Have You Added City Limits to Your Map?

Last month we added four new administrative district layers to our business mapping software. They include Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), Zip 3, City Limits, and Census Tracts. These are now usable within the map view next to standard 5 digit Zip Code, County, and State layers. Of the new layers added, I really like the city limits layer.

City limits really means town and city boundaries. The city boundaries layer adds an appropriate business focus to your map’s general business purpose. Zip codes and counties work great for demographic studies, sales assessment, territory mapping and such, but when you add city areas to your map there is a visual component that your audience relates to both in terms of familiar geography, and in terms of demographic reality. Cook county zips are one thing and extremely valuable, but a clear view of the city limits surrounding Chicago, color-coded for demography, can really expand situational awareness, depending of course upon the situation.

Sales Orgs & City Limits
Sales and franchise organizations that arrange territory responsibility by zip code may find the addition of city limits to be a fine way to prioritize sales focus; a way to not ‘sweat the small stuff.’ Map users can color code city limits across the nation by population and deliberately leave out city limits containing less than 5000 people. This exercise keeps the sales team focused on the right areas of interest. Save this map view as a reference map in your work flow. If a new agency has interest in a metro area, using your mouse to fly to that area and assess its relationship to surrounding cities. Make that visual assessment part of your business work flow.

City Limits in Sales Planning
Color coding city limits could offer a sales road warrior a way to organize their monthly trips around their territory. While zip codes remain the territory segment of choice, the city limits could be divided into five sections and color coded to reflect the day of the week or month that you travel there. Prospecting or selling by metro-zone might prove to be an efficient way to run your territory. And it never hurts to import a list of your favorite (or your customer’s favorite) restaurants either. Saved search idea: “All Denny’s locations within 15 miles of Dorothy’s office.” CRM note: Dorothy likes the Grand Slamwich®.

Sales Territory Planning & City Limits
Sometimes new business mapping users, tasked with building a nationwide territory scheme come to me overwhelmed by the prospect. “I have 1700 territories to build and I don’t know where to start,” I heard recently. The addition of a city limit layer, with or without demography, can lend just the right amount of organization to a new territory project.
Not everyone has a visual sense of where cities are. Hard to believe, I know, but true. So when a boss rattles off priorities like Cook County, Maricopa County, and Harris County, as she rushes off to a meeting, the map administrator can start with a city limit view of the USA and do a few quick look ups that connect those county names to Chicago, Phoenix, and Houston. Once a user creates one or two territories in a major metropolitan area, the rest follow an easy pattern.

So consider making that city limit map of the USA color coded by population or median income and keeping that map view for reference purposes. As new territories or franchise regions are considered, such a map just might be a great starting point. Pick the city in question and do some viewing.

Health Care & City Limits
Home health care and hospice coverage areas are very often represented by zip codes. Zip codes will contain varying populations of elderly that can be correlated to clinician territory assignments. These geographic assignments are often capacity matches of clinicians with elderly population segments and tend to involve no small amount of fanagling to make the day-to-day schedules happen efficiently. City limits add familiar areas of interest for driving clinicians and schedulers to consider in their day-to-day planning activities. Sometimes splitting city limits in half based on major highway bi-sections or while triaging an area during a flu epidemic can help manage your crisis of the week?

Focus in on those city limits, print a wall map for planning purposes, assign a SWAT team until the crisis is passed. Make your map points. Use the city limits layer to add orientation labels, to provide familiar boundaries, and to describe critical areas.

So be sure to use city boundaries to enhance your map business, no mater what business or area you live in.

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About Geoffrey Ives

Geoffrey Ives lives and works in southwestern Maine. He grew up in Rockport, MA and graduated from Colby College. Located in Maine since 1986, Geoff joined DeLorme Publishing in the late 1990's and has since logged twenty-five years in the geospatial software industry. In addition to business mapping, he enjoys playing classical & jazz piano, gardening, and taking walks in the Maine mountains with his Yorkshire Terrier named Skye.
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