Maintain Situational Awareness During the COVID Reopening

Some business owners and managers have come to understand the value of business mapping software. Perhaps you are one. You may already subscribe to or one of our top five competitors. Or you may be an ex-Microsoft MapPoint user itching to get back in the mapping game since you were set adrift by Microsoft in late 2014. Still, you may be one of the many who have yet to use business mapping software for the betterment of your business.

Regardless of your experience with business mapping, or the lack thereof, affordable map-based business analysis offers an array of tools that can help you jump start your business as the country returns to normal. This return promises to be a gradual lifting, at best, of State-enforced shelter-in-place orders.

Business mapping provides a visual pallet that enables a variety of compiled and overlaid data layers to provide an awareness of your location situation, better known in the geospatial world as Situational Awareness Mapping.

Think of situational awareness as a map visualization that exposes both resources and threats for and to business as usual.

Visualize Your Precious Customers

Now you’ve returned to normal business. Time to reacquaint yourself and your workflow and with your customer base. Import the complete address list of customers into a business map. View those precious customers on a map and think about what your first steps should be for reaching out to those business partners.

Let’s face it. We’re all aching to get back to a normal workday. Your customers are no different. But they’ll have lots to catch up on, so don’t waste their valuable time. Connect with your customers by offering something valuable. No, not a face mask. You know your customers, if there’s a service you can provide or a product you can discount or give away, now is the time.

Develop a marketing campaign based on geography. Hit all those customers within a 20-minute driving time of your retail store or service headquarters. Make it worth their while to come to your store for the first time since the outbreak. Make sure everything is clean, sparse, and safe – including your staff. And for now, that means everyone wears a mask.

Reach Out to Your Patients

By importing an address-based dataset of patients, medical companies can visualize their census, color-coded by diagnosis, age, or other identifiers. Armed with this situational awareness a marketing coordinator can determine the appropriate message to proactively send. Many patients are in a holding pattern for routine, yet serious medical conditions. They’ve been scared or warned away by the COVID-19 crisis.

Reach out based on medical classifications within specified geographic areas. Use MapBusinessOnline to segment your patient list and develop messages for area residents accordingly. Provide a set of resources and ‘back-to-normalcy’ options for those who should be renewing their regular medical visits.

For example, scheduling all patients over the age of 80 with heart conditions makes sense for the first few days. Include an extra half hour for each patient for cleaning and social distancing support. We certainly do not want crowded waiting rooms at this time. This age group will probably be your highest risk segment, so plan for their safety first and foremost and let other segments fall into place based on that experience.

Working from Home

Millions of businesses across the nation have suddenly, and by necessity, been forced to allow employees to work from home. Many of these businesses have found allowing employees to work-from-home has ongoing benefits. Twitter recently announced an indefinite extension of work-from-home rules. At best, the return to working at the office will be a gradual transition.

Communication is critical to all businesses. Efficient communication under shelter-in-place scenarios is just plain difficult. If your business is faced with extended work-from-home schedules a business map can be the perfect solution for tracking who is where and when. Upload address lists of employee home locations. Color-code and symbolize based on work status:

  • Working office
  • Working home
  • Paid Time Off
  • Sick leave

Share these maps with your constituents. Work status maps provide an instant location-based resource update and enable immediate decision making around meeting requirements and staffing needs. Add coverage area maps by ZIP code or county to display service area coverages hour-to-hour.

Let business maps help your company organize their communication requirements and stay organized. Focus on moving the business forward, not finding out where the hell Dave is today. Maps keep you organized.

Track Ongoing Virus Hotspots

The sad reality is COVID-19 could be with us for the next 18 months or more as the world awaits a safe vaccine and the virus runs its course. By tracking and sharing business maps that highlight recent outbreaks, organizations can:

  • Alert employees and partners where recent outbreaks have occurred
  • Provide location-based information about safe vacation spots
  • Minimize risky business trips

We’ll need to stay vigilant for a while to come. Maps help make the communication of risk more effective and efficient. A daily or weekly visualization of COVID hot spots may assist in planning. Which Counties or cities across the USA are growing at the fastest rate?

One area I continue to look closely at is the North Shore of Massachusetts where I have family. I found that certain cities located along the Route 128 corridor show extremely high case quantities of COVID-19. If I was a repair services tech or a traveling business person, I might think twice before visiting those areas. And if I did visit those areas, I’d make damn sure I had all the proper equipment required to remain as protected as possible.

Mass Cases by County Tracking – Situational Awareness









Business mapping software makes it easy to import datasets related to the spread of COVID-19 and build comprehensive maps that highlight impacts on your business. Data sources we’ve uncovered:

Any or all of these map layers can add value to a situational awareness map. But don’t overcrowd your map. Make sure add layers add value.

For those with interest in viewing an interactive view of the below map, click here.

COVID Situational Awareness for Mass as of 5/20/2020



Access Low-cost Optimized Routing

Six weeks ago, getting from point A to point B in a vehicle didn’t matter to your business. Routing was just something people did to direct themselves to a new destination. Today, your company is trying to survive, and many companies are reaching out to customers by delivering products and services. Suddenly routing a vehicle from a restaurant with to-go services to a patron’s home may be critical.

MapBusinessOnline offers optimized routing with up to 150 stops per route. Turn-by-turn directions are generated for each route. Best of all, you can send the route file itself via email or generate a shared map URL for your workforce to pull up on a web browser and use at home, at no additional cost.

None of us know how long our new business environment will require special services. MapBusinessOnline provides optimized routing for deliveries without a huge up-front investment. It also provides the tools to conduct general business analysis on your new business model, to assess whether or not new processes might are profitable and/or effective.

Build a Situational Awareness Map

We’ve all been at this for a few months now. Life gets complicated when you’re evading a virus. That’s not going to stop until the virus decides it’s time, or we all get vaccinated. A situational awareness map can help our constituents and associates develop plans for dealing with an emergency outbreak.

Situational Awareness maps should include the most important nearby resources for your state or area that improve safety, help operational efficiencies, and inform the map viewer. These map visualizations will include:

  • Medical centers, hospitals, and clinics
  • Grocery stores, with map labels noting hours and senior citizen access status
  • Pharmacies and current access policies
  • Police and sheriff department locations
  • Emergency shelters
  • A location dataset of your go-to friends in the event of an emergency
  • Pick-up locations for critical PPE
  • COVID testing locations as they are posted

Required pandemic resources for the reopening will vary by company, area, or by industry.

We are all in this together, and we’ll get out of it together. Can you imagine if eight weeks ago, if you approached a person works at your local grocery store and suggested they wear a mask while they work or shop? Our world is changing rapidly. Being more aware of your local situation only makes sense.

Team Collaboration Using Business Mapping

One way to achieve advanced business mapping is to implement team map collaboration within your organization. MapBusinessOnline team subscriptions encourage cross-departmental contributions to a core situational awareness map.

Teams of multiple users accessing MapBusinessOnline can create and share maps for editing. Shared maps are accessed from your Maps Shared with Me folder in your Map Library. Map collaboration is great for problem-solving, loading data for collaborative views, and to make sure maps are kept up-to-date while some users are out of the office.

Any two MapBusinessOnline subscribers can share maps directly for collaboration. Team subscriptions add an administrative component that allows an administrator control over shared subscriptions and team set-up.  Discounts are also offered for purchases of five users or more.

Being fully aware of our current situation may be more important now than at any other time in our lives.  We need to do all we can to remain vigilant, no matter how tired of virus mitigation we may be. Situational awareness maps could help your team return to business successfully and safely.


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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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