Along the Map Business Online master toolbar, six buttons in from the right side, sits the humble Measure Distance Tool. The button icon is a yellow ruler. The kind that grade school teachers used to smack our study tables with to wake us up.
A sharp Smack! split the air. “Geoffrey Ives! You pay attention!” screamed Miss Bruce, with pursed lips and beady eyes drilling holes into my very soul.
“Yes, Miss Bruce,” I replied weakly, my daydream vanishing forever.
Anyway, the measure distance tool provides business mapping users with a quick click and drag tool for measuring distance on your map project.
Draw That Line
The measure distance tool is enabled by clicking the measure tool button icon and then clicking your mouse on the map and dragging a line along your area of interest. Once activated the tool presents a Green Check button and a White X button with a Red background under the now green (activated) Measure Distance button.
The tool measures a distance along a straight line and displays the distance measurement result next to the drawn line. The unit of measure is in miles by default but can be changed to kilometers in the Map and Data box (Click the edit gear in Map and Data and look for Map Units at the bottom left of the edit properties panel.
After dragging your first line segment, release your mouse button and compress it again to drag a new line segment in another direction. The measure display will now reflect the distance of the new segment in addition to a total distance for all line segments, summed.
When the user is done drawing line segments on the map the mapping software presents an option to either:
- Click the green check mark to save your distance work and complete the operation or
- Click the White X in Red to delete the line segments you just created
Edit That Line
Once your line segments are saved on the map a dialogue pops up that gives the user the opportunity to edit the color and line style of the drawn distance lines. The Edit Line Properties options include:
- Adjust Line Styles – Enables line thickness adjustment and arrow options
- Apply Color Shading – Click into the color box to change line segment colors
- Adjust Transparency – Check transparency on or off for see-through or opaque lines
- Show Text – Add reference labels or text describing your measurement
- Change the Order – Provides user control over which layer is on top
Use That Line
The measure tool allows business map users to quickly determine how far point A is from point B. I personally use the measure tool for several reasons:
- To quickly get a sense of a distance from one town to another or from a start point to a finish point for a hike or drive. In my mind, I sometimes estimate travel times based on a simple distance measure
- To measure the distance around an object, territory, or jurisdiction
- To highlight a point or object on the map and include a distance measurement
I’ve used the measure distance tool on multiple occasions to do the following:
- Develop an area or perimeter measurement of a sales territory map
- Ballpark an impending trip either driving or walking. If you’ve had it with life and you’re telling the family you’re going out for a pack of cigarettes, you might as well have a sense of how far the store is
- Estimate the perimeter distance of a field to determine the extent of land to be submitted for a rare bird species protection program under an Audubon grant for hay farmers
- Estimate the perimeter around a swimming quarry to get a better feel of where I might drown over the following hours
- Estimate walking distance comparisons to beach access for a series of Maine properties
- Measure a beach distance to prove to my wife how far I walked one afternoon
The measure distance tool comes in handy. It’s not the most sophisticated tool in business mapping, but it gets used a lot. And there’s not a teacher alive that can whack you desk with a cloud-service, business mapping software’s measure tool.
Take that Miss Bruce.
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Contact: Geoffrey Ives firstname.lastname@example.org or Jason Henderson email@example.com