A MapBusinessOnline Workflow for Your Consideration

MapBusinessOnline includes various tools designed to help you develop a business mapping workflow. The critical tools I use when developing business maps are:

  • Map & Data Edit Properties – Use these tools to adjust the look and feel of your map layers. Adjust boundary color and thickness. Adjust fill transparency and color. Labeling options are available here. Learn more.
  • Save Map Button – The Save Button allows you to save a map as a template, preventing accidental overwrites of your work. Territory creators should save map work as a My Template to protect their time investment. The Save function also allows you to open a map you wish to copy and save under another name, saving lots of time.
  • Share Map Button – Here, a user can select to share a map Publicly for view-only situations or Privately for collaborative map editing.
  • Adding Datasets to the Map – Almost all users import location data for use on their business maps. Easily import a spreadsheet of customers or resources and view it on a map to reveal concentrations, gaps, or other business patterns.
  • Color Code Symbols – Adjust symbols, size, and color to highlight concepts critical to your business needs. Learn more.


The above business map tools help me get started building a business map.  I can import data, select map layers, adjust transparency, color shade all map layers, and import data based on the map’s purpose and the business ideas that need to be communicated.

My workflow on a new map project goes something like this:

  1. Check for an existing My Map or Map Template approximating my current map project.
  2. Clean up any unnecessary data layers and save the opened My Map or Map Template as a new My Map for your new map project.
  3. Fine-tune your new map. When the map reaches a final stage or at the end of the session, be sure to save it. Click the Save button; MapBusinessOnline does not autosave.
  4. Prepare maps for Sharing or Map Image creation.
    1. Make sure the spelling and grammar are correct.
    2. Avoid map clutter, obnoxious colors, and symbols.
    3. Ask yourself if your business map addresses the primary reasons for creating the map.
  5. Save your map.

Once I have my basic map layout established with some relevant data and map layers added, I always save the map as a My Template map for any significant project to protect it from overwriting. ‘How does overwriting occur?’ you might ask. Good question.

Overwriting Maps

Overwriting means you or somebody acting as you got into your account, accessed your business map, and saved changes you did not approve.

Often, this happens when legitimate subscribers allow others to access their MapBusinessOnline account by sharing credentials. Do not do this. Sharing credentials and editing privileges violates the MapBusinessOnline terms of use and jeopardizes your map integrity.

When we get an email, chat, or phone call stating a map is missing, we know that credentials have been shared. Please seek to understand your business’s mapping requirements and purchase the requisite number of licenses to support that need.

That said, you also might overwrite a map if you neglect to save your map regularly. MapBusinessOnline does not autosave. If you enjoy leaving your computer on at night and haven’t saved your work, there’s a disaster in your future. Save your work.

We have recently added a stop-gap measure to the map-saving process where users logging in to another user’s subscription using shared credentials (don’t do that) will be alerted that overwriting the map version is about to take place.

Reuse from Templates

Templating your maps means you can easily access a protected map and resave the template as another My Map to create new works using an existing map design. I do this often. Templating lets me quickly access color coding and demographic themes for new map work. If you’ve got a map scheme that works effectively, by all means, copy the map for new works.

A repurposed brewery supply franchise map using MapBusinessOnline.

The above map is a template I might reuse to take advantage of:

  • A demographic background theme that I like.
  • Import data already color-coded in a scheme that fits my new project.
  • Territory map work that I can save time by simply copying a map template.

Sometimes, I’ll open a working My Map map and quickly Save it under a new name to generate a new map for a similar business issue. For instance, I often set up a map’s ZIP code layer to reflect a relevant demographic color scheme based on population or income levels. That demographically themed ZIP code layer will likely be helpful with other map concepts.

Generating Map Images

Business map images are great for insertion into presentations or business proposals. Franchise businesses use business maps to define franchisee operating conditions in contracts. Maps help to define complex business issues clearly. Sometimes, a map expresses complexity neatly all by itself. At other times, maps are best used in conjunction with other presentation tools.

The MapBusinessOnline Export Map Image button lets users export maps as KML, Jpeg, or PNG image files.  KML is useful for business map users who have a map application with web posting ability but without the ability to create compelling business maps.  You can create your fancy business map in MapBusinessOnline, export a KML file, and then import that map into Google Maps and many other KML-supporting applications.

Data Enhancements

In addition to importing your own location data into your business map, MapBusinessOnline includes access to Business Listings, demographic, and geographic datasets. For example, you could add critical resource data to your map as business listings color-code ZIP codes based on population or income levels and export an imported data set with additional relevant jurisdiction data such as counties or Census tracts.

Employed Labor Theme & Homeless Beds Heat Map

Take advantage of workflow shortcuts whenever possible to save time and minimize map clutter.

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.
This entry was posted in Business Mapping Software blog post, Franchise Mapping, How to instruction, Sales and marketing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply