Use Business Maps to Communicate Concepts – Real, Fake, or Imagined

Business Mapping Software is a digital tool used to create map images. Business mapping software melds a variety of map layers together to create map images that communicate a business concept. Nearly all industries use business map images – from run-of-the-mill variety stores to dentists (yup – lot’s of dentists actually.) These map images support or attempt to support business objectives.

Sometimes business mapping objectives are achieved with wild success, and at other times business maps can miss their mark.

Beware of Redline Maps

Real estate industry map images are everywhere. Business mapping sites like Zillow or make it so. But serious investment in real estate warrants maps that provide demographic profiles of towns, cities, and neighborhoods. Demographic layers included in these analysis maps show Census Bureau categories such as predominant ethnicities, median income levels, population segments by age. The list of categories is quite long.

Demographic categorization on a business map can impact housing values. Rising income levels, lower crime rates, and residential vs. commercial zoning can drive property values. High crime rates, proximity to highways, and ethnic anomalies can force property values down. There is a ‘chicken and egg’ cause and effect relationship here. Racism is a thing, but let’s leave it at that.

Banks assessing loan portfolios by area of interest will be very interested in demographic characteristics by community or neighborhood. Maps depicting demographic profiles by district can be beneficial for the careful investment firm. But map creators can manipulate to show a rosier or grayer picture than reality.

Income Map by City Limit

Urban areas, sometimes classified in ways that discourage investment and perhaps drive up the apparent need for government services, like education and law enforcement, are sometimes misrepresented. This process of map manipulation is called redlining. Redlining has a history here in the USA.

In my experience, redlining pushes the edges of lower-income sections into higher-income districts to encourage house flipping. Inexpensive and run-down houses are purchased on-the-cheap if they are within a certain radius of an up-and-coming, gentrified neighborhood. After largely cosmetic repairs are complete, the house is ‘flipped’ or quickly sold to hapless new owners who are left to navigate the realities of their investment over time.

Housing appraisals can be fascinating to view. Appraisers use business maps to document their value assessments. State and federal agencies regulate appraisers. Just last week, while visiting New Orleans, our bus tour guide pointed out a house on the north side of St. Charles Street, in the Garden District, valued significantly less, at $2.5 Million, than a comparable house on the same street on the south side. The tour guide said the aforementioned lower value house ‘was on the wrong side of the track.’

NOLA Garden District

Building inspections and appraisals of a home and neighborhood are requirements for serious home investors shopping for bargains in any market. Real estate pros use business maps to cross-check property maps and transactions. Hire a map expert or purchase a subscription to a business map software.

  • Double-check demographic data references.
  • Check the boundaries on neighborhoods and jurisdictions with town offices.
  • Investigate home histories with housing inspectors, fire departments, and public service offices.

Retail expansion planning can incur the same challenges as home shoppers when business expansion plans require searches for new locations.

Truth Tracking and Crime Mapping

Crime investigators use various tracking services to determine if suspects were where they said they were when a crime occurred. Cellular phone triangulation and GPS tracking are accurate services for verifying presence in almost all cases. For this reason, cellular phone records are essential to modern criminal investigations.

Tracking devices make a case for prosecutors or support the inquiries of business managers chasing down employee grift. For example, location-tracking services verify a contractor’s car is parked onsite for scheduled work. A GPS device confirms where a murderer’s mini-van was located at a victim’s time of death.

Business mapping software, like MapBusinessOnline, plots GPS tracks, including latitude-longitude coordinates or GPX files. Import these files like a spreadsheet and view critical placements on the map with time stamps.

Crime mapping is the process of placing know crime locations on a map so that a pattern emerges or associations become apparent. With multiple trackable systems available, mapping has become one of the most powerful tools in a crime fighter’s toolbox.

Even a business manager, reviewing expense reports, can expose graft by importing expense records onto a business map. Suspecting a traveling salesperson of falsifying records, I once mapped out a set of submitted expense reports to verify their ‘accuracy.’

I learned how easy it was to expose cheating on expense reporting. Suspecting false submittals, I dug into a direct report’s expense records. Phone and email records submitted by the traveling employee showed locations at specific times either by time-stamped record or deduction. Restaurant and turnpike toll receipts defined where my suspect traveler was on particular days – usually at home. And finally, a quick call to a referenced customer to verify that an expensive romantic dinner on a Friday night was enjoyed by my salesperson and his wife and not the customer. Case closed.

Bottom line: don’t even think about trying to murder someone these days unless you want to get caught. When in doubt about criminal or non-compliant activity, try mapping it. Mapped locations have a way of exposing the truth.

Maps for Good and Bad

Mapping has come a long way since the days of the great ocean explorers, when most maps were vague and filled with assumptions. ‘There be dragons’ was a favorite stopping point.

Ancient cartographers mapped Rome’s battlefields and lines of control, as opposed to retail distribution models and dental business marketing plans. Nowadays, business maps are more likely to combine geographic details with demographic realities, time-stamped data placements, and climate threatened areas. Viewing today’s maps feels a bit like the future is now. We’re almost back to ‘there be dragons’ again.

Ancient Business Map

Map Like Insurance Companies

I find the insurance business, an ancient industry dating back to Mesopotamia is a field to watch for appropriate use of business mapping tools and other location-based systems. (Although I’m sure we could find examples of insurance map manipulation if we dug into it.) while pharmaceutical companies and hedge funds manipulate markets and financial products to gain outrageous profits at the expense of all of us, insurance companies live and die on safe bets.

Suppose an insurance company thinks it’s a pretty good bet that wildfires are going to rip through a county soon. In that case, insurance premiums in that area will increase dramatically. While the Republican party refused to allow Florida scientists to publish papers containing references to climate change and global warming, insurance businesses raised the premiums on coastal home flood insurance policies. They even removed insurance altogether for homes that flooded more than once over the last 20 years.

Climate change is essential for the insurance industry to understand and factor into business analysis—reality and truth matter.

Insurance companies use map images wisely to address real problems impacting their bottom line. GIS software can overlay historical flood maps on top of coastal property maps – you know, the neighborhoods of McMansions – along with ten-year disaster maps to develop high-risk weather impact areas. These maps cover the most valuable housing stock in the USA. Coastal areas under climate threat are potential business killers for insurance companies. Insurers conduct their map analysis carefully to hedge their bets and protect their investments.

Business map images support all the above scenarios in one way or another. For good or for evil, maps communicate a concept. Use your business map accordingly. Proper business mapping etiquette would include:

  • Importing reliable and accurate location datasets.
  • Creating maps that are easy on the map viewer’s eyes – appropriate color shades, spell-checked with relevant lines of text, no clutter.
  • Never use disinformation, lies, or hyperbole.


Maps represent ‘ground truth,’ an intelligence agency term. Let’s keep it that way. ‘Truth, Justice and the American Way’ can still be the motto of Super Man, even if his uniform now comes in rainbow shades or his signature’s pronoun might be his, her, or them.


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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