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 MBO.  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 MBO 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. MBO’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 MBO 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 MBO’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 MBO sales territories. Pull in population or median income from MBO’s 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, MBO 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 MBO map layers. Create data queries showing all ZIP codes per territory, add population or median income data and export for use outside of MBO.

I bet MapPoint never did that for you.

Calculated Data by Column

On occasion, MBO’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 MBO, 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 MBO 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 MBO. Your unique data calculation is available throughout the business mapping software.

Map Business Online database management options are advanced, simple and available for MBO 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


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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 MBO 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 MBO 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 symbolize 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 symbol and color, real customers from potential customers or prospects.

Users can color code their customer types after import using the various symbolization tools in MBO. 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. MBO 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 MBO 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 MBO also includes a few print options. You can print turn-by-turn directions or just a list of stop offs. Use MBO 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 MBO 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

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The Outer Limits of Map Business Online

Map Business Online (MBO) is a generous and inexpensive mapping solution. Map Business Online is also a cloud service, as opposed to an installed desktop application, and brings the advantages of cloud services such as automatic software and data updates, and Microsoft Azure’s added security tools. (MBO does include a non-browser based application version for use at your discretion.)

There’s a lot of functionality packed into MBO for $299.95 – the typically purchased option. Microsoft MapPoint, a desktop application canceled in 2014, included similar mapping and routing functionality for about the same price. We discuss replacing MapPoint a lot in our blog posts.

But what are the limits to Map Business Online functionality?  Let’s explore a list of limits tied to the features of Map Business Online.

Importing Address Data

Users enjoy quickly importing address databases (.XLS, .CSV and other database files) into Map Business Online. For the one-year subscription, that limit is up to 100,000 location points per map. We do cap the total amount of records imported into your entire one-year subscription at 1 million.  Most people never reach anywhere near that total limit.  We cap this capability because geocoding web services can get expensive and geocoding a million records could be an indication that you need help.

Map Business Online is a business mapping software, not a subscription or database management service. If you reach the cap, it’s time to talk. We’ll want to understand exactly why you require so many geocodes. Not that we’ll call Robert Mueller or anything. It’s just that that’s a lot of data. Often people are neglecting to dedupe their data, which can help reduce geocodes.

Imported Data Sets per Map

Import up to a dozen datasets totaling up to 100,000 total address records per map.  You may get away with more data sets per map but eventually, the application will stop displaying the map if there are too many data sets checked on in Map & Data. We advise consolidating similar data into one dataset where ever possible.

If you plot one location record at a time on the map, MBO will ask you to save it to a dataset. If you do this over and over and do not consolidate data into a few datasets you will reach your limit of datasets quickly. Consolidate those data points where ever possible.

Stored Maps

Standard subscriptions get 200 maps while team subscriptions get 400 maps. Rarely do we get people asking for more storage than this, but if you require it let us know. You can always delete old maps to refresh your limit.

Sales Territory Creation

A full year subscription allows up to 1,000 territories per map. That is a lot of territories. If you have more than 1,00 territories let us know. We’ll give you an award.

Stops per Route

Map Business Online includes vehicle routing functionality. This allows the routing user to route one route at a time, up to 150 stops per route. It’s an adequate solution for most standard businesses, but it is not a solution for route focused businesses with thousands of stops per route and requiring multiple route views on a map at one time. MapPoint sold incredible routing automation capability for a song. There are other route focused businesses we can recommend that can replace MapPoint if your needs are beyond the capabilities of Map Business Online.

Routes, Drive Time Calculations

Routes and drivetime related functions all use the same route engine. The limit on route calculations is 1200 per full year subscription. The user can purchase additional routes and drive time calculations at reasonable costs.

MapShare – Shared Interactive Web Maps

Map Business Online allows subscribers to share interactive web maps, up to 100 sessions per month, at no charge.  This is a great way to share map messages with your constituents. Your MapShare viewers will be able to:

  • View the data window (what you import is what you share) and query data records
  • Edit shared routes and create new routes
  • Export queries data results
  • Conduct radius and polygon searches
  • Measure straight line segments
  • Print maps
  • Save map image files (PNG and Jpeg)

This free viewer capability is both powerful and an amazing deal.

Market Analysis Searches

MBO includes a market analysis tool. The market analysis tool is used to compare two datasets, derive distances between points, search multiple radii, and append demographic data to imported data. Its limits are:

  • Search up to 30,000 center locations with no visible circles
  • Search up to 200 center locations with visible circles
  • Conduct market profiles on up to 1,000 store locations
  • Summarize demographic data on up to 1,000 center locations with no visible circles
  • Summarize demographic data on up to 200 center locations with visible circles

Free Trial Limits

Map Business Online offers a free 30-day trial.  The trial will allow the user to import up to 1,000 locations per map, 5,000 total locations – which means you’d be deleting previous imports. The user may save two maps and generate three territories per subscription. The trial will provide up to ten multi-stop routes and drive time calculations and route on up to five stops per route. Large format map PDF printouts are restricted to five and will include watermarks on all printed maps.

Collaborative Shared Map Editing – Team Subscriptions

Team subscriptions are used to set-up groups of collaborators for shared map editing.  Pricing discounts kick in at five or more users. Allowances for stored maps, routes, shared maps are aggregated across the subscription, which is a nice benefit for Team subscribers.

Legal and Security Stuff

When you consider a new mapping application you may have to direct your legal and IT departments to information they’ll be interested in.  You’ll find four links that will get them where they need to be:

The Pricing page officially outlines prices considerations by subscription option and includes restrictions.

Legal and Privacy links are at the bottom of any of the web pages.

Legal includes the software Terms of Use language, always popular with the legal people. Copyright allowances are found there as well.

And security is discussed at the MBO security page. We’re always willing to dive into security and privacy in detail when appropriate and required.

As always, if you have questions about pricing, security, software use, or limits on features please ask us via email or by calling.

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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How to Prepare for Sales Territory Mapping

With the advent of cloud-based online mapping software, businesses of all sizes have affordable access to sales territory mapping. There are six or seven product options listed online for cloud-based business mapping software. Desktop options tend to be GIS and legacy tools. Cloud services offer faster processes and up-to-date data layers.

Below are major benefits that sales territory maps bring to all sales organizations:

  • A shared platform for presenting clear sales goals and objectives
  • Customer map visualizations the encourage balanced workloads and opportunity planning
  • Accountability for sales reps through results tracking and map sharing
  • A platform for shared sales experiences and in-house training
  • Tools for defining new addressable markets

Such benefits are of serious interest to any wide-awake sales manager. The implementation of sales territory mapping is the opportunity to transform a spreadsheet-driven organization into a forward-thinking collaborative sales team. But how does one prepare to implement a new sales territory project?

Fortunately, for most businesses, the critical elements are already in place. All companies have customer lists, established account responsibilities, and a general idea of where their territories are located. What’s needed is some light data preparation and some business map work to create shared sales visualizations that inform the entire sales organization.

Choose Your Territory’s Base Geography

Standard business mapping tools that offer territory map solutions include a variety of map layers that may be your territory’s optimum base geography. Will it be ZIP code, county, state, 3-digit ZIPs, or some other administrative district?  Your base geography should reflect your customer density.

Are your customers located nationwide with very few customers located in dense clusters?  Then your territories should probably be based on states.  Using counties or ZIP codes for a relatively sparse customer density is overkill.

Is your customer base wide and deep with many clusters of customer locations in densely populated metropolitan areas? You may have many salespeople crisscrossing counties multiple times a week to call on accounts. Chances are that ZIP codes are the best geography base for your territories. ZIP codes also happen to be the most popular base geography for sales territory alignment.

Perhaps your business caters to government offices around the nation? In this case counties or even city geographies may be the best geographic units to support your sales territories.

Franchise businesses tend to choose ZIP codes for their territory base geography.  Service or retail-oriented, franchise businesses prefer neat, well-defined areas to sell and manage. ZIP codes offer manageable population segments to work with. ZIPs often contain clearly defined demographic characteristics that support sales projections or market analysis.

Gather the Location Data

Every company has addressed-based data useful for the development of sales territories. See your CRM administrator or perhaps your data department.  Every company I’ve worked manages customer data in different areas. Ask the person who generally manages email campaigns how to get a hold of customer data. Make sure you have permission.

You’ll want to get the most up-to-date dataset of customer locations by address, city, state, and ZIP. Add to that any lists of customer prospects your company may be using.

Gather a home location dataset for all sales representatives. You’ll want their home location to be the realistic location where they begin their day or week. This data becomes critical for sales planning, mileage tracking, and reasonable account assignments. In Colorado, asking a sales rep who starts his day in Denver to call on accounts in Grand Junction presents work load balance challenges.

Import these three business address datasets into a business mapping application.  Note customer densities. If you notice clusters of customers across the nation, you’re probably seeing the basic outline of your territory map. Color-code and symbolize your various data layers for easy identification on a shared map view.  Customer datasets should be primary, by which I mean make those colors and symbols more prominent on your map.  Sales potential or product interest are excellent factors for color shading and symbolization.

Competitor data is also nice to display on a territory map.  Competitor data may not be an updated dataset housed in your business. Ask someone who works for you, or take the time yourself, to jot down the names of major competitors with addresses. If your business is nationwide, all competitors may be a considerable list. Or it could be just a few major distributors. If you’ve been selling for more than a few weeks, you’ll know.

A territory map using 3-digit ZIP codes

Take a Step Back and View the Map

The visualization of existing customers, a sense of where your sales reps start their day, and a clear understanding of your geographic territory unit (ZIP codes or counties) will lead to your initial assignment of territory geographies. These first pass territories do not have to be etched in stone. Once your first pass is completed, meet with constituents and discuss workloads, compensation, and critical customer requirements.

All your doing is looking at a map. You are visualizing your business against an accurate map of the world. Pretty simple, right?  Sure, and critical as can be. Visualization of your critical map views is the core application of any business map. Take your time viewing the map. Share your map views with key constituents.  You’re looking for:

  • Trends and anomalies – Clusters of customers by type or geography
  • New market opportunities – Are there new business types popping up across the country you hadn’t noticed before?
  • Overlap – Are your sales reps overlapping too much in certain areas? Be aware of legacy accounts – they suck up sales time and commissions
  • Patterns – Always look for patterns

Territory Mapping Tools

Territory set-up can be accomplished by importing a list of ZIP codes with assigned territory names, or territories can be created using a polygon tool that collects small and large groups of ZIP codes and saves those records as a territory name. Either approach is editable simply by clicking ZIP codes or counties and adding or removing these from territory boundaries. It’s easy and it’s fun.

Typically, business mapping tools included a visual map view of your territory extent in addition to a tabular data sheet view of territory makeup by ZIP code. That tabular view will enable data layering so that territories can be associated with sales dollars, demographic categories, or other metrics relevant to your business. Read more on territory creation here.

Balance the Sales Load

Sales territories provide clear goals and defined areas of accountability for sales representatives. Healthy sales organizations strive to balance the sales workload for a variety of reasons:

  • A balanced workload motivates the entire sales team rather than burdening or rewarding just a few people in particular
  • A balanced workload incentivizes new salespeople to come up to speed quickly and join in the fun
  • A balanced workload helps distribute rewards and sales experience results fairly, leading to enhanced customer service and a stable workforce
  • A balanced workload helps the sales organization measure results and appropriately adjust to accommodate sales cycle requirements

Take some time to consider your current workload. Meet individually with your sales representatives.  There are probably a few tough questions to be asked. Use these meetings to identify the current workload balance and imbalance. Questions to consider:

  • Are the miles driven by each sales rep in a week or a month, roughly equal? Or are there some reps with extraordinary driving times that may need adjustment?
  • Are rep compensation packages fairly distributed based on seniority? Or are there legacy accounts clustered between one or two highly compensated sales reps, while the rest share the crumbs?
  • Are there overlapping sales driving areas such that multiple reps are crisscrossing the same ZIP codes regularly? Seek to minimize redundant driving
  • Are new markets being exposed across all territories, including senior rep accounts?
  • Do new members of the sales team understand the sales process, product features, and administrative requirements adequately?

Sales territory management can provide the structure required to address some of these critical selling issues. Fairness, efficiency, and non-overlapping driving times are achieved by establishing sensible areas of accountability with minimal legacy account assignments. Focus first on balanced workloads and then on customer requirements, last on legacy assignments.

Once established, sales territory maps become the centerpiece of the regular sales meeting. Sales meetings are used as platforms to share goals and objectives, publish results, and share strategies and tactics for achieving goals.

Territory Map Visualization

The visualization of sales territories levels the playing field for the entire sales team. It clearly depicts rep accountability by area, while serving as a platform for posted sales results.  The shared results encourage group discussion on how trouble spots can be improved. Sales stories should be encouraged. Shared tales of sales success and failure are the golden nuggets of sales territory meetings.

While reviewing sales results, stories are shared. Senior sales people have a wealth of sales knowledge to impart, while the young upstarts have an eye for new markets across the business’s coverage area. In this way, your sales team becomes more focused, more aware of legitimate opportunities. Encourage sales communication between your reps. That’s where the gold is buried.

Enhanced sales team communication through maps is especially critical as a way to expose new market opportunities. Legacy account impact, once critical to achieving company goals, often fade slowly over time.  Combining sales reports from the field with industry location data overlaid against territory maps will expose new market opportunities. Your key to a growth-oriented future.

Sales territory mapping defines current goals and lays out the rules for sales processes and sales accountability. Maps define expectations. Sales territories also act as a platform for sales success sharing and the identification and development of new markets. Territory maps help define company direction.

For these reasons, a little sale territory map preparation is time well spent.

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson


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For First Time Users of Map Business Online

First time Map Business Online users might be interested in a brief description of how to build their first business map. That’s the intent of this blog, at any rate. I’m putting myself in your shoes and going through the process of building a basic map.

Do this exercise first, then go back and create your desired map.  BTW – the attached video is a marketing video showing overall capabilities and MBO can nicely replace Microsoft MapPoint.

Assuming you are starting from the company website, you first need to register for a free trial or subscribe for 90 days or a year. Once you’ve completed that process, go back to and from the website click the word Map towards the left of the main menu bar. This will launch Map Business Online, which takes about thirty seconds to load.

Dialogue to Create a New Map

Once the application is up you will be looking at a map of the United States (or Canada or the UK depending upon your subscription.)

  1. Click the left most button on the Map Business Online Master Toolbar which will let you Create a New Map.  Choose the USA or Canada option when creating your first map. A new map template will now load. You’ll see the map of North America and you will also see Map & Data.
  2. Notice Map & Data – a light blue box floating over the west side of your map. Map & Data controls which map layers (ZIPS, counties, states, or your imported data) are turned on. Here’s a video explaining the Map and Data box. By hovering over those layers, the user can access editing features including:
  3. Color shading of map layers
  4. Border thicknesses
  5. Transparency adjustments
  6. Layer labeling options
  7. Using Map & Data, turn the State Layer on by clicking the State Layer check box. Hover over that layer in Map & Data and click the settings gear. Try a few of the tools in Settings.  Move the transparency bar to the right to see its effect on the map. Uncheck the Fill Box.  Play with the map layer outline controls. Then close the Map & Data settings box. Now close Map & Data. Where did it go?  To reopen Map & Data find the light blue arrow button at the far left of your map screen right in the middle of the left side panel. Click that arrow to open Map & Data.
  8. Take a moment to move your cursor to the upper righthand corner of the application. This is the Navigation Tool. Drag that vertical slider up and down to watch the map Zoom in and Zoom out. Click the American Flag to zoom to a USA wide view. Use the back and forward arrows. Lastly, click the magnifying glass and drag your cursor from left to right across the map. That is a handy zoom tool.
  9. Import some of your own map data. Click the fifth button in from the left on the Master Toolbar. Navigate to where your data is stored on your laptop, desktop or Mac, and import your address or lat/lon dataset. Make sure your dataset has separate columns for each data component – Address, City, State, and ZIP. Here’s a video on importing data into MBO. 
  10. Master Toolbar buttons (from the left) 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 are symbolizing and color shading controls that can enhance your imported data. Try each one. You can always undue the changes – see deletion options at button 14.
  1. If you have a territory spreadsheet, try importing it using the 6th button in from the left on the Master Tool bar. If not, use a polygon search tool at button 15 to select a group of ZIP codes or Counties and create a sales territory.

Saving Your Map

Once your map is created, save it by clicking the Save Map button three buttons in from the left side on the Master Toolbar. A word about saving your map. Map Business Online always opens to the map you exited from when you closed MBO. But your map is not saved until you hit the Save Button. Don’t be fooled by this. MBO makes it convenient to pick up where you left off, but it’s not saved until you hit the Save Map button.

Once your map is saved you can retrieve it by clicking the Map Library file folder icon, second button from the left. When you save you can choose to save as a map file or as a template. Templates are great for repeat map work.

These are the two most common ways people lose saved maps:

  1. By not paying attention when saving and forgetting to save a map with a new name.
  2. By letting someone else log into your account and create or edit maps. That violates the subscription terms, but it also puts your saved maps at great risk.

Try Other Stuff

Once your basic map is saved, try the following commonly applied processes to fine tune your expertise:

  • Build a radius map – video.
  • Use the draw tools – video.
  • Learn about the Data Window – video.

Creating a business map may feel intimidating at first. Most software processes feel that way. But, once you’ve mastered the basic processes of online map creation you’ll have added a whole new tool set to your work persona. You’ve stepped over the line into the realm of Map Geek.

Welcome to 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 to Create a Zip Code Map

A ZIP code is a group of five numbers that are added to a postal address to assist the sorting of mail.

That is the definition of a ZIP code. It states nothing about boundaries or areas. The lowly ZIP code was invented to help mail sorting and delivery. But because the ZIP code does represent, in general, a delivery area, third parties got involved and began assigning area boundaries to many of the 41,024 ZIP codes. These boundaries can vary, although in general, all the parties agree on the boundary layout. Regardless of boundary accuracy, the ZIP code map is one of the most popular forms of business mapping.

Please keep in mind, ZIP codes come in two flavors – boundary and point.  There are 33,461 boundaried ZIPs. The rest are points. Read about the types of ZIP codes here.

Changes to ZIP code numbers and areas do occur. State-of-the-art cloud-based mapping services will keep ZIP codes up-to-date. Gone are the days of installed updates. The Cloud takes care of software and data updates behind the curtain.

All business mapping products provide ZIP codes as a map layer. Business map users prefer ZIP codes to states, counties or other administrative districts for business analysis, sales territory alignment, and demographic analysis. Sure, many map users use other jurisdictions, but the lowly ZIP gets most of the play. Take that counties!

ZIP codes are extremely convenient map jurisdictions for many reasons.

The Goldilocks Area

ZIP codes satisfy a basic human urge to understand the area immediately around us. Prehistoric hunter-gatherers would have preferred ZIP codes too.  The ZIP code is walkable in less than a day, in most cases. This means the human mind can easily grasp its size relative to where we spend most of our time.

The ZIP code is usually not too large, and only in extremely densely populated areas is it very small.  For the most part, a ZIP code is just right for a representative sample of population, area topography, local fauna, housing types, or even road networks.

Because a ZIP code is designed to facilitate mail delivery, it tends to provide a reasonable area of dedicated mobility for field services. Home care agencies and repair services like to work their coverage areas by ZIP code. I will note, that for inner city home car agencies I have seen coverage areas described by Census Tract, because a more granular solution than ZIP codes may be preferable downtown. Imagine providing home care services to a ZIP code based coverage area in downtown Manhattan. Kill me now.

All this is to say that for newbies to business mapping, ZIP codes are a great place to start understanding what your location-based data reveals when displayed against a business map.

Import Your Location-based Data

A customer address list is the most commonly applied location-based dataset imported into business mapping software. But it could be any data set with address locations. We recommend you use address level detail. Geocoding your data by ZIP code only will stack repeat location points, one on top of another. You want your location data spread out across the map like it is in the real world.

Full address locations are closer to the real deal – approximating where houses and businesses are actually located. Latitude and longitude locations are even better.  Keep in mind, on digital maps, address ranges are most often applied, as opposed to exact coordinate locations. These ranges are typically close enough, but they can sometimes vary widely from reality, even placing points on the wrong side of the street. That’s a fact of map life folks. Maps are not perfect, they are a work in process. Ask Columbus.

ZIP Code Map Layer

Once your data set of customers, store locations, patients, or tennis courts, is uploaded into your business mapping software, you’ll notice a few things. With or without ZIP codes turned on, your data may exhibit clusters or close groupings of data. This may not indicate anything special, or it could display opportunities to consolidate workloads in the case of field workers. Or for a crime statistic map, it could indicate a perpetrator lives or works nearby. If the map shows all your employees live in one neighborhood, maybe it’s time for HR to conduct a diversity campaign?

Turn on a ZIP code layer and begin to think about organizing your business map.  What if you color coded your ZIP code layer based the number of imported location records that exist within each ZIP code? In other words, color code your ZIP codes based on counts.

Typically, color coding ZIP codes involve selecting that ZIP code layer and choosing your imported layer to color by. Pick the count per ZIP code or some other numeric column in your imported data, adjust the range and color options and “Viola!” Read more: Color-coded ZIP codes.

After you’ve played with your ZIP code map and your imported data. Try working with demographic data associated with the ZIP code.  You can color code by demographic themes like population segments, income segments, or age segments. Or you could import demographic data into your ZIP code label for reference. Area totals will aggregate by ZIP area, or by territory sections you’ve established by ZIP code.

This means a territory made up of five ZIP codes will reflect the demographic totals of those five ZIP codes summed.  Consider displaying critical demographic information by ZIP or territory label if you feel it will both contribute to the map intent and help inform your map viewer. For instance, a map describing murder rates across a metro area might be made more valuable if population by ethnicity or age group were included by ZIP code. Or that information might be considered offensive. Be thoughtful as you build your map.

Maps are subjective. This means you control the map message and your audience will react based on the information you’ve shared and their subjective opinions on the subject at hand. Think before you go live with your map. Consider sharing it with colleagues to verify the validity and look for accidental bonehead messages.

Let ZIP Codes Teach You About Your Surroundings

ZIP Code Map Tips

Always be sure to adjust transparency settings on your administrative district map layers. You should be able to make the ZIP code, state or county layers transparent, so the background map features shine through.

Use subdued colors, to keep the map looking professional.  It’s a business map, not a carnival announcement.

Use state and county map layers to provide orientation for your map viewers. I typically include state boundaries as a dark not too thin boundary layer. I think state, and county outlines relieve the ZIP code map viewer’s eye strain. A viewer’s brain can focus on one state at a time, instead of trying to take in a huge section of ZIP codes all at once.

For really focused ZIP code maps consider building territories or areas of interest and eliminating all or most other ZIP code areas.

Avoid presenting too many themes in one map. Busy maps are distracting and detract from your map intent. If you find yourself being asked to cater to competing themes, consider creating multiple maps or create color schemes for several map layers (ZIP & counties) and turn only one layer on at a time. Keep the map as uncluttered as possible.

Always remember your map has a message, a reason for being. Do not cover up your map message with superfluous layers, too much text, or obnoxious and distracting symbology.

Business maps are for business and ZIP code maps are a great way to describe your business reality. Whatever that may be.

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson



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Locations-based Data and Business Mapping – What’s the Big Deal?

Established businesses and start-up businesses are generally run by smart people. Unless you’re selling water to long distance runners in the desert, it takes careful thought, planning, and vision to run a successful business. Many businesses have been successfully managed for years by smart people without the help of business mapping software. So, what’s the big deal about location-based visualization and planning tools?

The short answer is information, perspective, and spatial vision. Below is a longer answer.

Informed Decision-Making

All that careful thought, planning, and predicting the future leads to good (and bad) decisions. Business decisions set policies. Policies are implemented by trusted employees and partners. You could say that the previous three sentences describe all business.  Ideas and plans are hatched, decisions are made, and policies are implemented.  Pretty simple, and a sure-fire success when there is no competition.

Dealing with Competitors

But alas, you do have competition. Blockbuster had Netflix, Walmart has Target, Amazon has Walmart, and your company has its competitors too. To deal effectively with competition you’re going to require reliable information. Information helps managers make decisions about sales, products, distribution, marketing, and every other aspect of business. When plenty of pertinent information is presented to a planning session, the decision-making improves.

So, when smart business managers lead planning sessions in preparation for big decisions, they gather all the information they can. They want the sales forecast, the marketing plan, the product plan, the service plan, the budget, production requirements, and they may develop a SWOT analysis too.

Make a New Plan Stan

All these plans and analysis are studied to determine what the next steps should be after answering questions like these:

  • Is the business expanding or contracting? Do we need more room or less room?
  • Are there new, untapped markets we should be entering?
  • Are there new geographical areas we should be exploring?
  • Is the sales team focused on the right goals and objectives?
  • If we invest in more salespeople, how soon would that investment payback?
  • Who are our major competitors, where are they located, and how do we beat them?
  • Are we able to take full advantage of our most lucrative opportunities in sales, production, and facilities?

I am sure there are many more questions and opportunities that businesses attempt to answer through all sorts of business analysis. But one thing most of these key questions have in common is that they can be tied to a location component. By leveraging the location components inherent in your business data, you gain spatial vision and a competitive edge.

Location Component

A location component is an aspect of your business data that can be tied to a location on Earth. (We’ll keep off-planet locations out of the picture for now.) Customers, competitors, and prospects have addresses.  Sales data is often compiled by address, but it could be aggregated by ZIP code, county, or even territory. Consumer purchase patterns tend to be viewed geographically.

Product use can be and should be tracked by area. Think about it. A product might sell really well in a ZIP code made up of specific demographics.  By including product use by ZIP code in your business analysis you’re able to expose unexplored and fertile ZIP codes across the country for that very same product. That’s leveraging the value of location.

Physical locations by latitude and longitude are applied by many businesses to track field assets such as ATMs, billboards, candy machines, and thousands of other point-of-sale or point-of-marketing elements. When you understand the physical realities surrounding these field asset locations, decisions focused on assets and asset management improve.  Those physical realities include traffic, weather, demographics, and many other area aspects pertinent to your business.

Location data visualized transforms data into good decisions. Good decisions drive growth, minimize liabilities, and maximize profit. Pass the address data, please.

Through the visualization of location-based business data, online mapping software generates answers that inform strategic and tactical decision making. These map visualizations tie your business metrics to areas of interest that impact your company’s future. Map visualizations also ingest multiple, and possibly disparate, datasets into one analysis matrix based on geography.

Where common business data analysis might be spreadsheet-based or a pivot chart variation, business mapping is geography-based. Geography-based data analysis unlocks new avenues of analysis and business modeling. This spatial vision includes:

  • Defining an addressable market
  • Creating market profiles by ZIP code or county
  • Sales territory alignment for sales planning and sales accountability
  • Sales experience sharing through shared map discussions
  • Expansion planning assessments
  • Competitor analysis
  • Strategic planning SWOT maps
  • Visualization histories for tracking company progress over years

All these geographic perspectives lend credible background information and possibly crucial new perspectives for improved decision making, expansive strategic planning, or for establishing clear goals and objectives in a five-year plan.

Vibrant businesses and smart business people require as much information as they can to generate the wisest business decisions possible.  Location-based data is one of the critical elements contributing to a healthy decision-making process. Call it what you will – location awareness, situational awareness, or just being wide-awake.

Make sure your business strategy sessions and decision-making processes are supported by tools like business mapping software. Available as affordable cloud-based services, business mapping tools are simply a must-have option.

Our world changes rapidly due to the nature of technology.  Don’t get left behind. Harness technology and location-based data to your competitive advantage. Be that smart businessperson proactively planning your business’s future by seeking reliable information, new perspectives, and generating spatial vision.

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson

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4 Tips for Improving Your Sales Territory Divisions

A Sales Territory Map

One of the ways sales leaders are making a difference for their teams and their businesses is by ensuring that they have properly divided sales territories. Whether you’re starting from scratch or are looking to redesign your existing territories, having a solid plan is essential.

With so many industries moving to data driven decision making, it’s not surprising that many sales organizations use business mapping software to properly divide sales territories. In fact, sales is one of three primary roles driving Business Intelligence (BI) adoption in 2018.

Gaining the measurable results that BI data provides immediately is hard to pass up. But what are the tangible benefits? Well for starters, an increase in sales potential. Your sales force will be spending more time in front of the right customers and less time traveling. Additionally, a decrease in the cost of sales. Having sales territories optimally aligned means shorter drive times and the travel expenses that go along with them, meaning that the overall sale is more profitable.

Outside of just improving the cost of sales, smart territory alignment means that you can move faster when a new opportunity comes your way, to the delight of your customer and more quickly than your competition.

The importance of having great talent on your sales teams cannot be overstated. Keeping your sales force satisfied is essential. When your sales territories are properly aligned, workloads are balanced and earning potential is fair and improved, leading to overall career satisfaction. Satisfied employees are generally more motivated, which also translates to happy customers.

With all of the benefits of properly aligned sales territories, how can you go about improving your own divisions? Here are four tips.

1.   Know Your Goals and Objectives

When adopting any new platform into your tech stack, it’s important to first start by establishing your goals and objectives. Often sales territories are defined in relation to a company’s go-to-market-strategies. Knowing what your strategies are as well as how you define territories helps when choosing how you’ll design your base unit of measurement.

Traditionally, sales territories have been divided using geographical boundaries such as zip codes, census tracts, cities, counties, states, or specific regions of the country. Doing this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re capturing all of the opportunities you have and can also mean that your resources are placed in the wrong areas.

Looking at your goals and objectives with a business mapping tool allows you to use base measurements such as average sales size by location in order to design territories. The tool looks at more comprehensive data like industry trends and which territories have the most potential, regardless of geography.

2.   Design and Visualize Sales Territories

The problem with aligning sales representatives with geographical locations is that it doesn’t always equate to equal distribution of prospects among the sales team, nor the right salesperson for the right area. It’s important to look at data that ensures territory balance and alignment. This means looking at trends, customer segmentation, potential geographic restraints due to traffic patterns or mobility issues, and the performance of specific sales representatives.

Using business mapping combined with customer-specific data from your customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can prioritize customers and prospects, import supportive external data, determine if an area is over-served or underserved, and view territory hierarchies to locate where customer bases are located. Not all CRMs are built the same, so search for a CRM that will integrate directly with your mapping software, or check out the reviews and recommendations on

3.   Optimize Routing

One of the best ways to save money on sales calls is to ensure that your sales representatives spend their time on the accounts with the highest revenue potential, while incurring the least amount of travel. This can be done by an analysis of the shortest routes based upon mode of transportation, an analysis of geometric coordinates for each location, and an analysis of how much time is required to travel within each territory.

4.   Track Your Results

Every strategy involves tracking your results. Once you’ve gone through the process of mapping your territories based upon intelligence data, it’s important to look back to see what’s working well, and where you have opportunities.

Analyze whether or not sales have increased in specific regions or markets. Are there large gaps in different territories? Are their sales representatives struggling to keep up with all of the leads they have? Do you have other representatives struggling to meet their quota? Are there markets that could use more support? Is this a market issue or a mapping issue, or something else entirely?

Designing your sales territories based upon the data intelligence of business mapping software takes away traditional things like geography and population and looks at things like growth potential and profitability. This removes guess work, and better aligns your team with their territories, improving relationships with clients and ultimately the bottom line.

Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for, with specializations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.

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How Can I Derive Demographic Data Related to a Radius or Circle Search?

We get many requests for work flows to achieve a variety of business mapping results. One common request is to derive demographic data from a circle around a point on a demographic map. In other words, here’s an address, draw a 25 mile circle around it and tell me the population of that area.

Many customers require demographic data circle query search results in their work. These population or income results add value to strategic planning, expansion planning, competitor analysis, and other business analysis.

Like a Circle in a Circle or a Wheel Within a Wheel
Of course, the circle radius parameters can vary greatly depending on the particular business using MBO and the nature of the inquiry. Some users are extremely zoomed into the map, viewing circles of just a few miles across. Others prefer a wider view and could request a circle radius of 50 miles or more. And yes, Thomas Crown, you can insert multiple circles on the map.

Enter Demographic Data
Demographic data requirements can vary as well. Usually population is the requested demographic category. However, median income and household data are often requested and there’s a list of many more categories available within our growing US Census data library. Census data is compiled every ten years with occasional updates. We’ve posted the latest update from 2016. We’ll compile more data as it becomes available and as it fits it into our busy software release schedule.

Our demographic data is presented in MBO by geographic district, also referred to as map layer. The user can request demographic data by zip5 code, zip3 code, county, state, Census tract, Metropolitan Statistic Area,  City Limit and most recently Congressional District.

When you choose to derive population by a circle or a polygon or even a drive time area, the application applies your shape to the underlying district of choice. You draw your circle or shape and then select the district layer to apply – usually people choose zip codes. That area is going to approximate the circle or polygon based on the district boundaries. The resultant shape will include any areas of the district layer touched by the drawn shape. So any zip code touched by the circle will be included in the demographic results.  In MBO the user can adjust the search area intersection rules in Map and Data. Click the Map and Data Edit Gear and at the bottom select Edit Search Options, to adjust how your map object considers may layer intersections – intersect 50%, intersect fully inside, or intersect.

The circle or radius tool is available in multiple places in the application – on the overall tool bar, on the mini-tool bar at selected data points, or even in the list of draw tool options. Drive time queries are available on overall tool bar and or at the data point – see the mini-tool bar. If you’ve only selected or checked on zip codes in Map & Data then the spatial query will default to a search of the zip code layer and immediately offer a save-name option for that area of interest or territory you’ve just created – a zip code map.

The Data Window pops up to show you your list of Zip Codes, Counties or States etc. The Data Window is essentially a spreadsheet tool within MBO. Here, in your area of interest Data Window spreadsheet, is where you click Add Data and grab that General data drop down option, on the left. Choose Demographic Data and go to town (or have a ball, as the case may be). Population, households, even ethnicity can be moved over from Left to Right in the panel. Then Set the Data Column values in the lower right. Refer to the video above for a step by step view of the process.

Once you’ve assigned your demographic data to your area of interest or territory, you’ll notice a Total button at the bottom of your territory view. This will let you see the total population by territory. Thus you can use the tool to visually selected an area of interest by circle or shape, and then fine tune that area by adding additional zip codes to the territory and increase the population; if you are into that sort of thing.

With MBO subscriptions you are allowed to export the data out for use outside the application. Typically that process (a button click on the far right of the Data Window toolbar) works well. However, Excel versions vary widely and can behave strangely depending on versions or on how many Excel sheets you have open. Some suggestions:

• Save your file as an [Name].XLS as you export. You could also save as [Name}.CSV. MBO exports to .CSV as a default
• Shut down all other Excel windows when exporting from MBO

You can always re-query your circle or shape for other data layers – just select the shape again and click the binoculars. You are limited to querying one data layer at a time.

So now you know the secret to grabbing demographic data in a circle around a point. I will reiterate that the actual numbers reflect the zip codes, counties, or states touched by that circle and not the area of the circle itself. If you need something that precise, you should contact geographic information systems (GIS) companies like for a more scientific result. Bring your credit card.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson  (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

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Top 5 Reasons Your Boss is Wrong to Not Replace Microsoft MapPoint Now

I know, your boss is a great guy but he’s notoriously cheap. He skimps on expenses until the end of the year, then he spends what’s left in his budget on anything and everything during the month of December.  What an innovative manager.

I can hear him now, “I spent $350 on MapPoint in 2008. That’s enough to spend on a mapping application.”  Unfortunately, it’s not. Not if you believe that business mapping software has value for business visualization, territory design, and strategic analysis.

Perhaps your boss should explain to his boss why the company business maps are no longer accurate and, in many cases, no longer useful to your company’s planning processes? I’m sure the C-suite execs will love the fact that your boss saved the company $200.

For a decade MapPoint provided a wonderful business mapping software. But Microsoft grew weary of maintaining the software and paying the licensing fees for map data and demographic data. Now, if your company wants to conduct location-based business analysis or build sales territories, they’ll need to move forward with a new map provider with updated data and enhanced feature sets. Here’ why:

  1. MapPoint Map Data is Obsolete

Microsoft eliminated MapPoint in 2014. But it stopped upgrading the application five years prior to cancelation. So, any maps you created since 2009 using MapPoint are subject to ever-increasing errors. ZIP codes are old, addresses are old, demographic data is obsolete. No mapping application is perfect because data does change; streets change, numbering sequences get updated, ZIP codes get renamed. It’s a challenge to keep up. But that’s what business mapping applications do. If you build a territory using MapPoint today you are creating a problem.

  1. MapPoint Was Never Cloud-Based

Your boss paid a one-time fee for that MapPoint desktop version, as opposed to a subscription. But that means the chances are good that no software updates or data updates have been installed since. New business mapping applications are Cloud-based. Cloud services do not require intensive data uploads or software updates via CD’s or downloads.  Cloud service updates happen behind the scenes while you’re in bed (or asleep at your desk, as the case may be.) Cloud services also mean you can log in from any computer anywhere.

  1. Sales Territory Mapping

MapPoint was a great tool in its day. Features like territory mapping were wonderful. But about fifteen years ago, MapPoint sales territory map innovation stopped.  New Cloud-based mapping applications offer advanced sales territory mapping capabilities that enable easy territory creation and updates can be made on the fly.  Import spreadsheets that define sales territories. Balance sales territories using demographic data or imported sales activity.  Sales territory mapping defines goals and accountability for sales organizations. That’s too important a role to leave in the hands of ten-year-old software.

  1. Sales Planning Tools

MapPoint gave away a lot of routing functionality.  MapPoint users who built fleet tracking tools using the MapPoint API will require replacement software costing tens of thousands of dollars. But for most sales planners and traveling salespeople using MapPoint to plan daily or weekly routes, new cloud-based mapping services are the perfect replacement. Optimized routing with multi-point stop-off creation of up to 150 points is standard in most sales routing tools. These tools include time windows support, route avoids, and the ability to export route files in various formats.

  1. Business Analysis

Businesses use mapping software to supplement all sorts of business planning and analysis. There’s a growing understanding of the power of location-based analysis, especially when applied to strategic planning, sales analysis, market studies, and competitive analysis. It’s not acceptable to simply live without these map-based visualizations just because Microsoft decided it was out of the mapping game.

Cloud-based business mapping applications offer demographic overlays, potential market analysis, NAICS industry segment analysis, business listings, and many more versions of business analysis.

Business maps provide critical views of customers, opportunities, competitors, resources, and assets in the field. Don’t let your boss live another day without the aid of business mapping software.

Be the office hero and re-introduce your business to the power of business mapping, today.

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

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

Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson


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