tools for you to review that data from a variety of perspectives. When carefully crafted a demographic map can be relevant to political, social, or business conversations or analysis. But one must present your political map in as unbiased a way as possible or your map will lose credibility.

Demographic Data in Political Maps

USA High Income Households by County

My first map, above, shows where the highest-income households are located. I selected the Demographics Layer for Households with incomes of more than $200,000 per household per year. Using the Color Code Map Button, I color shaded the county layer to show counties with 0-1,000 high-income households, and the counties where at least 1,001 or more of those high-income household earners reside.

One could argue there are better ways to segment the household allocations in this map view. MapBusinessOnline lets you control those allocations or ranges. You could add a few more ranges or segment the household quantities at different range points. My only recommendation is to keep it simple and be able to explain why you chose the ranges displayed on your map. MapBusinessOnline does offer a range suggestion which is an algorithmic application that weights the range scheme. I usually prefer a simple numeric range – 100, 250, 500, 1000. That sort of thing.

Please note, on this map, I turned on the State Layer for reference, changed the border to a thin purple color for easy-on-the-eyes definition, and I added a City point layer, also for reference. Keep that demographic or political map simple to view. Use colors that are pleasant to look at. Don’t complicate a map that’s bound to generate questions based on the subject matter.

High Income Earners with Nursing Homes

I’ve added one more layer to this map – a point layer of nursing homes. I color-coded the point layer by county and set up a range to focus on where most of the nursing homes are located. No need for comment. Adding a relevant data layer changes the meaning of the map. The Pandemic, in my humble opinion, has shifted how we view the placement of our elderly in nursing homes. It’s relevant to almost any political map right now.

It’s difficult to say how the various divided political factions might view the above map. A Black Lives Matter group might refer to it as the White Privilege map. While Mitch McConnell might refer to it as his Most Lucrative Political Donor map. It certainly would appear, based on national news, that the political and financial implications of this map show a minority of households controlling a majority of wealth. This is a demographic fact based on location-based demographic data, not on opinion. The map simply answers the question, where does most of the money live?

Further, the map displays how, while our political and economic realities may divide us, we all live in the same general regions. Most of the recent protest cities are the very same cities where the wealthiest American households reside. At least, location-wise, we truly are all in this together.

Apply Calculated Data Columns

Another way to use MapBusinessOnline is to combine or sum demographic data layers using the Calculate Data Columns functionality. MapBusinessOnline Calculated Data Columns easily combine demographic data layers into new and relevant map views. Read about how to use Calculated Data Columns.

Non-white Populations

This racial demographic map uses Calculated Data Columns to total up all the non-white race layers into one NonWhite layer. I left the Calculated Data Column dialogue open to show where the numbers are derived from. If we zoom-in to a county view we can describe the break down in population between whites and other segments. Now we must understand a little bit more about how the Census Bureau breaks down their categories:

"The race and Hispanic origin categories used by the Census Bureau are mandated

by Office of Management and Budget Directive No. 15, which requires all

federal record-keeping and data presentation to use four race categories

(White, Black, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander)

and two ethnicity categories (Hispanic, non-Hispanic). These classifications

are not intended to be scientific in nature, but are designed to promote

consistency in federal record-keeping and data presentation."

It is important to recognize that the Census classification system treats race and ethnicity as separate and independent categories. This means that within the federal system everyone is classified as both a member of one of the four-race groups and also as either Hispanic or non-Hispanic.”

Source: https://www.census.gov/population/estimates/rho.txt

Using a combination of Calculated layers and as published Census layers, I have tried to show a comparison of the White population to Hispanic and NonWhite populations. If you were trying to show voter-power of any segment, it would be a difficult case to make with these totals. There’s a fair amount of overlap, in my view. But one could make the point that the white majority is under pressure. Especially if you zoom the map into everyone’s favorite electoral impact counties: Broward, Miami, and Dade counties on Florida.

Exploring Ethnic Majorities & Minorities

Here you can see that no matter how you slice it, white America is becoming a minority. And it explains some of the political maneuverings from both political parties for Florida. A divisive issue like gun control inserted into an election between a white and a minority candidate can peel off voters from one side to the other.

Finally, I’ll leave you with one more political map that may be of interest to Presidential Election Campaigns for the year 2020. I used Calculated Data Columns to run a formula:

Female to Male Ratio by Congressional District

Female Population/Male Population.

While Census population data does not reflect party affiliation or voter registration the map is telling. I used that ratio result to color code Congressional Districts, a map layer in MapBusinessOnline, pink for majority female and blue for majority male. One might think catering to the female vote would be wise for a political candidate in these pink districts.

I showed this map to my wife. After expressing her opinion, she drove me to the emergency room. I’m fine.

When building a political map, especially within a polarized political climate, make sure you understand your data and build your map carefully.

______________________________

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

 

 

 

 

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9 Reasons Why MapBusinessOnline Sales Territory Mapping is Top Dog

Most MapBusinessOnline users choose MapBusinessOnline because of its superior sales territory alignment capabilities. When you compare the MapBusinessOnline sales territory management capabilities with our competitors, paying careful attention to the feature list and the pricing, the analysis results are clearly in our favor.

Sales Territory Management is not a basic mapping software function. It is advanced in part because it combines map visualizations with business analysis, and further because it incorporates almost every aspect of business mapping software. Sales territory mapping involves:

  • The collection and identification of administrative areas, as assigned areas of account responsibility
  • The import of customer and prospect address databases for display, analysis, and reporting
  • Territory creation through the ability to gather districts via lassoing or importing a territory dataset of ZIP codes, counties, states, or city limits
  • The aggregation of sales results by territory for information sharing and decision making
  • The ability to incorporate market analysis and demographic analysis into territory assignment logic which is also used for general expansion planning, competitor analysis, and market analysis
  • Constructing a map visualization and analysis of your business’s sales structure

MapBusinessOnline is Wicked Easy

And with all the above basic functions for advanced territory mapping, MapBusinessOnline manages to sustain the moniker ‘Easy-to-Use.’ Ease-of-use tends to be overused marketing jargon except when it represents the exact character of the product being sold.

I always describe sales territory adjustments or tweaks, as the best example of MapBusinessOnline ease-of-use. Adding or removing a ZIP code or a group of ZIP codes from a saved territory is a few mouse clicks to completion. Select a ZIP code, hold the shift key, select a few more. Now click the Puzzle Piece Icon and choose the territory targeted for adjustment. Remove the group, add the group, update the territory. You have choices, but it’s all fast and done in an instant. Let me know when you find a tool out there that’s this easy. Read more about editing territories.

Importing territories from a territory spreadsheet is fast and easy as well. Follow prepared dialogue pages and march right through the process. Most users create ZIP code-based territories which entails a spreadsheet as simple as two columns: one for ZIP code and one for Territory Name. Read more about territory creation.

Ease-of-Use comparisons are commonly won by MapBusinessOnline against all competitors but none more so than against Maptitude. It is important to remember that Maptitude is a GIS tool and GIS implies complexity.  This can be a good thing if you’re a scientist, or geospatial analyst, or my father-in-law (may he rest in peace with his organized workshop.) But for most busy businesspeople simple and fast is better. Maptitude is also a desktop software. Cloud services are more convenient, provide easier access, and simplify update headaches. But we understand, it’s a lot of work to migrate a product from desktop to the cloud. Maybe they’ll get there, someday.

During the first part of this decade, we targeted replacing Microsoft MapPoint, as the territory mapping product to beat. We had just surpassed their capabilities in 2014 when Microsoft eliminated the product. Our software continues to evolve.

Additional Differentiating Features

MapBusinessOnline territory alignment capabilities beat the competition in a variety of ways. One of those ways is ease-of-use as outlined above. But there are other differentiators:

  • Demographic Analysis – MapBusinessOnline’s comprehensive library of demographic data layers is readily available for sales territory analysis including at the click of the More Data button. Data Window analysis views are quickly developed and apply to all territories with a common map layer base (ZIP code, County, etc.)
  • Territory Balancing – Gauge territory fairness and workload balance by Data Window totaling. Level your territory allocations by demography, sales history, or another metric.
  • Multiple Alignment Layers per Map – Create a mix of territory alignment configurations on one map. One set by ZIP code, another set by County, two sets by State. You decide!
  • Overlap – It happens for a variety of reasons. What’s important is being aware of territory overlap. Allow overlap in MapBusinessOnline territory intersection settings. Choose a bright color that informs the map viewer, “There’s overlap here.”
  • Access to Business Listings – The ability to search for and download business listings within the territory mapping application is unique to MapBusinessOnline. Purchase just those businesses you require in the areas where you need them most.
  • Support for Regions and Divisions – Some organizations require levels of management. Nationwide regions or zones help define or reflect a sales organization’s structure. (Requires MapBusinessOnline Pro)
  • Price – We believe we are the most affordable advanced territory cloud-based solution available. Not one customer has told us otherwise
  • Technical Support – Support is always available through Chat, Email (Contact button), or by calling (800) 425-9035. Check out our YouTube video library and weekly application blog. Don’t hesitate to request a web demo.

Multiple Alignment Layers Across One Territory Map

We know the reasons you require territory mapping software. We service franchise businesses, local service providers, large insurance conglomerates, pharmaceutical companies, big-box retailers, and industrial manufacturers.

So, whether your company is just organizing customer sales accountability, restructuring after a merger, or simply rebuilding a territory scheme from scratch, MapBusinessOnline is the sales territory mapping solution that provides easy access to tools you require at the most affordable price on the market.

______________________________

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

 

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Maintain Situational Awareness During the COVID Reopening

Some business owners and managers have come to understand the value of business mapping software. Perhaps you are one. You may already subscribe to MapBusinessOnline.com or one of our top five competitors. Or you may be an ex-Microsoft MapPoint user itching to get back in the mapping game since you were set adrift by Microsoft in late 2014. Still, you may be one of the many who have yet to use business mapping software for the betterment of your business.

Regardless of your experience with business mapping, or the lack thereof, affordable map-based business analysis offers an array of tools that can help you jump start your business as the country returns to normal. This return promises to be a gradual lifting, at best, of State-enforced shelter-in-place orders.

Business mapping provides a visual pallet that enables a variety of compiled and overlaid data layers to provide an awareness of your location situation, better known in the geospatial world as Situational Awareness Mapping.

Think of situational awareness as a map visualization that exposes both resources and threats for and to business as usual.

Visualize Your Precious Customers

Now you’ve returned to normal business. Time to reacquaint yourself and your workflow and with your customer base. Import the complete address list of customers into a business map. View those precious customers on a map and think about what your first steps should be for reaching out to those business partners.

Let’s face it. We’re all aching to get back to a normal workday. Your customers are no different. But they’ll have lots to catch up on, so don’t waste their valuable time. Connect with your customers by offering something valuable. No, not a face mask. You know your customers, if there’s a service you can provide or a product you can discount or give away, now is the time.

Develop a marketing campaign based on geography. Hit all those customers within a 20-minute driving time of your retail store or service headquarters. Make it worth their while to come to your store for the first time since the outbreak. Make sure everything is clean, sparse, and safe – including your staff. And for now, that means everyone wears a mask.

Reach Out to Your Patients

By importing an address-based dataset of patients, medical companies can visualize their census, color-coded by diagnosis, age, or other identifiers. Armed with this situational awareness a marketing coordinator can determine the appropriate message to proactively send. Many patients are in a holding pattern for routine, yet serious medical conditions. They’ve been scared or warned away by the COVID-19 crisis.

Reach out based on medical classifications within specified geographic areas. Use MapBusinessOnline to segment your patient list and develop messages for area residents accordingly. Provide a set of resources and ‘back-to-normalcy’ options for those who should be renewing their regular medical visits.

For example, scheduling all patients over the age of 80 with heart conditions makes sense for the first few days. Include an extra half hour for each patient for cleaning and social distancing support. We certainly do not want crowded waiting rooms at this time. This age group will probably be your highest risk segment, so plan for their safety first and foremost and let other segments fall into place based on that experience.

Working from Home

Millions of businesses across the nation have suddenly, and by necessity, been forced to allow employees to work from home. Many of these businesses have found allowing employees to work-from-home has ongoing benefits. Twitter recently announced an indefinite extension of work-from-home rules. At best, the return to working at the office will be a gradual transition.

Communication is critical to all businesses. Efficient communication under shelter-in-place scenarios is just plain difficult. If your business is faced with extended work-from-home schedules a business map can be the perfect solution for tracking who is where and when. Upload address lists of employee home locations. Color-code and symbolize based on work status:

  • Working office
  • Working home
  • Paid Time Off
  • Sick leave

Share these maps with your constituents. Work status maps provide an instant location-based resource update and enable immediate decision making around meeting requirements and staffing needs. Add coverage area maps by ZIP code or county to display service area coverages hour-to-hour.

Let business maps help your company organize their communication requirements and stay organized. Focus on moving the business forward, not finding out where the hell Dave is today. Maps keep you organized.

Track Ongoing Virus Hotspots

The sad reality is COVID-19 could be with us for the next 18 months or more as the world awaits a safe vaccine and the virus runs its course. By tracking and sharing business maps that highlight recent outbreaks, organizations can:

  • Alert employees and partners where recent outbreaks have occurred
  • Provide location-based information about safe vacation spots
  • Minimize risky business trips

We’ll need to stay vigilant for a while to come. Maps help make the communication of risk more effective and efficient. A daily or weekly visualization of COVID hot spots may assist in planning. Which Counties or cities across the USA are growing at the fastest rate?

One area I continue to look closely at is the North Shore of Massachusetts where I have family. I found that certain cities located along the Route 128 corridor show extremely high case quantities of COVID-19. If I was a repair services tech or a traveling business person, I might think twice before visiting those areas. And if I did visit those areas, I’d make damn sure I had all the proper equipment required to remain as protected as possible.

Mass Cases by County Tracking – Situational Awareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business mapping software makes it easy to import datasets related to the spread of COVID-19 and build comprehensive maps that highlight impacts on your business. Data sources we’ve uncovered:

Any or all of these map layers can add value to a situational awareness map. But don’t overcrowd your map. Make sure add layers add value.

For those with interest in viewing an interactive view of the below map, click here.

COVID Situational Awareness for Mass as of 5/20/2020

 

 

Access Low-cost Optimized Routing

Six weeks ago, getting from point A to point B in a vehicle didn’t matter to your business. Routing was just something people did to direct themselves to a new destination. Today, your company is trying to survive, and many companies are reaching out to customers by delivering products and services. Suddenly routing a vehicle from a restaurant with to-go services to a patron’s home may be critical.

MapBusinessOnline offers optimized routing with up to 150 stops per route. Turn-by-turn directions are generated for each route. Best of all, you can send the route file itself via email or generate a shared map URL for your workforce to pull up on a web browser and use at home, at no additional cost.

None of us know how long our new business environment will require special services. MapBusinessOnline provides optimized routing for deliveries without a huge up-front investment. It also provides the tools to conduct general business analysis on your new business model, to assess whether or not new processes might are profitable and/or effective.

Build a Situational Awareness Map

We’ve all been at this for a few months now. Life gets complicated when you’re evading a virus. That’s not going to stop until the virus decides it’s time, or we all get vaccinated. A situational awareness map can help our constituents and associates develop plans for dealing with an emergency outbreak.

Situational Awareness maps should include the most important nearby resources for your state or area that improve safety, help operational efficiencies, and inform the map viewer. These map visualizations will include:

  • Medical centers, hospitals, and clinics
  • Grocery stores, with map labels noting hours and senior citizen access status
  • Pharmacies and current access policies
  • Police and sheriff department locations
  • Emergency shelters
  • A location dataset of your go-to friends in the event of an emergency
  • Pick-up locations for critical PPE
  • COVID testing locations as they are posted

Required pandemic resources for the reopening will vary by company, area, or by industry.

We are all in this together, and we’ll get out of it together. Can you imagine if eight weeks ago, if you approached a person works at your local grocery store and suggested they wear a mask while they work or shop? Our world is changing rapidly. Being more aware of your local situation only makes sense.

Team Collaboration Using Business Mapping

One way to achieve advanced business mapping is to implement team map collaboration within your organization. MapBusinessOnline team subscriptions encourage cross-departmental contributions to a core situational awareness map.

Teams of multiple users accessing MapBusinessOnline can create and share maps for editing. Shared maps are accessed from your Maps Shared with Me folder in your Map Library. Map collaboration is great for problem-solving, loading data for collaborative views, and to make sure maps are kept up-to-date while some users are out of the office.

Any two MapBusinessOnline subscribers can share maps directly for collaboration. Team subscriptions add an administrative component that allows an administrator control over shared subscriptions and team set-up.  Discounts are also offered for purchases of five users or more.

Being fully aware of our current situation may be more important now than at any other time in our lives.  We need to do all we can to remain vigilant, no matter how tired of virus mitigation we may be. Situational awareness maps could help your team return to business successfully and safely.

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