Six Key Questions to Ask About Your Business Map Project

Managing a map project may seem like a daunting experience to the uninitiated. Not to worry, MapBusinessOnline provides most of what you’ll require to complete a successful business mapping project.

Someone in your organization has decided a business map is necessary, and they’re casting their beady eyes at you.  Breath, take a step back.   Put on your big boy or girl pants and volunteer.  You’re going to discover that business mapping, GIS, or geospatial work is actually quite fun and rewarding.

Your map project could be a customer map, a sales territory map, a resource map, or some other kind of  business map. Even if we are not aware of the type of map you must produce, MapBusinessOnline can probably achieve the situational awareness your organization is looking for.

Below is a suggested approach to implementing a business map project using online business mapping software.

Meet with the Stakeholders

When you sense a geospatial map-project is headed your way, the first thing you should do is meet with the stakeholders. Meet your stakeholders as a group or one at a time, but do it. Ask the stakeholders these six key questions and record their answers:

  • Who is responsible for the map project? As with any business project, it’s a good idea to understand who is being held accountable for the project. Understanding accountability will help you prioritize your effort.
  • Who will be the audience for the map project? This answer to this question helps with the design of your map project. Knowing who the map audience will be, helps to define the scope of the map project. Make sure you understand the general focus of the project, and the data that will be used to support the project’s intent. Does the executive team know the map project exists? Don’t get caught working on a rogue project.
  • What is the purpose of the map project? Beware of map projects with many themes. Do not try to solve multiple problems with one map unless they are inherently related.
  • How will the map project’s success or failure be measured? Will the map project itself solve a problem or will it simply contribute to a planning session focused on a larger issue? There’s a big difference. Your efforts should be measured by how well the map exposes a problem or  communicates results.
  • What is the geographic extent of the map project? Are there geographic boundaries that define the scope of the project? Is the map project national, regional, or local?
  • Is there location data to support the project? Where is the location data and how do I get access to the location data? Are there restrictions on data use and data sharing? See below.

What Location-Data is Available to Support the Project?

Geospatial data or location-data is commonly used in business systems like CRM’s or ERP systems. Location-data will be business data that includes address components (address, city, state, and ZIP code), or latitude/longitude coordinates.

Your IT department will know where location data is stored and what the access protocols will be. Examples of these address-based datasets include customer lists, resource locations, and store locations. Sometimes these datasets need to be cleaned up before they are used. For instance, address components need to be expressed in separate columns:

Address | City | State | ZIP code

Also, using ZIP codes only to locate points on a map, while entirely doable in MapBusinessOnline, is not very accurate. I recommend geocoding by ZIP codes only when you plan to create a ZIP code heat map.

An Insurance Mapping Project

In addition to securing access to your businesses or project’s location data, make sure you understand the rules around data use and data sharing. If you work for a medical firm, your work will be under legal HIPAA restrictions. Be very careful about how you expose personal health data. Even if your business is not in the health care industry sharing location data is often restricted by company privacy restrictions.  Get clear on your data-use rules.

Create a Focused & Compelling Business Map

With an understanding of your project’s purpose and access to supporting geospatial data established, it’s time to create a compelling business map. I have written multiple blogs that describe the process of creating a compelling just such a business map:

Six Easy Steps to Your First Business Map

The Top Six Considerations When Creating a Business Map

General Guidelines for MapBusinessOnline Territory Mapping

4 Advanced Territory Mapping Capabilities in MapBusinessOnline Pro

9 Ways to Access Demographic Data in MapBusinessOnline Standard or Pro

How Do I Create and Optimize a Business Map Visualization?

These blogs are just a few of the many blogs posted describing the use of MapBusinessOnline. For map-project development, I would also advise that map creators follow these tips:

  • Save your map work as a map template. Map templates preserve your work from inadvertent overrides and save your map work as a template easily converted to new map projects.  On the Master Toolbar, click the Save Button. In the drop-down select the Map Template option.
  • Double-check the spelling of all labels, legends, and text boxes. Rename imported file names. Good maps tend to be reviewed by the top brass. Make sure your work looks professional. A few seconds adjusting a file name in Map and Data can elevate your cred in the eyes of management.
  • Do not rush to publish your map work. Maps take time to develop. Secure second and third opinions on your work. Take your time. Keep it professional. Remember it maps are a visual medium. Maps are not as easily proofed as a Word Doc with a spellchecker.
  • Never publish personal or proprietary data – health records, contact info, financial records, sales records are all restricted data. Always make sure the data imported into your map work is approved for sharing. Assume that it is not approved.

Armed with all of these recommendations for creating and managing a map project, sally forth and ‘conquer la mode du geographique.’

“Ah, Tish. You spoke French!” said Gomez.



Find out 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 then 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 or Jason Henderson

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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