How to Semi-Automate Imported Data Updates In Map Business Online

The most popular Map Business Online feature is the ability to import user business data and view it on a map.  These data visualizations can be transformative as organizations, new to business mapping software, suddenly realize the power of location intelligence.

‘Realizing the power’ reminds me of the time in eighth grade (1973) when I was but a scrawny introverted nerd. After having abandoned piano lessons in fifth grade,  I was at the piano in the music room during lunch, attempting to play the hit song, Feeling Stronger Everyday by Chicago. Suddenly, the piano was surrounded by all of the ‘popular’ girls in my grade who were all singing along at the top of their lungs. No one spoke to me or made eye contact, but they clearly enjoyed the moment.

That night, realizing the power, I spoke to my parents about possibly restarting piano lessons. “No reason. I’d just like to take lessons again.”

And so it is with business map users after they’ve imported and viewed their business data over a business map. Still, once that data is imported how do you keep it easily updated? With a little planning, you can do this in Map Business Online.

  1. Add a Unique ID Column to your data spreadsheet. A unique ID column assigns one unique number to each data record in your dataset. Map Business Online then uses that Unique ID to track and report updates, changes, deletions, etc. Map Business Online doesn’t care where you get that unique number. Use a customer ID, or some record ID from your business system. Manual assign 01,02,03… in Excel. Just make sure these assigned numbers are actually unique. No repeats. You can’t have the same ID used more than once.
  2. Match Your Unique ID to Map Business Online’s Unique ID field. When you go through the Import or Plot Data process, in the Second Selection Dialogue (Select Additional Data Columns) assign your unique data column to the Unique ID field. You’ll see it. Just click the drop down and choose your Unique ID Column. If your data isn’t unique, Map Business Online will let you know that the unique field column you selected will not work.
  3. Process your data into Map Business Online as usual. Remember you can import up to 100,000 records into each annual or team subscription business map. Try to keep the number of datasets imported to no more than twelve per map.

A Unique ID Column

Once your data is on the map, updates to your data file in Map Business Online are managed in the Map and Data dialog.  To update your data:

  1. Select your Data Layer. In Map & Data hover your cursor over your imported data layer – click the Edit Gear.
  2. Choose your Update Approach. Under General Tab (along right side) look to the bottom and choose between: Update Data set from File (if you’re using a new file) or Refresh dataset.
  3. View your Update Notification. Map Business Online will respond after the update to report on how many records were updated, deleted or added.

If you are using browser-based Map Business Online, you’ll need to specify the file location.  Desktop Map Business Online will know where the original location of the file is.

Important: These semi-automatic updates only work if the original column structure of the imported data is maintained as is.  You can’t add or delete columns.

Map Business Online users who conduct a lot of data analysis will find this update option helpful in minimizing the work required to update data.

So, make life easier on yourself and add a unique ID column to your imported data layers. If you do, nerdy or not, I’m sure you’ll be feeling stronger everyday.

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Contact: Geoffrey Ives or Jason Henderson (800) 425-9035

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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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