How Can I Filter My Business Data in Map Business Online?

There are reasons why Map Business Online is the fastest growing business mapping software in North America and one major reason is that the tool is a pretty quick learn. This is mostly true – and yes, there are people who struggle with our user interface – but most people find the learning curve to be fast and easy. I qualify that statement because there are many successful business people whose minds just don’t easily absorb a new user interface. They think in different ways and we all need to support them. So, I can’t just say our user interface is easy for everyone. No user interface is.

One aspect of Map Business Online that people seem to be really enjoying, are the various ways a business map user can filter their business data. Now remember, you have to import your data first and we’ve addressed that in previous blogs, and will again in future blogs, so for now let’s assume you’ve created a really excellent Excel spreadsheet with address columns neatly established and imported your business data into Map Business Online.

Your Data Wants to be Filtered
For the novice, when we say ‘Filter your data’ we are describing ways in which you can sift through your business data to find specific groups of records. You could describe it as segmenting your list of location points or addresses. You can certainly filter your data in Excel. A business mapping application offers some filtering tools that are similar to Excel, but it adds the visual filter of geography whereby you can filter your data by district, zip code, polygon, circle or some other spatial arrangement. One way to think of this is you map excel data and filter it for insights about your business.

Color Code Your Points
Although color coding isn’t specifically filtering I point it out because color coding and symbolizing your business data immediately takes your imported data out of simply mapping multiple locations and into the realm of organizing data by type on the map with a Map Legend describing them. It’s easy to do in Map Business Online and you have five buttons on the master tool bar dedicated to this symbolizing purpose. Use them. Color code your data by point, circle, heat map or chart. Or turn off your points (in the Map & Data Tab) and color code map layers based on your imported data by zip code, county, state or other map layers. By using these tools you’ve already provided your map viewers with a new view of your data. Test any one of them by simply clicking the tool and selecting the data you’ve imported. Go ahead – test it.

The Geographic or Spatial Filter
You can easily set up geographic or spatial queries by using either the Search Data tools or the Draw Tools in Map Business Online. They are right next to each other on the tool bar:

Search and Draw

The search tools on the left will more directly create data lists from your search action. The draw tools on the right focus first on drawing lines, points or polygons, but then offer the search data binocular icon to help create a segmented data group or marketing list.

Simply select a Search Tool from the drop down options – search by circle, polygon, or drive time polygon. Any of these when drawn around your data will create a subset list or marketing list of records in the Data Window. Those results could be used as a list for sales planning, customer mapping, or export the list out of the application completely. These query results could be routed on immediately by adding all rows to a Route from the Data Window toolbar. Or you could export your records back to Salesforce or ACT! – if you happen to be using one of those newly integrated products with Map Business Online.

Any query results or marketing list results can be filtered on the map. In the Data Window, with your new query result named and selected, simply check the box marked “Filter Data on Map” at the top left of the Data Window. Bingo – now you see just those filtered results on the map. Don’t forget to uncheck when you are done.

Data Window Filtering
Now that the Data Window is open (your spreadsheet within Map Business Online) we have some additional filtering operations to explore.

Using the Data Window drop down in the upper left, choose your imported dataset – that’s your target for filtering. Once selected, you could filter that dataset by any Sales Territories you’ve created in your map – just selected the Search Data inside a Territory Button – the Yellow Puzzle Piece icon. This function will present the Save Data dialog to name your data for that territory. This search by sales territory is core functionality for sales territory mapping in Map Business Online.

Another wicked quick filter of your data is too simply search the Left Hand column of your data by keying a word or number sequence into the Data Window Search Bar – that big white space in the middle of the tool bar. So if the left hand column in your Data is the Company Name – and it often is – just key in a three or four letter syllable you know is in the record you seek. For instance – “INC.” Then click the Binoculars. Then all the records with INC in their name will be listed in the data window view.

The Data Window Filter Funnel
Go back to selecting your data in the Data Window drop down and this time choose to Filter Data by clicking that Funnel Icon. This tool lets you truly filter your data. Choose which column of data you desire to filter. Then choose from a selection of modifiers that will let you create a filter or a series of filters to fine tune the results you get.

You could for instance filter in the following ways:
• Choose a text column – Filter to show all records that Contain the name – John
• Choose a dollar value column – Filter to show all records that have values of >= (greater than or equal to) $2500
• Choose a numeric column – Filter to show all records that have values of = (greater than or equal to) 1500
• Choose the Zip code column in your data – Filter to show all Zip Codes >= (greater than or equal to) 99000 and <= (less than or equal to) 99800. Use the result to create a territory.

Do you get it? Modifiers, once the bane of a boring high school algebra class are now a very useful part of our business day. Wouldn’t Mr. Mello and Mr. Moore be excited? Ok, you probably never had those guys in High School. But I did.

Anyway, filtering your data is really a huge part of what business mapping is all about. It let’s you view business realities from various perspectives. It presents your customer transactions in a way that allows comparisons to other data sets. And it helps you consider new operational options. So have at it – filter your business data using Map Business Online.

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

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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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