How Can I Derive Distances Between Two Datasets Using Map Business Online?

In Map Business Online you can compare datasets to determine distances between too datasets. Lately we’ve had a run of requests for this exact map application.  That’s how business mapping features requests come in, you here no requests for that specific feature for months at a time then suddenly everyone wants that one feature. Cue the theme from the Twilight Zone.

Feature Problem Statement:  I need to show one point on the map – a Business Location, and then import a second, separate data set of address locations and show the distances between each of the new locations and the original business location. I also want to show the distance when I hover over each point.

Making this happen in Map Business Online involves multiple processes but we primarily will focus on the Business Analysis tool.  First, of course, you import your Excel spreadsheet, text file or CSV file. Remember, when you bring in data to include column headers and have separate columns for Address, City, State, and Zip code (or lat/long columns and headers as the case may be.)

As you import be sure to take advantage of the five flexible fields that show up when a user hovers over a syMap Business Onlinel on the map.  We’re going to come back to this flex field function a little later, to edit those fields.

There they are, syMap Business Onlinels nicely arrayed on the map that represent your customer or business locations.  I will color code my data by Type, but you do what you want with your data. To each his own.  Remember, you can import your own labels should you desire it.

To create a new single point on the map for my Business Location I can either key an address into the address bar – upper left hand White Address Box above the tool bar – or I can drop a point using the Draw Tool Add Location with Callout button – click Add Location after touching the map.  Either way I get a point on the map and a mini-tool bar under the point. Along that mini-tool bar click the middle button Copy Location to Dataset.  Choose the New option. Rename the New Dataset you are making to Business Location. Business Location is now a Dataset in the Map & Data tab. See it checked On in the Map & Data list.

Now I need to apply the Market Analysis tool. I choose the Second option down from the top – Find nearest store. In the top drop down I select my originally imported dataset with the many locations. That’s my “Customer Locations.” In Market Analysis we refer to the two data sets being compared as customers and store locations. It could be anything – drop-off points and warehouse, parishioner homes and church, or even politician office locations and the nearest prison.

In the bottom drop down I choose my Business Location dataset. That’s my store.  I choose no maximum distance, because I want them all. And I rewrite the text that says Store to now say Distance to Business Location. Write whatever you want. Now click Next.

The returned data in the Data Window should show my original dataset with a new column labeled Distance to Business Location.  These records should show distances in that column. Awesome possum.  Now let’s think about those points on the map again.

How can we show distances when we hover over those points?  We can edit those five flexible fields we set up when we imported our data. You might ask, ‘How?’ Well I’m going to tell you how.

In Map & Data hover your mouse cursor over the data target layer (your imported data), click the Edit Gear that pops up. Choose the Callout Tab. Click Format Callouts.  I can tell you’re getting excited. In that left panel scroll down to choose one of the five flex field options listed. Underneath whichever one you want to use, drop down to the data column labeled Distance to Business Location.  Choose that column.  You can edit the text a little if you feel it’s necessary.  Now click Change Callouts and go hover over one of those points on the map.

High fives all around. Mission accomplished.

What I love about this application example, and about Map Business Online in general, (and you may have heard me say this before) is that it provides so many editable features so you can make your map sing to your map audience. Every business uses its own vernacular and business processes to represent what it does.  Map Business Online, with a little research, can help you describe and possibly better manage your own business work flows using maps.

So the next time you bring a map into the corner office, don’t let Poke-a-Hole-In-It Phil distract from your point with stupid questions designed to make you look bad. Use Map Business Online to clean up your map and tell your story in a way that speaks to your audience. You could even reset a legend line to say: “Suck an egg Phil,”  in case it’s your last day.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into MapBusinessOnline.com

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider www.MapBusinessOnline.com as your MapPoint Replacement.

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