When you get two or three inquiries for the same business mapping software functionality on one day, either the same person is requesting help over and over again, or the functionality is suddenly popular. Either way, I figured that the repeating request was worthy of a blog post for Map Business Online users.
The requests for help came in over our new chat system and also via our traditional tech support email service. “How do I create a radius search from an address and derive the population density for the circle’s area?” There were slight variations in these tech support requests, but the gist was exactly the same for each one.
The fastest way to achieve the end result of population within a circle area is presented at the bottom of this blog post. But, all the requests asked 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 Map Business Online is achievable in three ways. They are, in order of complexity:
- Address Bar – In the upper left-hand corner of the application you will find the Address Bar. It’s a blank white space with the words “Search Map” shadow texted. The address bar us located above the master toolbar, 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). Press the Binocular icon and notice the point plotted on the map with an associated mini-toolbar
- 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 drop-down. The button turns Green to denote 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.
- Import a Spreadsheet of address or lat/long locations using the plot data button five buttons in from the left on the master toolbar. All of the imported points will have the associated mini-toolbar when selected. Simply follow the dialogues presented on the map to achieve this.
Select the Radius
In business mapping, we refer to often refer to maps with circular map object as a radius map. To select a radius and draw that circle, look to 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 (which is a Drive-time button.) Choose the Circle Button. After making your selection, choose a radius distance for the Circle and then click Add to Map.
Now you have some options to consider with regard to the circle-shaped map object you just created. You will find a Circle dialogue box on the map that will enable:
- Adjustments of the radius (You can also select the map object and rag 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 easy 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 Map Business Online work in a similar fashion.
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 area of the circle. You can pull ten demographic selections into this proforma spreadsheet table. Map Business Online’s demographic categories and layers are right there for you to choose from.
Population seems to be the popular Demographic category for this point/radius/query request. But there are many options in the Map Business Online library. Please note the various options listed for population:
- 2018 demographic categories are on the top. Drill down for older years. 2018 and 2017 (our two most recent years) are projections from a third party specialist
- Population options include the overall population, population density by square mile or kilometer, and then further down are population by age, ethnicity, gender, and whether most people in the area are dog or a cat people. (Just kidding on that last one – we all know everyone’s a dog person)
- And certainly, 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 drop down options.
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 population are many, but I’m guessing most users want a quick assessment of an area population to determine:
- If the area justifies sending a salesperson in to make sales calls
- If the area 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 in from the right.
- Select the Radius Search tool – it displays selected when it turns green
- Place a Point on the map with your cursor
- Select the radius distance desired
- Select the circle’s mini-toolbar Summary Button – that sideways M
- Choose the Demographic data layers associated with population that suit your analysis
Quite a few options to choose from, but all using parallel pathways and providing extremely fast ways to define an area and collect the corresponding population data.
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