Plot a Point – Draw a Circle – Query the Population

When you get two or three inquiries for the same business mapping software functionality in one day, either the same person is requesting help repeatedly, or the functionality is suddenly popular. Either way, I figured the repeating request was worthy of a blog post for Map Business Online users.

“How do I create a radius search from an address and derive the population density for the circle’s area?” The requests for help came in over our chat system and also via our traditional tech support email service. There were slight variations in these tech support requests, but the gist was precisely the same.

Read More About Radius Maps or Demographic Mapping

The fastest way to achieve the result of the population within a circle area is presented at the bottom of this blog post. But, all the requests for help ask about plotting a point, creating a circle, and then collecting the demographic data, so I wanted to follow that process first.

Placing the Location Point

Placing a point on the map in MapBusinessOnline is achievable in three ways. They are, in order of complexity:

  1. Address Bar – In the application’s upper left-hand corner, you will find the Address Bar. It’s a blank white space with the words “Search Map” shadow texted. The address bar is located above the master toolbar on the left side. Input the address for the center point of the desired Circle or radius search: 19 Norwood Avenue, Rockport, MA (Zip code is optional). Then press the Binocular icon and notice the point plotted on the map with an associated mini-toolbar. You should click Save in Dataset to save the data point either in a New dataset or an existing data set on the map.
  2. Plot a Draw Tool Point – From the master toolbar, seven buttons from the right, drop down to the bottom option, and select the Drop a Point feature in the draw tools dropdown. The button turns Green to show a selection is active. Click on the map to add a location. You will have to add that map point to an existing point layer or create a new one. Follow the Add or New dialogues. Once saved, a pin symbol will appear. Notice, once again, the associated mini-toolbar next to the plotted point.
  3. Import a Spreadsheet of addresses or lat/long locations using the Dataset button located five buttons from the left on the master toolbar under the section labeled Adding to Map. Follow the dialogue import wizard presented on the map to achieve this. All of the imported points will have the associated mini-toolbar when selected.

Select the Radius

In business mapping, we often refer to maps that include a circular map object as a radius map. To select a radius and draw that Circle, look at the mini-toolbar I mentioned three times above. That little toolbar is hanging off of your plotted point. You will notice a Circle button and a jagged Polygon button (a Drive-time button.)  Choose the Circle Button. After selecting, choose a radius distance for the Circle and click Add to Map.

Now you have some options to consider about the circular map object you just created. You will find a Circle Properties box on the map that will enable the following:

  • Adjustments of the radius (You can also select the map object and drag it bigger, smaller, or to a new location)
  • Boundary or line controls for adjustments to color and thickness
  • Fill color and transparency options for the overall map object
  • Map text options to associate a label or text with the map object
  • Change the order of database layers on top of the fill area – for manageable data selection when you’ve got data on top of or underneath the map object’s color fill.

Try each one of these options to get a sense of how the radius tools work. You will find all the map objects you create in MapBusinessOnline, polygons, and drive time queries work similarly.

Querying the Population

Now you have dropped a point on the map and created a circle with a specified radius. Nice job!

With your circle Map Object placed on the map, select the Circle with your cursor and click the Summary Button – a sideways M on the mini-toolbar. The summary dialogue will appear, presenting data options for the user to apply to the Circle area. You can pull ten demographic selections into this proforma spreadsheet table. MapBusinessOnline’s demographic categories and layers are right there for you to choose from.

The population seems to be the popular Demographic category for this point/radius/query request. But there are many options in the MapBusinessOnline demographic library. Please note the various options listed for population:

  • Projected demographic categories are on the two top years. Drill down for older years. 2020 and 2019 (our two most recent years) are projections from a third-party specialist
  • Population options include the overall population, population density by the square mile or kilometer, and then further down are population by age, ethnicity, gender, and whether most people in the area are dog or cat people. (Just kidding on that last one – we all know everyone’s a dog person)
  • And indeed, there are boatloads of other demographic categories available to add to your query. Just scroll down the list.

A map user in this situation may also select imported data and Calculated Data from the data dropdown options.

A Radius Search

Export or Add to the Map

Once your summary list of data layers is set, click Next and decide what to do with your data. You can export the data or add it to the map as a map note. You can also copy the data and paste it somewhere else.

Use cases for a quick radius search of the population are many, but I’m guessing most users want a quick assessment of an area’s population to determine:

  • If the area justifies sending a salesperson in to make sales calls
  • If the site is the right place for a new retail store, bank, or service location
  • If a retail kiosk makes sense on a street corner

Manually Drop A Radius Search

Perhaps even easier than dropping a point and drawing a circle is selecting a Radius Search tool from our set of search functions located eight buttons from the right.

  1. Select the Radius Search tool – it displays selected when it turns green
  2. Place a Point on the map with your cursor
  3. Select the radius distance desired
  4. Select the Circle’s mini-toolbar Summary Button – that sideways M
  5. Choose the Demographic data layers associated with the population that suits your analysis.

Quite a few options to choose from, but all use parallel pathways and provide quick ways to define a circular area and collect the corresponding population data.


Discover why over 25,000 business users log into for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

To access MapBusinessOnline, please register and download the Map App from the website –

After installing the Map App, the MapBusinessOnline launch button will be in the Windows Start Menu or Mac Application folder. Find the MapBusinessOnline folder in the Start Menu scrollbar. Click the folder’s dropdown arrow and choose the MapBusinessOnline option.

The Map App includes the Map Viewer app for free non-subscriber map sharing.

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Contact: Geoffrey Ives at or Jason Henderson at

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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