3 Popular Applications of MapBusinessOnline’s Calulated Data Columns

MapBusinessOnline provides the business map user with the ability to create formulas and ratios using the Calculated Data Columns tool, applied by map layer. Calculated Data Columns is accessed by selecting a targeted map layer in Map and Data.

For example, hover your cursor over the ZIP code layer in Map and Data and click the Edit Gear that pops up. In the General panel that opens, choose Manage Calculated Data Columns.

Calculated Data Columns provides access to the complete library of  Demographic Data included with every MapBusinessOnline subscription – Standard or Pro. It also provides access to imported data layers. This means a user could sum, subtract, multiply or divide using numeric data columns in demographic data layers or their imported data. Pretty cool.

When the user opens Calculated Data Columns, she starts with a simple dialogue panel that is the Calculated Data Columns home-base. Choose the option to Add a Data Column. Up pops a dialogue page that may take a minute to sink in. The top section allows the user to name the Calculated Data Column created. Also available in the top section is the ability to set the Number formatting and adjust the number of places and decimal allowances required. This is all a matter of set-up.

Below all that, the left panel provides access to both demographic and imported data layers through a dropdown. A map creator can select numeric data from the left selection panel and move it to the right panel, either as the numerator (top section) or the denominator (bottom section.) That is assuming you want to divide or create a ratio.

Wait! Are we back in fourth grade? Sorry, but how often do I get to use the terms numerator and denominator in a blog? My teacher from 1968, Miss Story, would approve.

Sum Demographic Data by Age Group for Retail Marketing

Most of the time, when I create a Calculated Data Column, it’s just a summation of related demographic data layers, like all population layers ages 65 and up. The resultant Calculated Data Column will be available in the Color Code Map operation associated with that specific Map Layer (ZIP Code – for example). The user clicks Color Code Map (Three Puzzle Piece icon), selects the proper map layer, and then, from the data selection dropdown, chooses Calculated Data Columns. The example used, the summation of the elderly population, is a popular map visualization for the homecare and assisted living industry. Read more about Color-coding a map layer.

Created and save Calculated Data Column results are available for use in map visualizations and analysis in the follow MapBusinessOnline functions:

  • Color-Code Map
  • Territory Mapping Analysis  (More Data)
  • Map Layer Labeling
  • Data Window Filtering

Retailers might want to arrange a similar, age-based calculated data column for target audiences – teens through 20-somethings, or perhaps 30-something to 50-something women for specific products and services.  Use Calculated Data Columns to sum demographics by age.

Calculate Demographic Data by Percentage for Political Analysis

Still, sometimes you might want to display a ratio of data. In which case you’d place your numerator data in the top and the denominator data in the bottom panel on the right and select Divide, in the middle. An example application might be to determine if the population of women ages 30 to 54 has increased or decreased since 2016 for all ZIP codes.

Calculated Data Columns Dialogue

Notice you can also choose to divide one demographic data layer by the sum of two demographic data layers to derive a percentage. Make sure to choose Percentage as the number style option in the dropdown. These tools might prove valuable for political data analysts. Especially when comparing one election cycle to another and looking at demographic changes.

Calculated Data Columns for Business Intelligence Gathering

Another example that could come in handy for marketing and sales analysis, is the percentage of high-income populations by city limits or groups of cities. Often, boroughs, enclaves, or suburbs need to be grouped geographically to access public service requirements, potential markets for products and services, or government grant viability.

Calculated Data Columns used in conjunction with area groupings, or territory creation, can offer significant insight into the requirements of specific areas. I’m thinking about areas surrounding affluent cities like Palo Alto, California; Chevy Chase, Maryland; or Dallas, Texas. Such analysis is helpful for business expansion planning or relocation analysis, based on high disposable income areas.

Calculated Data Column formulas are available to MapBusinessOnline users from the same data dropdowns that offer access to demographic data. See my last blog on Demographic Data access.

One of the most powerful aspects of Calculated Data Columns and Demographic Data within MapBusinessOnline is the ability to aggregate totals into map layer labels. This means a ZIP code or a Territory label can reflect calculated data using up to five flexible label fields. Map creators can display instant business intelligence for the casual map viewer.

To “sum” up, MapBusinessOnine users can then apply Calculated Data Columns to the following applications:

  • Combining demographic layers by age for medical, insurance, and tax purposes, as well as political analysis
  • Combining demographic layers by income for market analysis, banking and tax purposes
  • Developing ratios and percent calculations for map visualizations and labeling supporting political maps, market analysis, and real estate management

Pretty much any business mapping application, where you want to display a subset of a larger demographic data category, an ethnic component to overall populations, or an age segment of a gender population, will benefit from the use of Calculated Data Columns.

  • Insurance companies
  • Real estate agencies
  • Sales and marketing organizations
  • Restaurant chains
  • Retail companies

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Impeach 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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Some Differences Between MapBusinessOnline Standard and Pro

Let’s compare MapBusinessOnline Standard’s Market Analysis button features to MapBusinessOnline Pro’s Market Analysis features.

Both versions of MapBusinessOnline allow for the import of location datasets, typically Excel spreadsheets, but the import could be a text file or even a database file. Read more about preparing Data for import into Map Business Online business mapping software.

Market Analysis in business mapping can mean many things. In MapBusinessOnline it means being able to generate complex map visualization with additional capabilities for analysis.

  • Conduct spatial searches around up to 200 center points
  • Import multiple layers of Demographic Data and imported data layer columns
  • Generate reports for export that reflect a market’s characteristics and provide base-line marketing profiles supporting business expansion

MapBusinessOnline Standard Market Analysis offers these capabilities

  • Draw a radius search around multiple center points at one time and query the area for imported data. There is a limit of 200 if you want the circle to be displayed on the map. Query results are exportable
  • Find the Nearest locations when comparing two datasets, by a straight-line, as the crow flies, distance

MapBusinessOnline Pro Advanced Driving Distance and Time Queries

Before we go too far, keep in mind MapBusinessOnline Pro includes all the functions of Standard. If you upgrade to Pro, your costs will be prorated to accommodate your existing investment, and your Standard subscription’s remaining time credits.

MapBusinessOnline Standard market analysis tools use straight-line distances when conducting location-based queries. That’s the big difference between Standard and Pro. MapBusinessOnline Pro provides multiple center point queries with the option of choosing straight-line distance, driving time, driving distance, or some combination of all three when calculating distances and times between points.

These driving distance and time calculations across multiple points provide businesses with specific information, quickly:

  • Location intelligence – data collection based on drive time and radius searches of demographic data around a series of plotted points
  • Logistics planning information across a road network supporting field staff management and delivery systems
  • Coverage Area Cost Assessments for businesses who require employee travel
  • Competitive Market Analysis calculations of market viability and likely customer driving time windows
  • Retail Expansion viability, also related to customer drive time toleration
  • Emergency Healthcare Planning based on demographics surrounding multiple medical centers
  • Product Placement at wholesale and retail locations

Import 250,000 Locations Points – Regions & Divisions

MapBusinessOnline Pro supports the import of up to 250,000 location points per map. That’s a lot of location data. You’ll be surprised to discover the cost of geocoding more than 10,000 records on a map at once. We do our best to offer a more competitive solution for mass geocoding within a cloud-based business mapping application. This means constantly reviewing the web-services market to assess the best geocoding for the money.

MapBusinessOnline Pro also provides hierarchical sales territory support for regions and division or whatever your company calls them – groups, zones, or just plain areas. Taken as a whole, we believe MapBusinessOnline Standard and Pro offer the best available sales territory management solutions on the market.

Here’s a list of some of the mapping functions available within MapBusinessOnline Standard and Pro (Keeping in mind Pro included all standard features):

  • Radius Search – Standard
  • Multiple Radius Search – Standard
  • Drive Time Search – Standard
  • Multiple Center Drive Time Search – Pro
  • Drive Distance Search – Standard
  • Multiple Center Driving Distance Search – Pro
  • Create and Manage Territories – Standard
  • Create Multiple Drive Time or Distance Territories at Once – Pro
  • Create Regions & Divisions – Pro
  • Summarize up to Ten Layers of Demographic Data by Area – Standard
  • Summarize Multiple Demographic Layers by Territory for Reporting – Pro
  • Enrich Imported Data with Demographic and Geographic Layers – Pro

Overall applications of MapBusinessOnline Standard and Pro have some differences:

  • Basic Market Analysis Visualizations – Standard
  • Sales Planning and Optimized Routing – Standard
  • Advanced Map-based Market Analysis – Pro
  • Market Area Profiles by Drive Time or Distance – Pro
  • Concentric Circle Demographic Analysis by Drive Time or Distance – Pro

If your business is concerned about multiple locations and driving time-related analysis, or if you have an inordinate amount of location data to import, you should consider MapBusinessOnline Pro.

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Impeach 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 Ways to Access Demographic Data in Map Business Online Std and Pro

Demographic data is accessed by business map users to build location intelligence supporting business decision making. Sometimes the data is used to simply display population densities by area. In another case, that demographic data becomes the baseline data for establishing an addressable market for a product or service. Simple or complex, demographic data is important to business and market analysis.

Map Business Online provides access to Census Bureau demographic data layers. The data is sourced from the Census American Community Survey (ACS), which publishes updates to the ten-year Census. I’m sure the Bureau is preparing to gather a boatload of Census data as I write this, it being 2020 and all.

Map Business Online now comes in two flavors, Standard and Pro. Both versions of Map Business Online have access to the same demographic data. Any prospective buyer of Map Business Online can access those data layers using the Free Trial. You’ll be able to scroll through the data options. However, you will not be allowed to export any of the demographic data unless you purchase a subscription.

Demographic Data in Map Business Online Standard

The Standard subscription of Map Business Online offers access to demographic data in the usual Map Business Online ways. Those include these seven options:

  • Color-shading map layers by Demographic categories. Click the Color Code Map button (Three Puzzle Piece button). Color any map layer by any demographic category. Application Example – color code ZIP codes by population density
  • Conduct Summary queries on map objects like Radius searches and Polygons. Application example – export a quick spreadsheet of an area’s median incomes
  • Append map layer Labels with aggregated demographic data. Application Example – aggregate all Hispanics within a territory label
  • Sales Territory Analysis in the Data Window using the More Data button. Application Example – get a rough idea of how all sales territories compare in terms of total population. Are they balanced?
  • Filter Demographic data layers in the Data Window. Application Example – filter city boundaries by highest proportion of median income
  • Export Data Window reports. Application Example – build a population growth map for a strategy session
  • Create simple calculations and sums of Demographic data layers in Calculated Data Columns. Application Example – display all ZIP codes by males ages 65 and up

Map Business Online Standard leverages all the above-listed access points to our growing Demographic Data library. You will find all major categories of demographic data listed. If you do not see the demographic data you seek, please let us know and we will consider adding it to our list of possible future enhancements.

Map Business Online Standard demographic data is most often used for these applications:

Access Demographic Data

Demographic Data in Map Business Online Pro

Map Business Online Pro accesses the same demographic data libraries as Standard. All the Map Business Online Standard features exist in Pro. From a product feature standpoint, the difference between Map Business Online Standard and Pro is:

  1. Pro allows up to 250,000 location points per map, and Standard is limited to 100,000 points per map
  2. Pro enables access to demographic data through two Advanced Market Analysis tools
  3. Pro enables hierarchical territory support

Advanced Map-based Market Analysis

Let’s review the access points to demographic data in Map Business Online Pro’s Market Analysis tools. The first five tools listed under Market Analysis are NOT designed to access demographic data directly.

  • Search & Segment from Multiple Centers – Use this function to create advanced marketing lists or territories. There is no direct tap to demographic data, except through the territories or areas of interest created. From within a territory click Map Data.
  • Two options for Batch Calculate Distance Queries – Two tools used for calculating distance queries across multiple locations and between two sets of data. Not used for demographic data access
  • Find the Nearest – This proximity search compares datasets and appends the nearest locations. Not used for demographic data access
  • Aggregate Customer Data – Use this tool to manage the application of imported customer data to geographic analysis. Not used for demographic data access

These final two tools listed in the Market Analysis Tools options are used to aggregate demographic data in Pro:

  • Summarize Demographic Data – This tool will allow the creation of multiple radius searches and add three categories of demographic data to the analysis. Repeat to get more and more data
  • Enrich a Dataset – Select your imported or created data in Map Business Online Pro and add selected categories of Demographic Data to the data layer

Two Demographic Access Points in Pro Market Analysis

Summarize Demographic Data in Market Analysis will allow the user to place multiple radii (more than one circle) around a list of center points at a user-defined distance and collect up to three layers of demographic data which will be added to the Data Window results. The multiple circles limit right now is 200 locations contained in an imported dataset or Map Business Online created marketing list.

You’ll collect three layers of demographic data with each pass. Once the initial query has been run, it is really easy to simply run that very same query again but change the demographic layer options to aggregate more layers. Rinse and repeat (do it again, until satisfied.)

This is an approach that can be used to generate results across an array of circles at different center points, or for a set of concentric circles around one central point. How cool is that?

Application Examples – Delivery circles describing fees for delivery by ZIP code. Multiple circle radii display demographic totals for a designated area around a central point – like a private school or a museum

Enriching a Dataset lets the Pro user import a dataset or create a dataset in Map Business Online and then add three demographic data categories to the original dataset by ZIP code, County or State. For more data, repeat the operation. Application Example – Product sales analysis enriched to expose market patterns.

Tapping into demographic data through a business mapping application is the process for collecting business or location intelligence; these two types of intelligence are practically synonymous.  Use Map Business Online to overwhelm your business processes with data, then feed the decision-makers with exactly the data they need through a Business Map.

Are you using the Map Business Online Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Impeach 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 Map Business Online.

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

 

 

 

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Three Business Maps for Improving Your Business

A business map solves business problems. That’s why you take the time to learn a program like Map Business Online or justify a $500 ($350 renewal) investment in business mapping software. Every day we field chat, email, and phone inquiries from new users who need to solve business problems with a business map.

The ZIP Code Map

Often those business problems involve ZIP codes. Map Business Online customers quite regularly ask about creating a ZIP code map. ZIP code maps run the gamut from simple to complex maps. Our business mapping software can create a basic map of ZIP codes color-coded to reflect sales history, or it can generate a complex nationwide sales territory map based on the ZIP code map layer.

A simple question like, “Will your application provide a map of the USA with all ZIP codes?” is more complex than one might think. Users who may be new to mapping don’t realize there are two distinct types of ZIP codes – boundary and point ZIP codes. That fact can make their new map venture a little more complicated then the average user might want to grapple with as they begin using a business mapping tool, but it is the reality of ZIP codes. Our job is to help users get the maps they need, not sugar coat the world of USPS ZIP codes.

Map realities exist. Just as in any other discipline, you must learn the nuances of the subject. It’s the same for weightlifting, yoga, landing a man on the moon, or writing blogs. A Chat statement like, “I will not spend time learning your program,” doesn’t change the fact that any program must be learned. It is so easy to flame out on Chat. We all do it from time-to-time.

Another tough fact for people to grasp about business mapping is that full addresses are much more useful for analysis than ZIP codes. A ZIP code only address, imported into a business map as a record of a customer transaction, is just a point in the middle of that ZIP code. If you have two customer transactions tracked by ZIP code only, without a full address, you will have only one point on the map representing two transactions that in reality are located at two addresses. We highly recommend the use of full addresses when importing customer data – Map Business Online’s most common customer operation.

Point ZIP Codes over Boundary ZIP Codes

The Territory Map

A common use of business mapping software is creating sales territories. Most often, territories are created in one of two ways; either by accessing a polygon search tool and lassoing a group of ZIP codes and naming them or by importing a spreadsheet listing ZIP codes and their corresponding territory name. Map Business Online provides easy steps to achieve both approaches to sales territory mapping.

Still, the process requires some consideration and decision making. There are preparatory questions to answer:

  • What map layer or administrative district will my territories be based on? ZIP code, county, city, or other?
  • Will I allow our sales territories to overlap?
  • What demographic or business data columns will I import into my territory analysis for balancing and business analysis?

Territory maps in business mapping include a data table view. To some, this is intimidating at first until they realize its power. Viewing business data, like sales history or Demographic data, in a territory data table view is the core power of business mapping software. Such views transform your basic understanding of where your company does business into an expanded view of why your company does business and how you might improve that business.  Business intelligence should include location intelligence in order to drive business expansion. 

Radius Maps from Plotted Points

Other common requests include the creation of a radius map which is really a circle on a map within which the map user may want to query their imported data or business listings. Radius searches in Map Business Online are available at the click of a button along the master toolbar or in the mini menu associated with any plotted point.

Plotted point menus show up next to any point plotted in the tool. There are six mini menu buttons that provide map operations associated with an imported or plotted point on the map:

  • Apply a radius search with user input for the plotted circle radius
  • Apply a driving time or distance search which will place a polygon on the map showing the area a vehicle could cover in all directions over a specified time or distance along the road network
  • A dataset management tool to organize your plotted points
  • An editing tool to edit your point’s look and feel
  • A batch calculate button related to Map Business Online Pro advanced drive time features
  • And a delete button to end it all

Obviously plotted points are important in Map Business Online, but they usually are plotted to create a circle or drive time polygon. Users are almost interested in the area around a point, not just the point itself. Although, they may not realize that fact when they initially plot the points.

Any of these basic functions, available in a business mapping tool, provides map visualizations that range from simple map views to complex market analysis. Map Business Online Standard is the more affordable solution for general business map users. Map Business Online Pro is a more advanced tool, delving into complex market analysis tools and driving time and distance queries.  If your business is in expansion mode, or interested in identifying an addressable market – consider Map Business Online Pro.

So, whether your requirement is simple or complex, just a ZIP code map or building a market profile by ZIP code, remember help is a click or an email away. The world of Mapping is fascinating and rich in history.

Your last name does not have to be Magellan or Columbus to use a map. In fact, their maps were way worse than yours and I don’t see you headed off to sea in a galleon or a pinace.

Are you using the Map Business Online Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Impeach 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 Map Business Online.

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

 

 

 

 

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How Do I Calculate ZIP Code-to-ZIP Code Driving Distances?

I’ve worked in the geospatial field for over twenty years now. This milestone seriously blows my mind, both because it reminds me how fast time flies and because it’s been a winding road. My initial time in geospatial sales was with DeLorme Publishing (now Garmin) where I headed up their professional sales division selling business mapping software, map data, and GPS devices.

At both DeLorme and Map Business Online, our sales teams occasionally fielded customer requests for a ZIP code-to-ZIP Code driving distance or time analysis. A “ZIP-to-ZIP” analysis compares one list of ZIP codes to another list of ZIP codes or just one ZIP code, as a way to develop an array of all the driving distances between all ZIP codes in both datasets.  If you displayed the analysis on a map it would be an incredibly dense set of routes crisscrossing each other, but the result is usually a list of ZIP codes with distances or times noted.

ZIP-to-ZIP calculations are helpful for specific use cases in geographic business analysis.

  • Companies that need to estimate future driving and travel costs find these estimates useful for cost projections, fuel consumption projections, and expense related estimates
  • Delivery companies use ZIP-to-ZIP calculations to develop delivery fees and delivery time estimates across their coverage areas
  • Market analysis applications also exist that require distance and time estimates along a road network as they consider how many people are willing to make the trip to a product launch or an advertised sale at a retail store

Batch Calculate Distances

At Map Business Online we refer to ZIP-to-ZIP calculations as Batch Calculation of Distances or Times Across Multiple Centers. The ability to process this complex query is a feature in Map Business Online Pro. When a Map Business Online user imports a ZIP code or a set of ZIP codes into Map Business Online with no associated addresses, the application plots the ZIP points at the centroid or center point of the imported ZIP code(s).

ZIP Code Centroid Points

The beauty of Map Business Online Pro is that it enables multiple center point analysis across an entire dataset of imported ZIPs (within reasonable limits.) The tool also includes several batch-calculate distance and time operations in its Market Analysis tools.

  • Straight Line Distance
  • Driving Time Distance
  • Driving Time
  • Combinations of the Above

It’s important to keep the unique location of the Batch Calculate button in mind as you process a ZIP-to-ZIP analysis. That special spot is on the Mini Toolbar associated with a plotted center point in your analysis. See the picture below and read on.

Batch Calculate from a Plotted Point

Map Business Online solved the ZIP-to-ZIP problem by inserting an advanced feature in the recently released Map Business Online Pro. It is deceptively simple once your aware of how to do it. If your current subscription is the Standard Plan, you will need to upgrade to Pro to get access to Batch Calculate Distance features.

The Problem and the Solution

A customer desired to analyze all distances from one central plotted ZIP code point to the outlying list of ZIP codes within a 150-mile radius of the center ZIP.

Here are the steps to achieve this ZIP code-to-ZIP code analysis:

  1. Using Map Business Online Pro, in the Address Bar at the upper left of your MBO screen plot the center ZIP code for your analysis.
  2. At the plotted center point a mini toolbar now appears. Click the Radius Button on the mini toolbar and Query the circle for all the enclosed ZIP codes
  3. Export the ZIP codes out of MBO (Far right button on the Data Window Toolbar) and save it to your desktop. The file is exported as a CSV file.
  4. Click the plotted point toolbar again. Select the Target Icon Button for Market Analysis and Batch Distance Calculation
    1. In the Drop Down choose Drive Distance (note the options listed – Straight Distance, Drive Time, Drive Distance, Combos)
    2. Plot the Exported and Saved ZIP code file
    3. Input a Column Label descriptor like “ZIP” or more descriptive depending on your analysis
    4. Process the query
  5. Results will be posted to the Data Window for Export

Map Business Online Pro provides advanced map-based business analysis for  land-based organizations, delivery-focused, sales territory oriented, and travel intensive. Demographic data layers are available for the development of comprehensive market analysis solutions driving sales growth.

Map Business Online Pro provides an advanced set of map-based market analysis tools that will help you and your business access the power of location and drive time analysis.

Are you using the Map Business Online Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Impeach 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 Map Business Online.

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

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Accessing Map-based Business Intelligence

Map-based business intelligence is information a business manager might derive from a business map. One might also describe this information as location-intelligence. Digital maps have been applied to business operations since Geographic Information Systems came of age in the 1960s and ’70s.  Today, digital maps are both easily accessible and affordable through cloud-based mapping software.

At first, the focus was primarily on government maps, but very quickly map-based business intelligence was picked up by the insurance industry, oil & gas companies, mining companies, and other land-based industries. All these industries are heavily tied to places on the Earth.

Early location-based digital maps were simple address-records or latitude/longitude points draped over an accurate map. During the 1970s and ’80s, USA address databases became more available and were utilized to add an address layer on top of a basic digital map of cities, states, counties and ZIP codes.

Later still, and coming along with the advent of the Internet, digitized vehicle routing became possible. MapQuest and other services started popping up online for both consumers and businesses to use to route from point A to point B and more. Google Maps were applied to basic business mapping needs.

With all those web-based services overlaid on a web map, business mapping tools were able to leverage software advances towards the aggregation, display, and analysis of location data. Lots and lots of location data; because there are just lots and lots of data layers out there.

Thank about it, business maps have access to so many data layers:

  • On top of every location on Earth is an overlaid the road network – major and minor roads
  • On top of that layer is an address layer – a constantly changing layer connected to where every homeowner and renter lives
  • Add to that layer Census demographic information for all nations, describing people, ages, incomes, expenditures, employment data, and more
  • Additional layers include property layers, oil & gas exploration finds, land-use/land-cover, flood maps, bird migration patterns, even a map layer describing wifi access points

Compiling all this data into a valuable and eminently usable business application was quite daunting at first but has become rather commonplace with the advent of cloud-based services across the Internet. Today business mapping software companies proliferate, and the question is, which mapping application best matches specific industry requirements.

Additionally, there are other types of, less land-based, business applications that are significantly enhanced through the use of map-based business intelligence. Examples include Customer Relationship Management tools (CRMs), medical systems software, enterprise resource planning, and the list goes on. La-di da-di da. (Lame-o Sonny and Cher reference.)

What are Examples of Map-based Business Intelligence?

State-of-the-art, location-based business intelligence includes a variety of data categories all intended to expand the business user’s understanding of the world surrounding their business operations.  To improve situational awareness (to apply a little geo-business speak.)  Situational awareness could take into account:

  • Demographic trends and categories across ZIP code and county areas for market analysis
  • Prospective customer databases for sales and marketing campaigns
  • Medical businesses in proximity to HMO’s or insurance pools
  • All automotive car models and parts requirements by area, and for any model year
  • Gun owner registrations by address with mental health status and criminal records
  • Utility networks covering electrical, fiber optic, gas lines, and other power-related networks
  • Aerial imagery collections and street view databases
  • Registry of motor vehicle data
  • Business listings for all business across all industries across the United States

A business map user can leverage most data, as long as it includes a location component – someway to connect a data record with a place on the Earth. ZIP codes are a common reference point, but addresses are better – more accurate. Still, it depends on the data. IRS records are likely associated with an address, USDA aerial imagery with counties or states.

The careful combination of location-based data layers, business data, against an accurate base map is the recipe for map-based business intelligence.

So be on the look-out for relevant location data in your industry. Ask for it. Use it. Turn business data into compelling map visualizations. And share them.  Because data and map-based business intelligence are for sharing.

What Skills are Needed for Map-based Business Intelligence?

Business mapping software requires very basic computer skills. A user planning on generating map-based market analysis should be able to manipulate a web browser, import and Excel spreadsheet, and be comfortable with common online software processes like editing words, deleting objects, and searching for information online.

Map Business Online Pro provides an advanced set of map-based market analysis tools that will help you and your business access the power of location and drive time analysis.

Are you using the Map Business Online Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Impeach 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 Map Business Online.

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

America’s best geo mapping software.

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How Do I Create and Optimize a Business Map Visualization?

We often describe the most popular use of Map Business Online as a Map Visualization. People might wonder, “What is a map visualization?” What do we mean by business map visualizations and how does one decide what settings to apply for the best visualization possible?

A map visualization will incorporate your business data, imported as an address-based or latitude/longitude coordinate spreadsheet, and display that data against a map background of the USA or Canada (or some other area of the world) in a manner that highlights your critical business issue(s). Keeping in mind that critical business issues change from week-to-week.  Boy, do they!

Import Your Address-Based Data

Every business has address data. Usually, it’s a list of customers but it could be competitors, vendors, hospitals, insurance providers, churches, or even zoos. It’s your data, not ours. You decide what is important.

This location-based data may include sales values, staffed beds, retail sales, risk assessments – whatever. All that extra data comes along for the ride, but it will be critical to your map visualization in the long run.

Use the Plot Data button four buttons in from the left on the Master Toolbar to import your business data, typically you will be plotting an Excel spreadsheet. Map Business Online plots points on the map at your data’s physical location and  against a USA based street map. Already you have a map visualization, albeit a simple on. (And I get ten extra points for using the word – albeit.)

Basic Map Elements

In Map Business Online there are several key map elements available to create a more compelling map visualization. Later, you can get into more advanced tools, many of which I’ve written about on this blog. The key elements are:

  • Appling symbols to your data
  • Color coding symbols based on a column of your data
  • Choosing the appropriate map background
  • Color shading the map layers (ZIP code, County, State, etc.) based on your data
  • Adjusting the data and map layer labels to suit your map look and feel
  • Adding a map title, map legend, or text boxes

While adjusting these tools, always keep in mind the purpose of your map visualization and the map audience that visualization will play to. Keep the map simple, meaning – avoid complexity. Complexity distracts from your map’s purpose.

Map Symbols

As mentioned above, your business data as imported us automatically gets assigned symbols. You can choose to adjust the symbols applied from the library of symbols or change the color and size of the symbols. The application will offer a dialogue for immediate adjustment, or in Map and Data, hover over the imported later, click the Edit Gear and get to work. You’ll also find symbol selection options in the Data Window. Read more about Map and Data.

These same controls will assist you in symbol adjustments for color and size. It’s a lot of fun to design your map look and feel this way. But please make your selections based on a professional look and feel. Avoid large symbols with bright colors. You’re building a business map, not a circus advertisement. Read more about color-coding points here.

Using Drive Time Visualizations to Analyze Shipping

Map Layers

Map Business Online includes a variety of map layers for you to apply to your business map. ZIP codes, counties, states, Census tracts, and more are there to add the appropriate level of administrative reference to your map. Think about your business and choose a map layer or two based on the business application reference requirement. ZIP codes are great for sales maps, counties might make more sense for health care coverage areas. Consider the areas your people generally talk about and then choose a map layer.

The state layer is a nice reference layer to include. It helps the map viewer know where they are on the map. Darken map layer boundaries, lighten up and make transparent map layer fills. Use Map and Data to make these adjustments.

While you’re in map layers is a great time to adjust map layer labels to include aggregates subtotaled sales or other numeric data by ZIP code or county. You’ve got five flexible fields to append data to, just pulling it from your columns or demographic data included in Map Business Online. Read more about labels.

Also regarding map layers, you may find it helpful to color the ZIP code or county layers by a column of your data or by a demographic category. Ask yourself, will color-coding ZIP codes add value to my map purpose? If you think it will, then, by all means, color code the layer. Read more about color-coding map layers here.

Background Maps

By now your map visualization is starting to look fantastic. But it might help to try a few of the various map background options. The map backgrounds are easy to access and apply. Simply go to Map and Data and scroll down to the lowest option. Try the various layers. Streets may be the best option but sometimes Satellite options and National Geographic data are nice too.

Also, keep in mind no background layer is also an option. Further, a demographic color shading applied to the ZIP or County layer might be the best map background for your map purpose. Thank it over. Ask a friend. Run it by the President on Twitter. (Well, maybe not that last one.)

Common Related Questions

  • What is a map visualization? – We’ve addressed this in the first section. But to take the question a step further, maps are a scaled-down representation of physical reality. Digital maps, like Map Business Online or Google Maps, provide an accurate model of the Earth over which a business user can drape their business data. That business data, draped over a map view, constitutes a map visualization. Map visualization could be based on routing, simple data imports, or full-fledged sales territory maps.
  • How do I plot data on a map from an Excel spreadsheet? Plotting data from Excel is a common user process for Map Business Online customers. Make sure your spreadsheet has headers on the columns. Arrange your location-based data components into separate columns. Below is an example. Read more details here.
Name Address City State ZIP Code Industry Customer Type
Tool Co. 100 Granite Rd. Rockport ME 01966 Steel Mfg

All the above Map Business Online tools and more can help you develop a map-based visualization of your business or your business situation. Maps connect business trends and patterns to a place on the Earth, which can, in turn, lead to more effective ways of conducting your business. In short, map visualizations lead to a more successful business. Without an albeit.

Are you using the Map Business Online Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Impeach 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 Map Business Online.

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

America’s best geo mapping software.

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The Map Business Online Year In Review

As 2019 draws to a close and the Holiday season once more drains my checking account, clutters my living space, and tests my gift wrapping abilities, it’s time to reflect on the changes and improvements in Map Business Online over the past few years.

Map Business Online was one of the first cloud services dedicated to Business Mapping. Launched in 2010, the tool focused on matching and bettering Microsoft MapPoint, the dominant business mapping software at the time.

By 2019, MapPoint is a thing of the past, but many ex-MapPoint users have yet to replace the tool. Map Business Online continues to grow and proliferate, adding features and improving processes with every version release and data update.

A Variety of Industry Uses

Our customer base continues to expand.  We’ve on-boarded a host of insurance, franchise, retail, healthcare, and services business in 2019. Our list of manufacturing companies using Map Business Online for territory management continues to grow. We’re also excited to see our major use case examples add market analysis to map visualization, territory alignment, and sales planning, as major applications for our cloud-based mapping service.

Recent Feature Expansion 

Some of the more innovative features and services added to our professional mapping software over the last 18 months include:

  • Advanced sales territory mapping tools. Sales territory mapping is how your business can conceptualize your business processes, clarify accountability, and organize planning efforts. Map Business Online territory management addresses sales overlap; the aggregation of sales dollars by territory and account; and provides comprehensive analysis views for demographic and internal data analysis
  • The ability to quickly, and affordably import up to 250,000 records per map. This capability, available in Map Business Online Pro, expands the total map and subscription import allowance by 250%. Standard subscriptions allow up to 100,000 records to be plotted. This is for companies with a large customer base or some significant analysis to generate
  • Expanded drive time analysis capabilities (Map Business Online Pro). By providing the ability to conduct spatial queries across multiple locations points by driving time and distance. Map Business Online Pro opens a whole new chapter in Market Analysis
  • Business Listings were added to Map Business Online in 2019. Sure, it’s a paid service, but when you need all the competitive businesses in an area, visible on a map, right now, it comes in very handy
  • We developed a downloadable Map App to avoid all those Adobe Flash Player issues as Adobe obsoletes it’s once ubiquitous Internet application platform. I use this all the time now
  • Demographic data has been included in Map Business Online since 2014. This year saw our library of demographic data options grow more than ever. We’re working on tools to make it easier to search and apply that ever-expanding library
  • Optimized vehicle routing capabilities that can convert imported location data into 150 stop, efficient routes for delivery or field staff management. Share route files in a variety of formats. Save and share map projects for constituent visualizations and independent route generation. Routing now supports time windows
  • Map Business Online Team subscriptions leverage your best minds towards collaborative map-based solutions to complex problems. Collaborative map editing tools enable two or more users to share maps for co-editing purposes
  • Thousands of MapPoint users have replaced the old business mapping standard with Map Business Online. Map Business Online does more than just replace MapPoint, it expands on MapPoint. We’ve got an MPT conversion tool and a set of APIs. But most ex-MapPointers just want map visualizations, ZIP code maps, territory maps, or routing tools. Stop sitting around moping about obsolete ZIP codes and bad street addresses
  • Regular updates to software and data occur monthly, behind the scenes – usually when users are sleeping or inebriated (;-)). Updates might install new software features, update ZIP codes, or map data. Cloud services are cool that way
  • Niche features have been added to both Standard and Pro subscriptions:
    • Radius Search option to search for up to 100 of the nearest straight-line records (Std & Pro)
    • Invert/Compliment – Search inside and outside of a radius or polygon (Std & Pro)
    • Enhanced symbology selections tools for color-coding points (Std & Pro)
    • Copy and paste options for Data Window rows (Std & Pro)
    • Summarize demographic data selection in map objects and the data window (Std & Pro)
    • Filler ZIP Codes that eliminate national park holes in territories shading (Std & Pro)
    • Ability to rename import layer files and territory layers (Std and Pro)
    • Customize dataset options to add columns or change column formats (Std & Pro)
    • Create multiple territories from one drive time query (Pro only)
    • Create Concentric circle maps with demographic data pulls (Pro only)
    • Support for territory Regions and Divisions (Pro only)

I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch of niche features that many of you use and enjoy. And I certainly haven’t listed all the standard features in both products here – there’s just too many. But what I can say is, you can look forward to further advancement in 2020 and beyond.

My Personal Favorite Use of Map Business Online in 2019

Bob-O-Link Nesting Areas Around Our House in Maine

Our best feature by far is all our Map Business Online customers.  We greatly appreciate the fact that you chose Map Business Online to be your business mapping tool.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

Are you using the Map Business Online Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Do away with 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 Map Business Online.

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

America’s best geo mapping software.

 

 

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How Do I Generate Demographic Data for Concentric Circle Maps?

This week I discovered the below outlined, interesting Map Business Online Pro Market Analysis solution for creating concentric circles with demographic data.

Businesses sometimes need to describe business processes using concentric circle maps. Concentric circles are circles with varying radii generated from one central location point. Each concentric circle represents an area on the map and in this analysis, that area has a corresponding selection of demographic data associated with it.

Business mapping users create concentric circle maps for multiple applications:

  • Concentric circles are often used to represent delivery areas. The circle or radius search areas are often derived from driving times and distances from a central location and are organized into rings. Some concentric circles maps are used to define the costs/prices to ship from an origin point to destination points located within each ringed area.
  • Demographic data associated with concentric circles can describe the potential market that exists in each band. Often those market circles are determined by driving times and driving distances.
  • Concentric circles could be used to demographically define sections of urban areas or cities based on their distance from a city centroid point.
  • Concentric circle maps can also be useful as visual bands that define distance ranges from a central point. A map viewer may be able to easily estimate distances when looking at concentric circle maps based on standard distances between bands.

Create Concentric Circles with Multiple Categories of Demographic Data

Only Map Business Online Pro can achieve this slightly complex map operation quickly, through the Market Analysis option called – Summarize Demographics.

Problem: A business needs to display on a map four or five concentric circles around a central point and assign each ring area three (possibly more) demographic data category totals.

Solution: Using Map Business Online Pro, Create and import a spreadsheet. Assign the Demographic Categories. Generate the circles.

  1. Using Excel or a standard spreadsheet software set up an address spreadsheet with these columns

Address | City | State | ZIP Code | Radius | Demographic Category

  1. For however many concentric layers you require, create a spreadsheet with the identical address for each center point, varying only the radii required for each concentric ring. List as many addresses as you require circles.
Address
City
State
ZIP Code
Radius
100 School St
Boston
MA
02134
5
100 School St
Boston
MA
02134
10
100 School St
Boston
MA
02134
25

 

  1. Usually, you would import your spreadsheet using the Plot Data button. But for this exercise, go to Market Analysis and select the Summarize Demographics option at the bottom of the options listed.
    1. Use the Plot Data function at the top of the dialogue. Plot your Data.
    2. With your data plotted, go back to the dialogue and put your choices in the functions listed:
      1. Choose the three demographic categories you require
      2. At Radius selection, Choose the Radius in Data Column option
      3. Select Draw a Circle and choose a color and thickness
      4. Click Next and Done.
  1. The Data Window will now pop up and display the datasheet view of the centric circles with demographic data information applied. Export as always using the far-right button on the Data Window toolbar.

Now some of you might be thinking, too bad it only adds three categories. For you, we have a special treat. Simply return to the Market Analysis function Summarize Data, choose three more categories and run it again. Viola! Now you have six demographic categories associated with your concentric circle map!

Map Business Online Market Analysis is available in both Map Business Online Standard and Map Business Online Pro. The Pro features include driving time and distance analysis across multiple center points. But keep in mind, Standard subscriptions have access to Market Analysis tools for only straight line distance analysis.

Are you using the Map Business Online Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Do away with 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 Map Business Online.

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

America’s best geo mapping software.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com 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 business maps

 

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The Power of Market Analysis in Map Business Online Pro

One possible market analysis scenario, requiring both Map Business Online Pro and Business Listings, is a retail manager planning for a new set of convenience stores along the I-95 corridor in Eastern Virginia. Such analysis using Map Business Online would tap into Business Listings search as well as the drive-time-based Market Analysis tools now available in Map Business Online Pro.

Let’s begin with no Background Map selected in Map Business Online. Instead, we’ll use a Census Tract background colored purple to highlight store locations. By selecting the highway layer from the Add Map Layers button your map will reflect the major highways, important to this analysis view.  Read more about Background Map options.

A user could turn highway layers off and display the Imagery Background layer which may display aspects of your proposed new convenience store locations that could be hidden by the roads layer. Check the highway layer on and off and Zoom way in to verify your proposed site locations. Are there buildings, exits, or mountains nearby? But for the final map view, a color shaded map layer background may be more effective.

Satellite View DC/VA I-95 Corridor

 

 

 

 

Over that pink map background, with the highway layer turned on, is a drawn polygon, created to represent a rough buffer zone around the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C. to Virginia Beach, VA.

No Background Map – Colored State Layer

Remember, our map audience for this map project are the developers of a new set of convenience stores. They are interested in opening a series of convenience stores near I-95 exits in Virginia. As part of that market analysis, we need to understand more about the existing competition. And there is plenty of that, including multiple 7-Eleven and WaWa stores located in close proximity to the highway. Market analysis must answer the question, “Does this even make sense?”

Business Listings

All Map Business Online subscriptions now include access to business listings. So, a next step would likely be to select the Polygon buffering the I-95 corridor and choose the Yellow Pages icon located on the Polygon’s mini-toolbar for a Business Listings search for competitor locations.

Doing so will reveal a little more than one-thousand 7-Eleven stores and about seventy WaWa stores. Keep in mind, that’s 1,000 7-Eleven stores in the Virginia I-95 corridor alone. Yikes!

With the map now populated with the major competing stores, we can assess how many competing stores exist within a specified drive time of all our proposed store sites. With Map Business Online Pro a user could assess both straight line, driving time and driving distance, but with so many stores in the area, I felt driving time was the most appropriate analysis.

The proposed job sites are located close to key exits along the I-95 corridor. They are displayed on the Map as large orange circles with white doughnut holes. We’re interested in locating those stores only where there are less than three 7-Eleven stores within a five-minute driving time. Driving time is important. I know for me, when I must exit the turnpike to get gas, coffee or food, I want to minimize the time I lose from my trip. I’m not going to get off and drive for more than five-minutes.

Map Business Online Pro – Market Analysis

Using Map Business Online Pro, we choose the option in Market Analysis called Find the Nearest. Following the options listed in the dialogue box, we choose the following:

  • Measure – Drive time
  • Customer Locations – 7-Eleven store dataset
  • Store Locations – Proposed convenience store locations
  • Time – 5-minutes from 7-Eleven to the proposed site location

The results of this analysis, displayed in the Data Window, will add Site Location data to the 7-Eleven dataset based on a Drive time of under five-minutes. Negative numbers indicate 7-Elevens that fall outside the range of the Find the Nearest parameters. Filter the Drive Time column to show only results that are greater than zero (> 0). Now, still in the Data Window arrange all the Proposed Sites in order and view the sites with the fewest competitors. These include Proposed Site 4, 5, 6, 7 8, 9, and 14.

Multiple Drive Time Territories

Another approach to investigating the areas surrounding a list of multiple center points, or proposed sites, is to build a set of territories around those locations and then pull data into the resulting analysis using the More Data button. Read more about More Data.

The combined elements of assessing multiple center points based on drive time areas require Map Business Online Pro. Use the first option in Market Analysis. To keep the territory map layers smaller, I would turn on the Census Tract layer which generally has tinier jurisdictions than ZIP codes.  Census Tracts are available in the Add Map Layers button.

Choose Search and Segment Data from Multiple Centers in Market Analysis.

  • Select or Plot Dataset – Proposed Site Locations
  • Use – Drive time
  • Radius – 5 minutes
  • Checkbox – To draw a drive time polygon

Click Next [note the routing credits used for this process] click Next again. In this final dialogue page, to create territories or marketing lists it is important that the user chooses to Segment the data by checking the Segment Checkbox underneath the Dialogue.

  • If you choose to segment a point layer to query, marketing lists are generated.
  • In our case, select a Map Layer option, Census Tracts, to generate territories

Process the analysis by clicking Next.  With a territory layer now created, use the More Data button in the territory analysis view to remove superfluous data layers and add data layers you find valuable. Results can be export and saved within Map Business Online for further analysis, or for data enrichment, another feature of Market Analysis.

Use Map Business Online Pro as a market analysis toolkit. Try different approaches. Every company has a slight twist to market analysis that is all their own.

Many of the features and applications associated with Map Business Online are interelated. Market Analysis helps with and benefits from sales territory management. Demographic analysis is one component of market analysis and a key element of sale territory management and competitor analysis. Business listings can be critical to a sales or marketing campaign while also providing key factors in strategic planning.

I guess the message is, maps are really helpful in business analysis and planning.

Are you using the Map Business Online Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Escape Web-Browser Tyranny!

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 Map Business Online.

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

America’s best geo mapping software.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com 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 business maps

 

 

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