Display a Ratio Calculation On a Business Map


One of the things I love about my job is the way that customers constantly find new and interesting applications for our business mapping software. We receive constant inquiries from all types of businesses. Last Thursday was no exception and in fact included several new ways for me to apply Map Business Online. One of them was to display the ratio of 0 to 9-year old population (Census data) with available school capacities by Census tract.

Achieving this result on a business map required several steps. The easy steps included adding Census tracts to the Map from our premium map layers which are available on the full year USA subscription. I then added the customer provided data, created the formula in MBO and color coded the map based on the results. Pretty exciting for a non-technical user like me.

Because the data the customer provided is private I can’t show you that map. But I will build another map using a ratio formula from Census demographic data available in Map Business Online and apply that to the zip code map layer. I will compare by division the total number of elder Americans to the total number of younger Americans. Map Business Online calculations enable either multiply or divide functions. The resultant ratio will be used to create a nationwide color coded zip code map.

Step 1 – Build the Calculation
Go to Map & Data and click the edit gear for the Zip Code layer – because our end result will be applied to zip codes. Choose Manage Calculated Data Columns.

Click the Add Data Column because you are adding a calculated data column. I selected the top five age brackets for Population 2013 Census data and moved them into the Numerator position in the formula using the right arrow. I then moved the bottom five youngest age brackets to the Divisor position. I made sure my format was set to number and that decimals was held at two places. I named the resultant Quotient-file Ratio “Buddards*/Rugrats” because I am slightly evil and grew up in a small town on the coast of Mass. Then I clicked Change Data Column.

That’s it. The formula is built. A whole new level of market analysis using MBO.

Step 2 – Color code the Zip Code Layer
On the main toolbar I chose the Three Puzzle Piece button to color code the map. I chose the Zip Code layer. For data to color code by I dropped down and picked Calculated Data Column and then my saved ratio file – Buddards/Rugrats. I created my color range to show:

– Purple for zips with a ratio < 1/1 – Areas where Rugrats outnumber the Buddards
– Orange for zips with ratio higher than 1/1 up to 2 – Areas where Buddards beat Rugrats 2 to 1
– Blue for zips with a ratio from 2.1/1 to 10 – Higher number of older Americans vs. Rugrats
– Bright Red for zips with a ratio from 10.1 to 150 – Break out the shuffle board and Metamucil

I hid geographies that showed no results. I also imported a data set of health care centers to have that data on hand for the Buddards. I summarized that health data to show total licensed beds by zip code. And I appended calculated demographic totals for both Rugrats and Buddards and appended them to the zip code labels for reference when zoomed in.

Step 3 – Edit Your Legend
You’ve heard me say this before. Use the map legend to make sure your audience understands your map. Tweak that legend to remove superfluous and distracting text. Use your business jargon so your people understand.

Step 4 – Check Out Your Map Results
Here’s the map link.
You’ve created a map, now fly around, zoom in and out. See what your map tells you. The first thing I noticed was that in most parts of the country, the Rugrats are winning. That’s all the purple. However, if you fly into the Orlando, FL area you’ll find some nice bright red predominantly buddard zip codes to consider.

You can use Map Business Online to describe ratios or basic numeric relationships in your data too.
Footnotes:
*Buddards – A slang term meaning older people. Perhaps a reference to “Old Mother Hubbard eating her buttered corn”? Where ‘buttered corn’ was made to rhyme with Hubbard and eventually, in certain backward rural New England villages, was applied to the local vernacular as a substitute for ‘old woman.’ As in “A buttered corn is holding up the doughnut line at Oleana’s.” Also used as slang for a general older person of no specific gender, shortened to an ‘old buddard.’ As in, “That old buddard shouldn’t be driving to the dump alone.” See “The History of Rockport, Massachusetts” Chapter 7, the Buttered Corn.

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

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