Most business mapping software allows users to create and maintain territories based on geographic districts like zip codes, counties or states. These sales territories can be created by importing spreadsheets that designate the territory assignment or they could be created using a polygon or radius search too that collects the zip codes of an area and converts them into a territory. There are actually more ways to create territories using geographic districts but I want talk about another set of tools today.
Sometimes users don’t want territories based on zip codes, they just want to designate an area based on landmarks, roads, or rivers. They want free-form draw tools. Fortunately Map Business Online includes a set of draw tools for just such an occasion. The Draw Tools are located on the tool bar with the icon that says “Abc” with a white background. There is a drop down arrow there that will display all the draw related tools.
These tools are basic line, polygon, circle and point tools for placing objects on your map view. There is also an option to insert a Text Box anywhere on the map.
Map Business Online drawing tools often get overlooked because we Map Geeks tend to apply MBO to sales territory mapping and customer visualization. Drawing tools just aren’t as sexy as drive time analysis or strategic planning. Still, we do get inquiries from business mapping customers who simply want to annotate the map. That’s why we provide a full set of draw tools – look for the Text button on the master tool bar. If you’ve already selected a draw tool, that specific draw tool icon will replace the Text button on the master toolbar for a while. Right now, that button is located seven buttons in from the right side. The toolbar tends to shift as we add functionality to the product. Just fyi.
The draw tool drop-down shows you all nine draw tools. They include:
- A radius or circle draw tool – Choose this tool and place a point anywhere on the map and drag to the left to create a circle of any size you want. You can move the circle by mouse hovering and clicking the four arrow icon when it appears. You can also expand or contract the circle by dragging the orange and yellow box on its circumference. All the draw tools behave similarly.
- A polygon draw tool – Select and draw any shaped polygon with line sides by moving your mouse on the map and clicking to change direction. Complete back to the beginning point. You can adjust your map object by pulling on orange-yellow boxes or the edges of the polygon.
- A freeform draw tool – Same as above except the shape is free-form. Perfect for flower children and hipsters.
- A drive-time draw tool – The drive time draw tool allows the user to create a drive time polygon on the map, based on user selected times or distances. The polygon is created based on driving times or distances in all directions from a starting point. Users are able to adjust the drive time object after placement.
- Draw a rectangle – Works the same as a polygon tool, except it only builds rectangles.
- Line drawing tool – The line drawing tool does what you would expect it to do – it draws a line. Most people use this tool to highlight roads, rivers, or rail lines on the back ground map. Some users might use the line draw tool to identify territory boundaries within a zip code when territories overlap. For example, when a highway is used to denote a territory boundary, highlight the highway with the line draw tool. Use the editing tool associated with the layer to adjust the line segment – create arrows, change thickness, adjust colors.
- Curve drawing tool – Curve drawing works just like the line tool but allows a free-form draw line on the map that can curved. A user could draw simple stick figures or oddball areas of interest on the map.
- Text box tool – The text box enables the placement of custom text content on the map. This could reflect map notes, special area titles, or critical information in addition to what the Map Legend or data summation boxes provide.
- Add a location point to map – Finally, the draw tools include the ability to manually place a point on the map. Click the location point tool and then click the map anywhere you would like the point to be placed. This point can be added to existing datasets or used to create a new on-map dataset. Label and symbolize as required using the mini-toolbar associated with the new point.
Each of the eight drawing tool includes the ability to adjust line thicknesses and colors. A drawing tool box will appear when the object is created or selected. That edit box enables adjustments to shading, transparency and associated text. You’ll notice a delete button in the draw tool box as well. The add text button also provides an editing box which provides text adjustments, transparency settings, and color options.
Any map object you draw that defines an enclosed area (a circle, polygon or freeform area) will present the Mini Toolbar offering the user query options, data summation, editing tools and a delete button.
Because we are hand drawing territories using our mouse, our territory boundaries will be rough. They will not be as accurate or as consistent as territory boundaries based on zip codes. Still, many organizations prefer this method because it is rooted in a shared understanding of boundaries based on real world objects – roads, bridges, buildings, and other landmarks.
If I was building a territory using free-form draw tools, I would begin by toggling back and forth between a streets and a satellite map view. Zoom in to your area of interest based on a rough idea of the size of your territory. In the Map and Data tab, drop down the Custom View and choose Satellite Imagery View. (The satellite imagery view is only satellite imagery until you get to town zoom levels – then it becomes aerial imagery.) Now toggle back to street view. Do this a few times and get familiar with the landmarks and street names in your area of interest.
Once you decided on the objects you’ll use for your territory boundary, click the draw polygon tool in the draw tool list. Begin tracing your boundary until complete. You can always zoom in and out while drawing to get better perspectives on your overall territory. Finish by bringing the polygon back to the starting point. You’ll see that your completed polygon can be edited by on lines or nodes. You can also query the data bounded by the polygon by clicking the Binocular button. The Polygon edit box, when visible, will allow you to adjust fill colors, line colors, and to change the object order for overlapping object layers.
Other draw tools work the same way. A circle can be placed on the map and then moved to new locations until you set the diameter. To edit an object click the border with your mouse and edit tools reappear.
Lines can be used to highlight particular boundary limits – like a designated East West divider, or to show where a river is. And you’ll notice whenever you are drawing a line, or polygon a measure of the total distance is reported to you. Line highlights allow for various colors and line thicknesses.
So the next time you decide to plot multiple locations on a map check out the draw tools as well.
Adding a MapPoint
At the bottom of the draw tool list is the Add a Location Callout to the Map function. Drop a MapPoint where ever you like. When you add a location to the map in this fashion a map point symbol is placed on the map by your cursor. A small toolbar accompanies the point. The toolbar lets you create an immediate radius search, or a drive time search. In the Salesforce.com edition the toolbar includes a button that will launch account data from Salesforce.com. You can also choose to add the new location to an existing dataset or start a new dataset in MBO. You have access to an editing box that lets you adjust the symbol assigned to your location, and edit data associated with the point. This edit box also lets you adjust the callout parameters labeling your point, including text and color.
As always you can save and share maps using interactive MapShare, save as image files, or print MapLarge PDF format for plotter prints.
And don’t forget another way to add a point to the map is to simply type an address into the Address Bar at the upper left above the map. Type it in using this format: Address, City, ST to accurately place a point on the map. You’ll get the exact same set of tools as the MapPoint insert above.
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Contact: Geoffrey Ives firstname.lastname@example.org (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866