Black Friday Sales Trends – 2018


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

How to Use Your Own Symbols in Map Business Online

The most frequently used feature of Map Business Online is the import of user location data. Usually, this imported data is an address-based list, but it could be latitude/longitude coordinates or just plain a plain ZIP code list. The point is many business mapping users import their business data into Map Business Online. 

Once user location-based data is imported, Map Business Online business mapping software applies symbols to the locations, usually a simple set of colored dots. The user can easily adjust those dots from the Data Window or in Map and Data, changing the color or choosing a new symbol from our symbol library.  In the data window choose the layer and then, just to the right of the data selection drop down, you’ll find the symbol selector. Have at it.

In Map and Data, hover over the imported data layer, click the Edit Properties Gear and you will again see the symbol selector. And again, have at it.

The symbol library is also available in the Color Code with Symbols button along the Master Toolbar. This access to the symbol selector button allows Map Business Online users to create symbolization schemes based on elements of their imported data. For example, mapping users may color-code by revenue history, by account type, or even by sales rep, the only limiting factor is a range of 100 variables. Watch a video on color coding points.

By choosing the Color Code by Symbols button, ten buttons in from the left along the master toolbar, the user can access their data column for color-coding through a simple drop-down selection. There’s a range selection for expressing many options, but I typically keep that range to under six variables in your data. But that’s up to you.

You’ll see the symbol selector (see image below) with a drop down for symbol library access, and a color box associated with each symbol option. Once you’ve selected your preferred symbols and color simply process by clicking Done.  It’s easy to return to the beginning and adjust further.

The Symbol Selector

Custom Symbols

User-defined custom symbols may be selected from any presentation of the symbol selector library.  Here’s how:

  1. Click the down arrow to enter the symbol selector library
  2. In the library of symbols use the scroll bar on the right side to scroll all the way to the top
  3. Click Manage Custom Symbols, then click Choose New Symbol, and browse to your file
  4. Once your file is selected click Add.  Now your new symbol is a member of your mapping software’s symbol library.

You can access your customer symbols at the top of the library. Scroll to the top and select as usual.

Custom symbols are useful for adding flair to your map.  A custom symbol may be appropriate for your map if you need to make a geographic reference obvious. These symbols could be medical symbols, oil & gas symbols, or a picture of Bradley Cooper.  Choose custom symbols that make your map audience feel at home. You know your audience, you decide.

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson



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

How to Create Territories from ZIP Code Ranges in Map Business Online

Every so often a customer asks if Map Business Online can create sales territories based on a range of ZIP codes. The answer is yes but the customer is often disappointed. They usually ask the ZIP code range questions because they want to create a set of complex territories quickly, with minimal effort. The trouble is, territory creation based on ZIP code ranges is an advanced operation for online business mapping. There are several questions that need to be answered.  It’s a little bit more complicated than a basic ZIP code map.

One question to consider when considering filtering ZIP codes by ranges for territories is: Are your ranges numeric ranges or spatial ranges? Numeric would be from Zip Code 01900 to ZIP Code 01999. Numeric ranges are based on numbers. Spatial ranges would be a range of ZIP codes that are near to, if not adjoining each other. Numbering sequences in ZIP codes do not guarantee proximity (that ZIP codes near in number are nearby spatially.)

How a ZIP Code Range Territory is Created
In Map Business Online, Zip Code ranges are filterable in the Data Window. Start by selecting the ZIP code layer in the Data Window drop down, which includes 33,461 ZIP codes with boundaries. Point ZIP codes are not considered in this exercise. Click the Filter Button, a funnel icon on the Data Window toolbar.  Then, in the Filter Dialogue layer selector on the left side, select General for the Data Category and below that find ZIP5 Code (assuming we’re working with 5-digit, not 3-digit ZIP’s.)

You’re doing well. Take a breath and keep going.

To the right side of the filter panel, in the top modifier section, select the > (greater than) symbol and to the right, choose your starting range ZIP code number. You will note an AND/OR option between the two modifier sections on the right. Leave the AND/OR drop down at AND because this is an AND operation, not an OR operation.  We’re exploring a range between Number X AND Number Y.  Here’s a picture of the filter dialogue with labels.




Now move below and select < (less than) symbol and to the right insert your finish range ZIP code number. Click filter to run the query.

The Data Window will now display all of the ZIP codes filtered for the range you selected. At the bottom left corner you can see the number of ZIP codes offered in the display.

To create your first range-based territory click the button on the Data Window toolbar that says: Create New or Edit Existing Territory with Geographies from the Data Window. It’s a long name, I know. The icon is a green and red arrow overlapping a blue puzzle piece.  Name your territory.

Review and Edit Your Territory
Once your territory is selected, you can view the territory layout on the map. This is when you can use your Search Tool by Polygon or a simple mouse click, to select missing ZIP codes or remove ZIP codes from your territory.

As a reminder, point ZIP codes do not make up the visible territory map object because they have no boundaries. More on Point ZIP Codes. But, any point ZIP codes imported into the map would be applied to the appropriate territory based on physical location. Remember, point ZIP codes represent mail delivery locations of military installations, huge apartment buildings, hospitals, and the like. (Notice I didn’t use the phrase “what not.”  I hate the use of What Not. I mean, what is What Not any way? End What Not rant.)

Rinse and Repeat as Necessary
Once your first territory is complete reset the filter in Map Business Online’s Data Window and set-up your next territory’s ZIP code range. Repeat this process as necessary to set up all your territories. Once you’ve gone through the process a few times you will find it moves fast.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when building general territories in Map Business Online (Any type of territory – regular or ZIP range-based territories):

  • Overlap is Cool – In Map and Data click Settings and then Territory Options. Allow your territories to overlap and choose the color you would like associated with overlap, for easy identification
  • Regions and Divisions – In Map Business Online you build regions out of territory units manually with a polygon tool. Do the same for divisions using the regions as units. Learn more.
  • Append Included Demographic Data – In Map and Data edit the properties of the territory layer. Choose Labels and then Format Labels. Make sure you’re editing the Auto Label tab. Select up to five demographic categories to display in the territory label.
    Why ZIP Code Range Assignment?

Customers choose to create territories based on ZIP codes ranges primarily to save time in ZIP code assignment. Manual ZIP code selection could be a time-consuming process. Map Business Online polygon selection of ZIP codes by area can make the process less time-consuming. But selecting in ranges, if you know the range start and end points, can be a relatively quick process.

Unfortunately, at this time Map Business Online doesn’t support automatic multiple territory ZIP code range assignments. Perhaps if there is more interest over time, we’d consider it.

Further Questions to Answer on ZIP Ranges
Are your ZIP codes ranges accurate? It’s easy to describe a range as 01000 to 01999. But you should understand where those numbers exist in real space before you start.  The video above helps explain that process as Massachusetts is split into two numeric ranges.

Do the numbers you selected exist as ZIP codes exist at all?
Are there other spatial considerations to your territory scheme? For instance, are state or county boundaries a limit?

Using the filter button in the Map Business Online Data Window is a powerful yet simple tool for generating marketing lists, territories, or specific areas of interest from your imported data, or geographic data layers. You may find many reasons to filter data to enhance your business intelligence.

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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

Don’t Let Your Vision Blind Your Business

The real power of business mapping software is the visualization of business data against a geographic map covering the extent of where you do business.

For first time users, these new map views are often revelatory leading to changes in how business is transacted. These business changes may not be Earth-shattering but they generally improve sales results. For old timers, these map views are reliable sources of business intelligence that may help inform responses to our rapidly changing marketplaces.

What is your marketplace? Door-to-door? A variety store catering to a neighborhood? Google searches – Ad Words and SEO? AWS? Business mapping can help any market grow.

These business map generated, business intelligence insights impact sales and marketing behavior in these ways:

  • Sales Territory creation or territory alignment adjustments based on travel histories and customer sales records. Map views tend to suggest more effective ways of account assignment and catering to customers.
  • The discovery of new market opportunities by templating success in one area and finding demographically similar markets in new areas. Maps overlaid with demographic data will suggest new areas to mine.
  • The discovery of new industry opportunities unveiled through map-based sales story sharing. Sales meetings centered around territory or coverage maps encourages discussion of new account success – critical to developing new industries for your products and services.
  • Viewing competitor maps that honestly describe how your business compares to the major competition. Maps tend to expose physical presence, logistical advantages, in addition to financial strength.
  • Strategic planning maps provide a comprehensive assessment of various business aspects. Creating multiple map views may provide new insights into strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

For your specific business, there may be a different set of map iterations that generate critical business intelligence. Other location-based business intelligence factors that could be mapped: critical industry resources, traffic patterns, epidemics, infestations, and storm damage heat maps.

But sometimes an overactive company vision can stand in the way of map-derived business intelligence.

Company Vision Gone Bad

Entrepreneurs and business owners tend to have vision. It’s one reason they are where they are. Idea people can be unstoppable – which is usually a good thing.  More on idea people – from the movie Night Shift, 1982.  But sometimes a visionary can become so locked into his or her ideas that they limit the outcome of business analysis and sales campaigns. When this happens the business can suffer from vision block.

Vision block can be a serious drain on the power of map visualizations. In sales territory management, for example, vision block might be management’s refusal to reallocate high dollar value legacy sales accounts from a single senior sales associate to the general sales pool based on location. In the 1980’s I worked for a company that assigned the paper mill business to one or two senior salespeople. By 1995 the paper business was virtually gone, and the company struggled to find replacement industries for their cash cow. Experience sales people exited the company. Sales plummeted.

I believe spreading your sales experience around the marketplace encourages the development of new markets and helps train new sales associates through team account calls. Concentrating your most experienced sales associates on lucrative mature accounts leads to stagnation and revenue loss.

Solution: Create sales territory maps that share sales goals and results. Seek to balance these accounts by geography, sales revenue, and key demographics. Spread your experienced people around.

I’ve worked with a few seasoned sales executives who begin and end all product and business development conversations with the question, “What’s your market?” And I get it, it is important to know what market your product is best suited for and focus like a laser on those customers. But vision block could prevent a sales department from exploring potential new markets.

New markets are critical to a growth plan for what should be obvious reasons:

  • New markets replace fading markets
  • Unplanned revenue sources can make up for account loss, competitor encroachment, attrition
  • New markets can lead to entirely new business plans and product lines

A software product suited perfectly for the oil and gas mid-stream market would appear to present the perfect customer base. The industry is well known, with a viable future and pays their bills on time. New interest in that same software product from the alternative energy markets might seem a stretch at first. But, an open mind will discover that those two energy markets ebb and flow on nearly opposite cycles and supporting both markets will, in fact, be great for business viability and growth.

Solution: Make new market opportunities a component of any strategic sales plan. Provide salespeople with prospective buyer contact lists through tactical map sharing. Encourage alternative market exposure at map-based sales meetings.

Keep Your Vision Block to Yourself

Finally, it is important for management to delegate map creation responsibilities to a map creator or team of map creators, and then get out of the way.

Building business maps is a creative process and a process of discovery.  It’s not unusual for map results to uncover problems that businesses didn’t know they had. And remember, that’s good news.  Bad news early always trumps bad news late.

Too often the vision guy insists on seeing certain data projected against a specific map view. Resist that urge!

Solution: Let your people develop maps from scratch and see what they come up with. You can always develop your vision map separately.

Business maps are great when combined with intelligent associates, familiar with the front line issues of your business. Encourage map building and map sharing.

Let geographic views shine a new perspective on your critical business intelligence. Analyze, grow and compete.

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson



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

How to Save Map Image Files in Map Business Online

Because maps are for sharing, Map Business Online allows business mapping users to save their map views as image files. An image file might be a Jpeg, PNG, or PDF file.  Map image files saved as a Jpeg, PNG, or PDF can be attached to an email, inserted into a Word Document or a PowerPoint presentation.

Jpeg and PNG image creation in Map Business Online is easy. First, create the map view you’d like to share with your constituents. Once your business map is to your liking, click the Save Image file button on the master toolbar. That’s the fourth button in from the right – a Blue Globe with a Floppy Disc on it.

Click the Save Image file button and a dialogue process for saving your image appears. Enter a title if you desire one, but it won’t affect the saving process. Choose either the current view or conterminous view. Conterminous means you want to include Alaska, Hawaii, and or Puerto Rico in your image (they will not be placed on the map accurately but will be nestled with a USA map for convenient viewing.) The “current view” is a What You See Is What You Get snapshot of your map.

At the bottom of the dialogue select PNG or Jpeg.  PNG is the better choice for graphic artwork.  Jpegs have smaller file sizes and may be better for emails. Choose and click Next.

Click Save to move to a Save dialogue. Choose the folder on your laptop or desktop where you’d like to store your map image file.  Save the file, using a name of your own choosing, but be sure to preserve the .Jpeg or .PNG file type within the name. Click Save.

Sample Map Business Online Image File

Attach or Insert the Image File

From within an email, you can select Attach File and navigate to your map image file storage location and select the map image.  This will place the file in your email.  To add a map image to a word-processed document on a PC, select Insert Picture and navigate to your map image file storage location and select the map image.

You could choose to select the entire image and click copy, then paste that image into your word-processed document. I think the insert button option is easier and puts less content in memory.

PC Snipping Tool or Mac Grab Tool

When Map Business Online grabs a snapshot for a Jpeg or PNG file, as described above, it snaps a picture of the map.  To grab pictures of Maps that include the Data Window or other Map Business Online dialogue boxes, use the PC Snipping Tool or the Mac Grab Tool. Depending, of course, on which type of machine you use.

I use the Snipping Tool all the time when tech supporting customers.  It’s great for capturing images that help users understand processes within the application. These images are easily copied and pasted into emails and word docs, or inserted as noted above.

If you’d like more information on the Snipping Tool and Grab options I have attached this link.

Image File with Dialogues Using Snippet

PDF Printing

PDF saving occurs in the Print Tab.  It’s located there because large format PDF files are often used to print wall maps on plotter printers.  Saving to large format PDF is a lot trickier than a simple image file save operation in Map Business Online. PDF printing is not a What You See Is What You Get operation.

The business map user must try a variety of adjustments to get the PDF image file exactly the way they want it.  That’s because the resulting file is oversized. Expect to apply some trial and error.  Read more on PDF printing here. You be adjusting:

  • Paper size – Up to five feet by five feet. That’s a lot of map
  • Zoom level – Always over zoom your map view to achieve more detail
  • Font size – Adjust fonts on map labels and text to be larger if possible
  • Map Layer Labeling – Auto label “Start Labeling From” – adjust this control in Map & Data to the farthest out setting to maximize the number of ZIP code and county labels on the map

Public Map Sharing

And just a quick mention of the Map Business Online public map sharing option.  Use the fourth button in from the left (a two-person icon) to share interactive web maps with constituents at no charge – up to 1200 maps per year for free.

The public map share allows the shared map viewer to pan and zoom on the map, conduct data queries for export, route using incremental stops or editing shared routes. They can save map files, print and use the measure tool.  A great call center solution – where maps need to be shared for critical information.  Read more on Map Sharing.

And finally, I’ll mention that for presentations, once you’re familiar with Map Business Online tools you’ll find the application is a powerful way to present.  Using the tool to proactively set-up a map for presentation means you can bring data layers and alternate views to bare.  You’ll be able to coordinate your map creation with your presentation’s argument.   Powerful, fun, and convincing whether you’re focused on sales territory mapping or market analysis.

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson


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

How to Measure a Distance in Map Business Online

Along the Map Business Online master toolbar, six buttons in from the right side, sits the humble Measure Distance Tool.  The button icon is a yellow ruler. The kind that grade school teachers used to smack our study tables with to wake us up.

A sharp Smack! split the air. “Geoffrey Ives! You pay attention!” screamed Miss Bruce, with pursed lips and beady eyes drilling holes into my very soul.

“Yes, Miss Bruce,” I replied weakly, my daydream vanishing forever.

Anyway, the measure distance tool provides business mapping users with a quick click and drag tool for measuring distance on your map project.

Draw That Line

The measure distance tool is enabled by clicking the measure tool button icon and then clicking your mouse on the map and dragging a line along your area of interest. Once activated the tool presents a Green Check button and a White X button with a Red background under the now green (activated) Measure Distance button.

The tool measures a distance along a straight line and displays the distance measurement result next to the drawn line.  The unit of measure is in miles by default but can be changed to kilometers in the Map and Data box (Click the edit gear in Map and Data and look for Map Units at the bottom left of the edit properties panel.

Unit of Measure Adjustment

After dragging your first line segment, release your mouse button and compress it again to drag a new line segment in another direction.  The measure display will now reflect the distance of the new segment in addition to a total distance for all line segments, summed.

When the user is done drawing line segments on the map the mapping software presents an option to either:

  • Click the green check mark to save your distance work and complete the operation or
  • Click the White X in Red to delete the line segments you just created

Edit That Line

Once your line segments are saved on the map a dialogue pops up that gives the user the opportunity to edit the color and line style of the drawn distance lines.  The Edit Line Properties options include:

  • Adjust Line Styles – Enables line thickness adjustment and arrow options
  • Apply Color Shading – Click into the color box to change line segment colors
  • Adjust Transparency – Check transparency on or off for see-through or opaque lines
  • Show Text – Add reference labels or text describing your measurement
  • Change the Order – Provides user control over which layer is on top

Use That Line

The measure tool allows business map users to quickly determine how far point A is from point B.  I personally use the measure tool for several reasons:

  • To quickly get a sense of a distance from one town to another or from a start point to a finish point for a hike or drive. In my mind, I sometimes estimate travel times based on a simple distance measure
  • To measure the distance around an object, territory, or jurisdiction
  • To highlight a point or object on the map and include a distance measurement

I’ve used the measure distance tool on multiple occasions to do the following:

  • Develop an area or perimeter measurement of a sales territory map
  • Ballpark an impending trip either driving or walking. If you’ve had it with life and you’re telling the family you’re going out for a pack of cigarettes, you might as well have a sense of how far the store is
  • Estimate the perimeter distance of a field to determine the extent of land to be submitted for a rare bird species protection program under an Audubon grant for hay farmers
  • Estimate the perimeter around a swimming quarry to get a better feel of where I might drown over the following hours
  • Estimate walking distance comparisons to beach access for a series of Maine properties
  • Measure a beach distance to prove to my wife how far I walked one afternoon

The measure distance tool comes in handy. It’s not the most sophisticated tool in business mapping, but it gets used a lot. And there’s not a teacher alive that can whack you desk with a cloud-service, business mapping software’s measure tool.

Take that Miss Bruce.

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson


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

How to Color Shade a Simple List of ZIP Codes on a Map

Many first-time users of Map Business Online business mapping software begin their search for a mapping tool with a list of ZIP codes. Businesses of all types find themselves in possession of a list of ZIP codes with a desire to:

  • Visualize or color-shade ZIP codes to reflect sales or business activity on a map
  • Define sales territories or areas of interest on a ZIP code map
  • Visualize ZIP codes on a map with business data appended to a ZIP code label

Map Business Online enables all of the above capability and so much more. But let’s keep this focused on the very basic need to visualize and color shade a list of ZIP codes.

While Map Business Online users may easily select one or more ZIP codes and create color shaded areas manually simply by using their mouse cursor to click on a map-based ZIP code, the fastest way to create a color shaded ZIP code area is by importing a spreadsheet of ZIPs. Clicking and holding the shift key gets you there, but it takes a while if you’re talking more than ten ZIPs per area of interest.

Build a simple spreadsheet that lists your ZIP codes. Simply label a column in your spreadsheet as ZIP codes. Add any ZIP codes of interest to that column, and import that data into Map Business Online.

Additional columns are not necessary but could be helpful to your project. You could, for instance, have columns for Territory Name, Sales History, Equipment, or Sales Rep.  That’s up to you and your business requirements. The data will import exactly the same regardless of the number of columns you include.

Import your ZIP code list using the Plot Data button on the Master Toolbar. Read more about data plotting.  To semi-automate data updates to your data imports read this.

Color Shade Your Imported ZIP Codes

As you finish importing your data and the points show up on the map, a dialogue pops up offering help in color coding your data points on the map. Those ZIP code points you just imported represent the center locations of each ZIP code you’re interested in. Answer Yes only if you want to color code the actual points you just plotted, as opposed to color shading the actual ZIP code areas.

If you want to color shade ZIP code areas, click No. Most often Map Business Online users want to color shade the ZIP areas, not just the ZIP code points.  Now uncheck the imported ZIP code layer box in the Map & Data box.  Your points will disappear. Don’t panic, that’s cool.  Go to the middle of the master Toolbar and click the Three Puzzle Piece button. Select the ZIP code map layer option, choose your imported data, and the column of your data that you would like to use for color shading.

If you want to shade every ZIP code a different color, you can color shade up to one hundred ZIPs. It’s less confusing for the map viewer to choose color shades based on a limited number of color groups, or perhaps just one or two shades. Much depends on the purpose of your map. May we suggest:

  • To display  ZIP code areas with business activity – Use one prominent color
  • To display worst to best activity by ZIP code – Use color gradations
  • To designate X or Y options – Use two colors (adjust as necessary for more options)

When attempting to show just one-color shade try using the Count option in the data drop down. You will notice the minimum number of color groups allowed is two. Choose 2 color groups and set the ranges to 0 to 0 and 1 to 1. Color the group of ZIP codes with no points (0 to 0) to light green. Color the ZIP codes with points (1 to 1) a nice blue (or a color of your choosing.) Click Done and bask in the color shading of your ZIP code list.

You may retire now.  Well, maybe not.

Look at all the fun users have with ZIP codes!

There are several more aspects to the color shading process that you may want to keep in mind:

  • The maximum color range quantity is one hundred (so if you have more than 100 ZIP codes, that’s no good.)
  • You can choose to hide non-impacted ZIP codes or change their default color
  • Unique value and Exclude values options can come in handy occasionally. These help to make larger, more varied datasets, easier to classify.
  • Once you’ve chosen your color shading scheme, complete the operation either by clicking preview or done.
  • Remember, it’s wicked easy to go back and reconfigure the color scheme again. All your settings will be saved.  Experiment to your heart’s content. You can’t break it.

Or Just Create Territories from a ZIP Code List

Another way to create those color shaded ZIP areas is to add a Name column to your simple ZIP code list and import the list using the Create Territories button.  You’d have one column for ZIP codes and another column for a name or list of names.

Instead of using the Plot Data Button move one more button to the right and click Create Territories. This import process is nearly identical to the Plot Data process until it moves to the Create Territory function.  Once in the Create Territory dialogue, you will simply match your ZIP code map layer and the Name columns to the proper Map Business Online input fields. Read about the Create Territories process here.

Don’t be intimidated by the concept of territories. You will not be required to use the territories in a complex way, they can just be shaded ZIP codes if you want to keep it simple.  Just remember there is powerful data analysis capability built into territory management

Leverage Your Imported Data

You may have business lists by address that include ZIP codes.  No need to cull out the columns that are not ZIP codes, just import as described above and set the other columns to None as you process the address dialogue into Map Business Online. Your data will behave just like a ZIP code list.

Once your data is imported into Map Business Online, the application allows the map user access to all imported data from a variety of places. In addition to color shading by ZIP code area or ZIP code point, that data is available for territory management and analysis, data window filtering, and market analysis.  When you’re ready, there’s much more that can be done with Map Business Online.

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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

How Accurate is Demographic Data?

All Map Business Online subscriptions include access to demographic data. Paid subscriptions allow exports of that data.  Map Business Online versions in the UK and Canada have fewer demographic category option due to the nature of data availability in those nations. Here in the U.S.A., the Census Bureau is quite generous with their data.

Every ten years the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a survey of all American citizens. The Bureau sends out thousands of interviewers, mails millions of surveys, and conducts untold numbers of telephone conversations to count people. All this to get a sense of where every citizen lives and learn critical things about their lives that could impact how the country fairs moving forward. The results are compiled and released as a Census survey.

The last full decennial Census survey was conducted in 2010. The next one is scheduled for 2020. During those in-between years, the Census Bureau issues updates to the most recent full survey via the American Community Survey system.  These updates accommodate changes, errors in Census reporting, and “provide more detailed socioeconomic information about the population” on a semi-annual release basis.

Map Business Online subscribes to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) for the USA demographic data included in our business mapping applications. The ACS relies on statistical sampling techniques to estimate demographic totals by category for these mid-decade updates.

A Word About Accuracy

When using Census demographic data from any source it is important to remember that all the published demographic data is an estimate. With many demographic sources available, if you are looking for consistency in data reporting, it is important to research the various Census data programs used as a source.  For instance, Map Business Online uses the ACS as our USA data source. Other businesses may access demographic data from other sources.

When comparing demographic data output based on geographic entities such as ZIP codes things can get even more complicated.  ZIP codes are not as geographically consistent, across all applications and mapping programs, as one would hope.  The Census Bureau publishes ZCTA ZIP codes which do not always match the U.S. Post Office ZIP code areas.  Third party publishers of ZIP codes also may vary in boundary definitions; they are usually close but not necessarily equal. All these variables impact demographic data accuracy to an extent. Be aware of which ZIP code system your map or your data source has applied.

Map Business Online provides a ZIP code schema selection in Map & Data. Click the ZIP Code tab. You can choose between ZTCA and USPS ZIPs.  ZIP code filler options are listed here too. Fillers provide territory coverage for public lands, national parks, military areas etc. Read more about fillers.

To understand more about how the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey calculates their results and their collection methods read more here.

Please keep in mind that all demographic totals are estimates. If the data results and changes you’re seeing are within 10% there’s a good chance that’s as accurate a demographic count as you are going to get. If you find huge discrepancies, please report them to us and we’ll do our best to research them. There are often legitimate reasons for apparent discrepancies.

Demographic Data in Map Business Online

You will find Map Business Online demographic data accessible from multiple functions within the business mapping application. Look for demographic data in the following areas:

  • Market Analysis – Append demographic data to a map layer or summarize multiple demographic categories by location
  • Color Code Map – Color code ZIP codes, Counties States or other districts by demographic data
  • Search Data & Draw Tools – Both of these functions are designed to draw objects on the map that encourage queries within (or outside of) the areas drawn. The summary button, a sideways M, will lead the user to the demographic category options list
  • The Data Window – Access demographic categories using More Data and through the Filter options. Manage demographic data for Territory Maps in the data window
  • Map & Data – Access demographic data options for label formatting, color coding the map layer or territory layers

When you access demographic data in Map Business Online it will always be from a data Drop Down option.

For example. On the master toolbar, choose the Circle Search from the Search data options. That’s just to the right of the White X in Red.

Plot your radius point on the map, then drag or key-in a radius distance measure. Click closed the Search Data dialogue box that pops up.  Notice the mini-toolbar associated with your circle. Click the summary button or sideways M.

And there it is, Your Data Drop Down and demographic data at your service.  Select up to ten categories for analysis and export.

Looking at all of that demographic data you’ll find eight years of Census releases. The two most recent years are projections that we source through a third-party. The 2016 data is currently the most recent Census ACS release. There are too many categories to name in this blog. Suffice it to say there’s a growing list here that satisfies most demographic data users. Let us know if there are categories missing that we should carry.

Calculating Data

And don’t forget to explore Calculate Data Columns in Map & Data if you want to create sums or ratios of multiple categories. A good example is a summation of all age categories over the age of 65 years.

  • Go to Map & Data
  • Choose which Map Layer you want to apply the data to and click that layer’s Edit Properties Gear
  • Click Calculated Data Columns
  • Move your selection demographic data (Age layers) into the Sum box with the move arrows
  • Adjust numbering settings
  • Save

Now the calculated data option will be listed along with your demographic data in the data drop down for that specific map layer.

Demographic data is used by Map Business Online customer for a variety of analysis and planning operations including business analysis, market exploration, franchise assessments, and retail expansion planning. This is a wealth of information designed and secured for your business benefit. Use it!

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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

The Powerful “More Data” Button

The Map Business Online Data Window contains a powerful function available with every datasheet view.  From the master toolbar click the Data Window icon and select any of the data drop down options in the upper left.  Now, cast your beady eyes down to the lower right-hand corner of the Data Window where you will find the deceptively simple More Data button. This button is a gem of a business mapping tool

More Data could be the most powerful function available in Map Business Online.  It is no less than a geospatial database management tool.  No matter what data layer you happen to be viewing in the Data Window, clicking More Data opens up an easy-to-use database management tool that allows the Map Business Online user to add or remove data layers to the datasheet view.  More Data is especially useful for Sales Territory Mapping.

Clicking More Data opens a database selection panel listing additional data column options that you can add to your analysis. Additional data options are listed on the left side of the panel. Your existing data columns are shown on the right.  By selecting and moving the available columns, using the move arrows in the middle section, the user can change the data layers available for any business analysis.

The More Data Button – lower left

Many of us break out into a cold sweat at the mention of those two words – Database Management. No worries. Map Business Online’s more data is a simple tool you’ll be hard pressed to break.  You’ll find a variety of easy options for adding data to or removing data from your analysis.

Map-Based Analysis

Map Business Online is a cloud-based business mapping software service. We do not categorize Map Business Online as a Geographic Information System (GIS).  GIS is more sophisticated and can provide advanced and complex data analysis. That said, a simple tool like Map Business Online does offer some basic geographic analysis tools one of them being More Data.

Any business map is going to include a dataset of ZIP codes, Counties, States and perhaps other administrative district layers. These geo-databases are natural location-based data structures for visualizing demographic data, sales data, and marketing data. It just makes sense to view USA Census data against a data layer of ZIP codes or counties.

The More Data button, in Map Business Online’s Data Window, is the tool that opens up options around the merging of these symbiotic data layers. With more data you will be able to:

  • Add or remove associated data layers to sales territories. Pull in population or median income from included demographic data options.  Move imported data columns like monthly sales results or marketing response rates into your sales territory analysis.
  • Simplify map-based analysis by removing superfluous data layers. Imported data, Map Business Online default data, heavy datasets; they can all get really complicated. Make analysis easier on the eyes for your map viewers by removing data columns that do not add value to your project. Remember, in mapping less, is often more.
  • Add selected data layers and conduct filter queries. Find out how many territories contain accounts that purchased XYZ product last year. Import that data layer using More Data, then use the Data Window filter to determine which territories could stand to benefit from marketing support.

The More Data Database Management Panel

It’s All Exportable

Keep in mind, all of this database work is exportable. Simply click the rightmost button on the Data Window toolbar to export the results from your Data Window view to CSV file.

This means you can export compiled data from your project – perhaps your own data supplemented with demographic layers and Map Business Online map layers. Create data queries showing all ZIP codes per territory, add population or median income data and export for use outside of Map Business Online.

I bet MapPoint never did that for you.

Calculated Data by Column

On occasion, Map Business Online’s More Data functionality can be used to set-up even more interesting data operations. For example, a customer could import a dataset that includes a unique segment of the general population – owners of Toyota sedans by county.

Using the More Data button, the ZIP code layer could be selected, and that unique Toyota Sedan population could be added as a column to the ZIP code data layer. That data layer could be exported and reimported as a new data layer in the application, allowing the data to be accessed through ZIP code functions.

Now, with the data accessible, another powerful operation can be generated using the Toyota Sedan owners by ZIP code column. Within Map and Data, the ZIP Code layer is selected by clicking the Property Edits Gear. Each map layer has a function in Map & Data called Calculated Data Columns. It offers summation, multiply or divide operations to be associated with that geographic unit – in this case ZIP codes.

The Map Business Online user chooses to open Calculated Data Columns. Here the Toyota Sedan Owners data can be selected and applied as the Dividend in a division operation where the divisor is the Demographic Data Population, resulting in a ratio of Toyota Owners to the general population. Once created, Calculated Data Column data can be brought back into Data Window Analysis views or used to color code map layers or supplement data layer labels in Map Business Online. Your unique data calculation is available throughout the business mapping software.

Map Business Online database management options are advanced, simple and available for Map Business Online users to apply to their business challenges. Get creative and see what more you can derive from Map Business Online.

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson


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

How to Prepare for Business Travel Using Map Buisness Online

Business map software will typically support optimized routing services for traveling salespeople. An optimized route service means the vehicle routes generated provide the option to travel via the most efficient route, instead of a route based on the stop-off order as presented by the imported data.

Traveling salespeople use Map Business Online for a variety of  functions including customer visualization, sales territory mapping and sales planning. Some sales people even use Map Business Online as a low budget CRM. in this blog we’re focused on vehicle routing.

Map Business Online offers an optimized route option that considers speed limits, turn restrictions, one/two-way roads, road classifications and some traffic history. This means Map Business Online routing lets the user choose between a route based on the order of stop-offs in their data or a route based on optimization.  The user can also choose to route one-way or with a return trip (two-ways).

Preparing Your Stop-off Data

There are several things you’ll need when planning a trip using Map Business Online.  Read about the routing process.

First, you’ll need a spreadsheet software to develop a list of potential stops based on your customer list. If you’re lucky, you can filter your CRM data and export to a CSV or XLS file. Your stop-off data should include columns for:

Company Name, Contact, Address, City, State, ZIP, Time of Arrival, Time of Stay Duration, [Your choice] Sales, Product, Notes, Phone number, Birthday

Be sure to include other pertinent information, helpful to your field service world like sales history, lat/lon location of equipment, or even a contact’s birthday.  Use that extra data to color shade and syMap Business Onlinelize your imported stop-offs.

Import Your Fall-back Destinations

Next, develop a list of alternative stops, to be used in the event of an appointment cancellation. Compile this data with the same addressing format as your customer stop-off list. You can combine the two lists if you like or import them separately. If you choose to combine include a column for customer type – to differentiate by syMap Business Onlinel and color, real customers from potential customers or prospects.

Users can color code their customer types after import using the various syMap Business Onlinelization tools in Map Business Online. I speak from experience. I once turned a road trip cancellation into the biggest product order in company history simply by calling on a fall back prospect we’d never contacted before. It was a true cold call. I knocked on a door without an appointment and got to sit with a frustrated buyer, ready to talk about alternatives. You just never know.

Routing Methods

With your route data imported, you can route incrementally (one stop at a time), use a polygon or radius map object to develop a route, or route to all records in the Data Window view. With your route generated your able to adjust stops as required. Delete a stop. Move a stop up or down in the route order.  Read more on routing.

To reiterate on the routing process options:

  1. In the Data Window use the Add all Rows from the Data Window to a Route.  This takes your data window view and automatically sets it up in the Route Window for route generation.
  2. Use a polygon (or other map object creation tools) tool to lasso a bunch of points. Save that list and then hit the Add all Rows… button again as in the above example.
  3. Route incrementally.  Click a point on the map and the label pops up.  Click the little Green Car Icon. Choose that address as a Start, Stop or Finish point in your route. The Route Window will open.Repeat until done. Then click the Route Window Car to generate your route.

The polygon tool can also be used to generate route avoids around troublesome intersections, construction, or an ex-boyfriend’s apartment. Remember you can export route files for use in PND’s (Garmin and TomTom devices.)

Expense Tracking

For expense reporting it’s important to track mileage, and perhaps even your time. Map Business Online route generation notes the total miles per route and total time for that route experience. It’s based, in part, on the travel times you import so make sure to use the time window options in Map Business Online if your accounting department requires it. Additionally, time durations per stop may be of value for managing your day activity and keeping your route schedule reasonable.

Print It

The route function in Map Business Online also includes a few print options. You can print turn-by-turn directions or just a list of stop offs. Use Map Business Online print options in the Route Window for expense submittals or to generate detailed directions.

Because Map business Online only allows one route to be generated at a time, use the various route save options to archive or share route information.  Printed map views can include a created route.

Share Your Map

Four buttons in from the left on the Master Toolbar is the MapShare button. MapShare is where your map (with route included) will be saved and shared publicly with your constituents. They will receive an email with the MapShare link embedded. Your constituents, at no charge, may open that link, launch Map Business Online and use that map interactively.  They’ll be able to pan and zoom all over the world, adjust the route, or create a new route from scratch, stop-by-stop.

  • The route Window provides a Route File save option for easy sharing of Map Business Online route files with constituents. Route files support GPX, CSV, XLS, as well as Garmin and TomTom PND files.
  • For critical business routes, that you may repeat in the future, save that map with the route included.
  • Remember MapShare options allow you to share interactive maps with routing. You’re map viewers have route editing capabilities included at no charge.


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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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