Color Coding Your Data by Administrative District

A few weeks ago we talked about using your business mapping software to symbolize and color code imported business data. This was accomplished using address points on a map and symbology tools. You can also color code your imported business data by administrative district.

Administrative districts are included as map layers in Map Business Online. The administrative district map layer options are: 5 digit zip code, 3 digit zip code, county, state, city limit, metropolitan statistical area (MSA), and Census Tract. Any of these districts support color coding by your imported data, or color coding by census demographics, included with the program.

Color Your Data by District
You might be a sales organization or you might be a delivery company. Either way you could find value in color coding your data by district. For this exercise let’s use the county layer as our administrative district. You’ve imported your business data as map points but it doesn’t quite fit the map you had in mind. First, turn off your imported point layer.

By clicking on the three puzzle-piece icon on the master Tool Bar you can select your data and the column in your data to color code by. You should notice a few extra options in the data column selector:

• You can choose to color code by data count – pick “Count” to do this. This will show you the number of records in each county. Choose your range of colors – do you want just 2 colors or many colors? For instance, pick a range of 3 colors to represent how many records per county might show – 1 to 5 records (blue), 6 to 10 records (green), and 11 to 25 records (red). The legend will explain the color number sequence to your map audience. When you hover over the district a Call-Out label pops up and displays the actual count. Keep in mind, MBO will count records for you. There may still be reasons to include a count column in your data, but you don’t have to.

• You can choose to “Average” or “Total” a numeric value column like sales dollars, or delivery stops. Proceed as above to select a range of color shades and the numeric breakdown for the gradations of data. This means you can import all sales in a state and show sales volume in dollars by county. And this could be applied to any district segment you choose – zip, state, etc.

Sales Results by District
I like using color code by state or county to display sales numbers. It’s a quick way to communicate what’s happening by geographic area at a high level. Your audience will see the colors you’ve chosen and they’ll glance at the legend to confirm how the dollars volume ranges are applied.

Even better, with business mapping software you can add data from your spread sheet to the district label or call out. You can even plot data points from your spreadsheet to your territory names. How cool is that? It means you can use those same Count, Total, and Average functions to display results at the end of the quarter or whatever period your company likes to focus on.

For example, each month you create a map that displays sales results by salesperson. Within the map layer that corresponds to your territory (zip code, county, etc.) you can choose to add Sales Totals to the territory call out. Now your map displays territories, territory names, perhaps some customer data points, and the sales results for your company’s latest measurement period. You could even layer-in actual sales points as a heat map to liven things up.

Demographic Layers
Color coding by administrative district can be used to add demographic frames of reference to your business map. Turn on the city limit layer and color code those districts by population or income. In consumer, medical or government related businesses, city limit demographics adds a level of understanding to a business map. You can display where you’re doing business and understand why on a fundamental level; it’s where the people and the money are. You can also quickly see where you are not doing business and where a significant amount of people maybe missing out on your product or service.

Color coding your business data by administrative district provides a fresh perspective on your organization’s areas of influence. By mixing up color coding options, displaying your data by point, by district, by heat-map or by varying circle, you can highlight various aspects and trends in your business data. Get creative with your business mapping tools. Wake up your audience while keeping the map simple. Pretty soon you’ll be top dog, in the map department anyway.

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