Most Map Business Online customers import location-based business spreadsheets into business mapping software on a regular basis. This is a core function of our product. Whether the data is for customer mapping, retail mapping or some other business data visualization, the data is imported in and applied towards business mapping.
But, as my wife often says before discussing a problem I’ve somehow left unresolved, “Here’s the thing”: business data changes. What was fine yesterday needs adjustments today. Data records need to be updated.
In Map Business Online there are several approaches you can take to update imported data. A subscriber who has imported a dataset can simply locate a record within that data either on the map or via the Data Window and proceed to change an individual data record:
• Change its location on the map
• Edit specific data fields, one field at a time
These incremental changes may be all that’s required to update your imported map list of addresses. It’s a great solution for up to half a dozen field adjustments at a time.
Additionally, you may want to add a few points to an imported dataset. No problem. Drop a point on the map or key in the address of the new data point. When you do this a little tool bar will pop-up just underneath the added point and a dialogue box will appear for adding a record. In this dialog you can choose to add the location to an existing dataset or start creating a new one. Again, this is great for a few data points at a time.
You can certainly change many more points incrementally if you like, but it can get tedious. And tedious can lead to errors in your imported data layer. And before you know it, somebody is saying, “Here’s the thing.” And believe me, you don’t want that.
So, what are you to do if you have many map points to update? To accommodate this eventuality we added a Unique Identity feature to the plot data points process. You’ll notice when you import data that the next to the last dialogue page offers a drop down field locator for Unique Identity. If you plan on updating your data en mass moving forward then you should insert an identifying number scheme into your spreadsheets.
That unique identifier has only one requirement – each number must be unique. If there are any repeats it will reject that column for use as unique ID’s. So, name them well. You can use random numbers, customer numbers, account numbers, or a series of numbers in order – just make sure they are all unique for every record in your data.
Once you’ve imported a unique number set you are ready to update your imported data all at once. In Excel or your database program of choice, generate the dataset you want to use as the updated data. In your Map Business Online map project, go to Map & Data and choose to edit your target data layer – the one you want to update. Select – “Update dataset from file.” If you get a message that says, “Dataset cannot be updated” this means you do not have unique identifiers in your data for proper record match-up. If you do have a unique ID match, proceed with the update. In just a few clicks your data on the map will be refreshed and you can return to your regularly scheduled work-flow.
API for Advanced Automation
Data Updates can be further automated if you have a programmer on staff. That person can review our Application Programming Interface and work with us on the set-up. Please let us know if you have interest in such automation. As Map Business Online becomes the primary MapPoint alternative we’d like to hear about other automated processes you used under MapPoint.
Here’s the Thing
And the next time you hear, “Here’s the thing,” coming your way, try rolling a ball of verbal tin foil across the room by saying, “Hey, did I tell you the skin doctor “(insert any critical medical provider here)”called with test results?” This usually generates a series of questions and up to a full five minutes of speculation as to who the results are for, giving you adequate time to insert a whole new subject into the mix and hopefully get the hell out of the room. You’re welcome.
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