How to Optimize Your Business Map’s Look & Feel

Map Business Online includes a variety of specific editing tools designed to help you, the business map creator, to adjust your map for an optimum look and feel.  That said, “optimum look and feel” is a subjective thing.

A few years back my wife decided that we needed to give our peeling white farmhouse a new paint job. We needed to give it a new ‘look and feel,’ so to speak.  Our old house had been white since 1860 – which I barely remember. My wife chose a teal blue. Our old peeling white shingles were going to get painted a bright new color.

New Look & Feel in Process

After the painting got started, it took my neighbor a few days to ask me, “Are you going to stick with that color? It doesn’t really match the neighborhood.” Clearly, his preferred look and feel on the big white farmhouse didn’t match my wife’s vision. And just like houses, maps are subjective.  That’s why Map Business Online includes a variety of tools that give the map creator control over the map ‘look and feel’. But, after you invest time on your map’s look and feel, I recommend not showing it to your neighbor.

Suggested Edits for Territory Maps

Sales territory maps are a common application for business mapping software users.  Usually, our users are building territories based on ZIP codes or counties. There are several key controls over map look and feel that should be considered for territory maps.  These tools are accessed through Map Business Online’s Map and Data box.

Map and Data is a light blue box that hovers over the map area – usually on the left side, but it can be moved. If it’s closed, you will find the blue Map and Data launch arrow at the far left side of the application in the middle of the side panel. Click to Open.  Hover over layers to Edit Map Properties. Read more on Map & Data.

I won’t be addressing how to create territories with this blog post. Read about territory creation here.  Once you’ve created your territory map, Map and Data will display the territory layer as a checkbox option.

See Me, Feel Me

See me, feel me” is what your business map says to your map audience. To adjust the look and feel of your territory map, hover your cursor over the territory layer in Map and Data. Click the Edit map Properties Gear.  You will find yourself looking at a light blue panel with four key ‘look and feel’ adjustment tools at the top. Here’s what I do to improve my territory maps look:

  1. Uncheck all of the map layers in Map and Data: ZIP code, County, State, or other non-territory district map layers. Leave the background (usually Streets) on for now.
  2. Check on the Hide Internal Boundaries box. Immediately your map will become less clutters. For ZIP code-based territories, this adjustment will eliminate internal ZIP code boundaries across your territories.
  3. Next, at the top Line should be checked on. Drop down your line options and select the next thicker Map Layer Outline or boundary option. You may prefer a thinner boundary. Still, try a few options.
  4. Now drop down the border color selection and choose a dark border color. I find a darker, thicker territory border will tell the map viewer that this is indeed a territory map. It brings the viewers attention to the territories.
  5. Next, make your territory fill transparent by moving the Trans scroll bar to the right. Play with the control to see what level of transparency looks best for you. Notice the color selection and how it fades.

That’s great.  Now let’s add some other layers back to determine which map administrative districts like states or ZIP codes add the most value to the map. These map layers all work the same. From Map and Data’s start dialogue, hover over each map layer with your cursor and select Edit Map Properties. Once inside Edit Map Properties, you can simply place your cursor next to the target layer and the dialogue will shift to that layer.

  1. Select the State layer. I like to uncheck the fill and simply select the State Layer Outline or boundary controls.  Try a darker boundary for the state layer. It should be different from the territory border color. Try a few thickness options, and choose the one you prefer. I like using states as a referential layer. I think it gives a map viewer a sense of where they are. An oriented map viewer is more open to your map’s central purpose because they aren’t spending time figuring out where they are.
  2. Do similar exercises with county, city, and ZIP code layers. Turn each layer on, adjust fill and transparency to your liking. Zoom out to a national view and take it all in.  Them zoom into a more regional view. Consider adjustments that enhance your look and feel at the most important zoom levels.
    Ask yourself, “Does this map layer add value to my map?  Or does the map layer in question detract from my maps purpose in some way?” If it clutters the map, turn it off.  If it helps to organize the map view, consider keeping the layer turned on.  Think about each layer. For instance, “Does our business take county boundaries or county related data into consideration when creating our business models?” If it does, then include counties in your map.

Develop a Map Look and Feel

Map Labels

You’ll notice in these Map and Data dialogue pages that there are two editing options listed only the right side of the panel, in the vertically oriented text. The General and Labels tab.  Click into labels to find the label dialogue.  I wrote a previous blog on map labeling here.

As ever, make sure your labels do not clutter the map and that the labels you choose add value to the map.

Remember: Map applications are powerful visualizations tools.  They are also fun to use. Always keep your creative map mind focused on the map’s purpose. Avoid clutter, bright colors, obnoxious symbols, and too much text. The map is about your business. While map preferences are subjective, try to keep you out of your business map.

Filter It

Here’s an extra-credit idea for you. Map Business Online provides several background map options for users to utilize.  You get a map of the USA, the UK, Canada or combinations thereof, to enhance your business map.  But often your map intent is all about a specific area, territory, region or perhaps a district as small as a Census Tract.  Map Business Online has several ways you can filter your data to highlight just the area of interest your constituents want to view.

For States – Filtering by state is a very common requirement so we put a state filter in the Map and Data toolbar. It’s at the top far right of Map and Data’s opening dialogue toolbar.  With the state layer checked on, click the Funnel icon and choose the state or states you’d like to display.  All other states will disappear and the map extent will zoom to the selected group.

For Other Districts – For a focus on one or more ZIP codes, countries, territories, or other map layer segments, use the Data Window view. In the Data Window choose the layer you want to filter by in the upper left drop-down. Then click the Funnel Icon on the Data Window toolbar. Drop down to General on the left.  Next, choose the layer you’re going to filter by.  Now, in the right-side panel select the modifier “Contains” and to the right of that input the name of the county or territory etc. to highlight.  Finally, in the upper left-hand corner of the Data Window check on the Filter Data on the Map check box. Viola. You’re all focused in on your map now.  Don’t forget to uncheck the filter when you’re done.

Another flexible map feature users can adjust is the background map layer.  Read more here.

Choose symbols carefully – read more here. Think about the map legend. Consider preserving your filtered view by saving that map under a different name or a map template.

Back to Reality

Those are some tips around adjusting your map’s look and feel. In the end, our neighbor was happy with the color of our old farmhouse. At least they haven’t said otherwise. Admittedly, I’m better at controlling map clutter than yard clutter. So maybe they’re considering moving anyway?

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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Access Business Listings from Within Map Business Online

As you’ve probably realized by now, Map Business Online got a major upgrade in late December which included access to business listings from with the business mapping application.

These business listings are accessed for a fee. Map Business Online subscribers can buy credits through the Subscription option, under the Upgrade Existing Subscription Tab. It’s the third check box option as you scroll down the page.

Each Map Business Online subscription, including the FREE Trial, has free business listing credits included, so that users can test the tool. One credit is equivalent to one business listings.

You can read the press release we just published about Business Listings here.  I would paste the content into this blog, but the ever present Google Robot that monitors all websites, despises duplicate content.

You can also review our the Map Business Online page dedicated to business listings here.

In general, business listings has been a popular feature request from the Map Business Online community.  Use business listings for the following purposes:

  • To enhance business intelligence through accurate address, contact, sales, and employee size information
  • To build more complete competitor analysis maps
  • To explore potential markets for your products and services
  • To add prospect contacts to CRM systems or create leads for sales and marketing campaigns

We’d also like to hear about how you apply Map Business Online business listings.  Please let us know.

Here’s a link to our Business Listings Webinar registration scheduled for January 24, 2019 at 11:00 AM EST.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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How Business Listings Contribute to Location Intelligence in Map Business Online

Business listings, just added to Map Business Online, are a component of location intelligence.

Location intelligence is information related to specific points or areas on the Earth’s surface. When defined like that, the concept, location intelligence, comes across as very scientific, as if it were a military secret. But when considered from a business perspective, where location points might represent customers, prospects, business facilities, and field installations, location intelligence acquires a cutting-edge aspect for wide-awake managers. Especially when we remember that each and every one of those specific business location points has critical business data associated with them.

Gathering knowledge about customers, prospects, and areas of interest related to your business has become basic due diligence conducted by all successful organizations. The more you know, right?  Location intelligence is the information you need to help your business compete effectively, to maintain a healthy growth rate, and to remain profitable so that your employees maintain solid jobs and the community prospers overall.

That’s the circle of business life, and today it’s directly related to location intelligence.

Our business experience takes place within a market. Location intelligence helps your management team understand and define that market system and keep it productive for your business. For example, 95% of Map Business Online business comes to us through the Google search engine marketplace. Location intelligence helps us perform within the Google marketplace by defining who uses our products for specific applications by location and industry. Homecare agencies in the inner city may apply a Census tracts map layer to monitor patient territories, while more rural homecare agencies will likely use ZIP codes.

Census Tract Map Layer in Use

Effective January 2019, Map Business Online includes access to business listings. By adding business listing data as a searchable dataset within Map Business Online, we’ve expanded the extent of Map Business Online’s location intelligence capability. This makes Map Business Online a better value for businesses that care about winning; about serving their community; or about overall profitability.

Business listings contribute to business intelligence because they provide a wealth of relevant business data:

  • Business name – a business name is the basic element of all business data. Sounds simple enough, but it is critical, and names can vary. Duplicate names can cause confusion and confusion can be expensive.
  • Business address – Accurate addresses are used for sales and delivery routing, mailing; or building visualizations of business opportunities. An address is what makes the location relevant.  Latitude longitude coordinates work just as well.
  • A ZIP Code – ZIP codes (and other geographic units) are base units for overlying demographic trends and sales histories into map visualizations. ZIP codes are used to build area profiles. Product ABC sold well in ZIP code XXXXX let’s find similar ZIP codes across the nation and market product ABC to businesses in those areas.
  • Industry categories – NAICS and SIC codes unlock the types of businesses you sell to and help you to duplicate successful strategies based on business category.
  • Employee data – Categorizing customers and prospects by employee size helps develop your target sweet spot – the optimum prospect for your sales and marketing campaigns.
  • Sales Histories – Useful in categorizing company sizes and defining your customer sweet spots.
  • Location types – Understanding headquarters vs. branch locations helps define sales and marketing approaches, territory assignment, and hiring requirements.

A Word About Ordering

Map Business Online Business Listings Pricing and Ordering takes place here. You’ll find prices listed by quantity purchased under the Subscription page, click the Upgrade Tab. Business listings prices start at $45 for 300 listings.  Each listing equals one credit. Free samples are included with each Map Business Online subscription options.

Map Business Online FREE Trial – 10 listing credits at no charge per subscription

Map Business Online 90-day – 120 listing credits at no charge per subscription

Full-year Single User & Team – 1,200 listing credits at no charge per subscription

Business Listings as a Market Analysis Enhancement

Business listings help to organize and define marketing and sales campaigns, fundraising campaigns, political campaigns and government projects. Each organization will add their own business data points to their campaign target lists. Business listings are the physical location of target accounts. Forward-thinking companies will gather more detailed intelligence for larger accounts, or strategically critical accounts, including research data compiled through Internet searches or hired consultants.

All told, business listings as location intelligence help marketing and sales decision makers define target markets and develop actionable programs designed to improve response rates and customer conversions.

Adding business listings to the Map Business Online feature-set made sense for several reasons:

  1. Our customers were constantly asking for the ability to search for business listings. We track all customer requests and consider adding features that are most often requested.
  2. Map Business Online’s most commonly applied application is customer visualization – seeing a spreadsheet of customer addresses geolocated against a map. An obvious extension of this capability is the ability to conduct geosearches for customers and prospects as business listings.
  3. Another very popular use case for Map Business Online is market analysis. Our customers like to find and explore potential new markets for products and services. Business listings broaden the Map Business Online capability to explore new markets because it adds actual prospects to the analysis based on their business name, business type, or key business characteristics.

Map Business Online business listings will enhance the value of the product’s business analysis capability:

  • New market potential – Defining where and what is the addressable market?
  • Competitor analysis – Identifying competitors and building a strategy that enables business mapping users to compete more effectively.
  • Sales planning – Add sales campaign prospect lists to sales route plans.
  • Strategic analysis – Conduct new market analysis by NAICS & SIC industry type.
  • Sales territory mapping – Add prospect leads or sales opportunities for sales territory rep use in forecasting.

Ultimately business mapping software is intended to improve an organizations sales and marketing by improving your business’s ability to gather relevant location intelligence.  By adding business listings to the Map Business Online toolkit, we’ve provided more location intelligence about points on the Earth that are relevant to your business and will help your business compete more effectively.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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Geographic Searches Using Map Business Online

The ability to search for data geographically is the essence of business mapping. Neanderthal man struggled to express himself verbally, but he was able to draw a rudimentary map in the dirt to explain where water was located or where the best elk hunting was to be expected over the next couple of moon phases.

But what primitive man couldn’t achieve was a simple radius search of that roughly mapped-out area in the dirt. A radius search might have returned a list of the three top hunting locations based on multiple criteria. But such a geographic search was not doable 50,000 years ago. Thus, there were many early-man afternoons spent wistfully waiting for elk herds that never appeared.  And believe me, Neanderthal woman didn’t think much of that.  So, from the humble beginning of a hairy toe in the dirt, began the slow evolution of location intelligence software.

Fast forward to the present and behold the advent of business mapping software. Today, no man or woman in business has to live without the ability to conduct geographic searches of their business data – elk-related or otherwise.  The tools are available online as a cloud service and are much more affordable than elk meat, or even elk horns for that matter.

Geographic searches can be conducted in a variety of ways, from a simple radius search to a complex assessment of hundreds of circles at one time. A geographic search of client address data can be explored over an area encompassed by a circle or over the area not encompassed by that same circle. From elk visualization to customer visualization, geographic search tools are a critical business assist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Primitive Map Geek

Map Business Online offers multiple  geographic search options:

Spatial Search –A search of data conducted within the area of a map object such as a polygon, circle, or designated area of interest.

An Inverse Spatial Search – Using the same map object as noted above as a spatial search, an inverse spatial search searches the area located outside of that map object.

Radius Search – A spatial search conducted around a point at a specified radius distance. It is essentially the search of an area inside of a circle. And, without being too redundant, one can search for data outside of the same circle – another inverse search.

Polygon Search – A spatial search within an area that is a non-circle or free-form shape.

A Drive Time Search – A spatial search of an object defined by a drive time polygon described by the distance driven along the road network from a central point in all directions, over a given period of time.  The area is how far you can drive along the road network from Point X, in all directions, in ten minutes.

A Driving Distance Search – A spatial search of an object defined by a specified driving distance, driven in all directions around a central point.  Similar to drive time but focused on distance, not time.

A Territory Search – A spatial search of a polygon defined by a business territory. Territories can be made up of administrative districts like ZIP codes, states, counties, or Census tracts.

Whether you’re in the business on hunting elk or of hunting clients and prospects, a geographic search will improve your success rate by providing new perspectives on your hunting grounds, or by exposing new places to hunt using your tried and true methodologies.

I’ve got to believe there was a primitive map geek tracking the number of elk killed at each grazing spot each season.  It may have been tracked by notching a stick, but he or she tracked it. And perhaps that particular group survived a little easier than the average cave bear, back in the day.

How many cave people does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Three – Once to screw in the bulb and two to hold torches so you can see what the hell your doing.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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How to Create a Demographic Map Background Using Map Business Online

In an earlier business mapping blog we discussed trying a variety of the Map Business Online provided background map options for your business map. Recently a customer mentioned using a demographic map background over which they would plot points. That’s a pretty simple configuration in Map Business Online and definitely blog worthy.

How to Prepare a Demographic Map Background

A brand new Map Business Online user might not know where to start.  Start with a new map view – the left most button on the Master Toolbar.  Next, decide what map layer you’d like to use for your demographic background map.  You have choices.  I would guess most user will choose either counties or ZIP codes, but Census Tracts, states, and city limits are all available. See the Add Map Layers button on the master toolbar for all the additional options.

Select your preferred map layer in the Map and Data Box. Check it on. Hover your mouse cursor over that layer a little longer and click the Edit Map Properties gear that pops up.  Within the edit map properties area you can adjust the look and feel of your soon-to-be demographic layer. You have the following controls under the General Tab:

  • Border line controls – Thickness and color settings
  • Fill control – Fill and color assignment for the inside of a ZIP code or County
  • Transparency scroll bar – Adjust the transparency of your fill color to show Streets or topography

Click the Labels Tab along the right side, also found in Edit Map Properties to adjust:

  • Text font size, color, shadow effect
  • Adjust which Zoom Levels display Auto Labels (ZIP code, County, State labels). See the “Start labeling from” drop down.
  • Text justification

Use these controls to adjust boundary lines, map layer fill, and text sizes. Get used to the controls within Map & Data because they help you control the look and feel of your business map. Color, transparency, and text appearance help your map audience to better understand your map’s purpose. A map maker makes it easy for her audience to understand her map.

Color-Code the Map Layer Based On Demography

Still focused on the Map and Data box, once again, hover over the target layer, in our map example it will be a ZIP code layer.  Our goal is to color-code that ZIP code layer based on 2016 USA Median Income.

In the Map and Data Edit Map Properties function, under General, choose Color Code Map Layer. A dialogue box appears and presents the options for color-coding the ZIP code map layer. You’ll see that Demographic Data is  pre-selected.

Let’s drop down past the 2018 and 2017 projected demographic data and use the most recently updated USA Census layer from 2016. Note the wide variety of demographic  data options available in business mapping software. Carefully search down the list until you come to Median Income for 2016. Select Median Income and then review the pre-selected ranges for color-coding.

For color-code ranges, Map Business Online allows up to 100 ranges. That’s a lot for a map. Don’t do a hundred color ranges unless your boss is crazy and he demands it. “This is a witch hunt. I want all one hundred colors used!” If he talks like that, just do what says. In a couple of years, he may be gone.

In the meantime, keep your color-coding options simple. With Median Income I would select four or perhaps five ranges, and then set your range income figures at sensible values such as:

$0 to $25,000

$25,001 to $35,000

$35,001 to $47,500

$47,501 to $75,000

$75,001 to $250,000

Something like that. You’ll note, with median income setting variation in the higher ranges does not generate color gradations because, by nature, Median Income is relatively low in value.

After setting your range and value scheme, click Done to view the map.  It’s easy to go again and adjust values or colors to your liking. Remember, you want the map to be easy-on-the-eyes. Don’t make colors and data obtrusive. Take a step back and view the map. Have a colleague review it to catch things you might have missed.

Lastly, along with your map color-code scheme Map Business Online will provide a legend.  By clicking on the tiny, upper right-hand corner of the Legend (Edit Legend Properties button) you can edit that legend.  And you should edit it.  Make your layer label text succinct. Delete unnecessary labels from the legend, like “States layer.” Try to consolidate layer labeling where convenient. I always delete Legend text that doesn’t add value like, “No Data Available.” Remember, the goal is to help your viewers understand the map.

Now your map has a demographic map background using Census data that has meaning for your map audience.  Import data layers, add territories, drop on some text labels.  Have a ball mapping a nice business map for your constituents.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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How do You Access Topography in Map Business Online

I recently ran into a friend who lives in rural Maine close by my home. In fact, visible across the valley in my backyard. Her home is on a hill, as is mine, and is surrounded by beautiful mountains.  She wants to purchase a custom contour relief map that places her home at the center, so her husband can easily identify the various mountains visible from their porch in all directions.

I suggested she contact Summit Maps for a solution, but there are probably a few other companies creating such 3-D topographic relief maps.

One of the first things I did while exploring my friends requirement was to launch Map Business Online and view our area using the topographic map background options. I’m always struck by how compelling a topographic map view is when compared to our standard Streets map background option. It’s a reminder that business mapping software isn’t always just about business. Maps are fun.

No medical facilities located on the old volcano

The Map Background is Optional

There are two topographic map background layers in Map Business Online:

  1. Topographic – An Esri generated map that provides a wonderful layout with elevation data noted as well as the major mountains and hills in shaded relief, rivers and lakes, cities and towns, and key government-sponsored parks.
  2. National Geographic – Another topographical map with richer shades of green describing vegetative growth areas. This map background also offers shaded relief. The focus for textual detail is directed more at towns than mountains, but you’ll find major mountains listed.

Map Business Online’s Streets background data layer is much more road-centric.  You will find some shaded relief on that view which displays land contours, but mountain data is largely left out, in favor of streets and towns. This is appropriate for a true business map.

Satellite imagery options are also included, but discerning topographic detail from a satellite map is difficult. The imagery data background is more useful for defining towns and rural areas based on vegetative growth. Satellite imagery is a nice background alternative when your goal is to highlight counties, ZIP codes or other map layers.

Remember, map creation is a subjective process.  A business mapping tool like Map Business Online provides options so that you can make your map sing to your specific map audience. Suggested map applications for these optional map backgrounds:

  • Standard Business Map displaying customer visualizations with some demographic data. Stick with Map Business Online Streets. Unless you always use the Streets background and you want to make this map different – then try the National Geographic option.
  • Maps Describing Rural vs. Urban areas – Try either Map Business Online’s National Geographic map background or the satellite imagery offering. Both provide the eye with obvious distinguishing features identifying rural and urban areas.
  • Recreational Maps – Try either the National Geographic or Topographic map backgrounds. Topography and land cover details help define areas for specific uses.
  • Nationwide Jurisdiction Areas – MSA’s, county and city jurisdictions are sometimes more prominent over a satellite imagery map. Satellite map views are a nice change of pace over standard street map views for your map viewers.
  • Research Maps – Especially maps with a focused map purpose, consider the National Geographic map background which offers a pleasant view of the USA, soft colors and unobtrusive landcover details. Also, try no map background at all.  Both options allow your singular purpose to rule the map view.
  • Political Maps – Remember to try the Map Business Online congressional districts layer.  I’d suggest starting with no map background. Only add Streets or Topographic backgrounds if they add specific value to the map topic. Otherwise, the graphic content is distracting to your map viewer.
  • Territory Maps – Use the Streets map for an audience of sales representatives. Consider topographic maps only if your business focus considers land use issues, mountain obstacles, or real estate transactions.

There really are many reasons for creating and sharing business maps. Digital maps provide unique perspectives on business, societal trends, or just plain areas of interest. Online business mapping software provides the tools that let you design and present compelling maps for your map audience.  Use the background options in a manner that supports your map’s intent.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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Consider Privacy Policies When Sharing Maps with Imported Data

As a business mapping application in the Cloud, Map Business Online is, by its nature,  a place where business data will be shared. A large percentage of those shared data situations are beneficial to businesses and provides information for the user base and end-user client customers in some way, shape, or form.  Sharing is good.

Positive examples of shared online data include reviews of products and services, climate change mitigation stories, and best bargains available by region. These cases follow the maxim that data is meant to be shared.

However, personal data is not meant to be shared.  Personal data and proprietary business data are private and should never be posted on cloud service applications that provide access to the public at large. Examples of private data not intended for sharing, include medical records, social security numbers, employment records, and credit card account numbers.

While Map Business Online offers both privately and publicly shared map services, we try to be very clear about the risks involved with sharing data.  The responsibility for sharing that data lies with the Map Business Online user.  It is imperative that your business has policies and training in place to control data sharing activity. Read about Map Business Online security measures.

While we’ve never experienced a breach in our data services, I have noticed a few areas where customer data integrity may be at maximum risk.

High-Risk Map Sharing Periods

For the business mapping user population, it is highly unlikely that a map creator would deliberately share private data. Such a violation would be perpetrated by a nefarious actor. A rare event.  Let’s focus instead on avoiding inadvertent data shares.

A manager responsible for controlling the use of internal data might ask, with regard to business mapping software, “When are the riskiest periods for inadvertently sharing data with an Internet audience?”  Our answer would be, when the users are new to the business mapping, perhaps when they are first trying the product out.

Usually, by the time a business mapping software has been purchased, it has been thoroughly vetted by the customer’s internal software procurement processes.  Specific licenses have been assigned to employees and customer policies around software use and data distribution generally hold sway.  But during that period of testing, when an individual in the company is trialing new software, that is a time when data could inadvertently be shared.

Map Business Online 30-day free trial allowances limit the amount of data allowed on import, so a large breach is virtually impossible, but a simple and small spreadsheet test of business data could occur and should be reviewed for private data.

Because business mapping tools are often peripheral to core business applications like order processing software and CRM systems, the responsibility for finding and testing business mapping will often be assigned to young or new associates.  This too can be risky for data use.  New users may be unfamiliar with company rules and regulations. A new admin, anxious to quickly secure a functionality mapping tool, may quickly upload corporate data samples to test the application, perhaps never realizing they’ve uploaded private data.

If you have just opened a new business that has access to private data, make sure your organization has developed and shared clear rules for using corporate business data  If you aren’t sure what those rules are or if your employees understand those rules, ask around.  A little bit of due diligence in the area of data sharing could mean the difference between success or failure in your new venture.

Inadvertent or deliberate, data leak mitigation can be expensive. Be proactive. Be a pain in the butt and make sure your company complies.

Maps Are Easily Shared

It’s been said that maps are for sharing, and so it is that business mapping software is easily shared.  There are multiple ways to share Map Business Online business maps.

  • Map Business Online maps may be shared as simple web map URL for non-editing views of a common business map. We call this public sharing.  A simple URL is shared and launches Map Business Online
  • Map Business Online also offers a collaborative editing environment that allows multiple map editors to share and edit maps. These team edited maps tend to be private, shared only after editing activities are complete.  With multiple team members reviewing such shared maps, there’s little chance for improper data sharing
  • Map users may also share maps in basic ways, like printed wall maps, or generated image files in PDF, PNG, and Jpeg formats. Such easily shared images could contain private information and should be subject to internal company security measures, applied as necessary

Data imported into Map Business Online could be used for territory mapping, customer visualizations, or simple sharing leads across a call center network. We support businesses in health care, banking, franchising, manufacturing, services, insurance, retail,  and many other industries.

We recommend caution when uploading business data onto a business map.  be aware of your company’s data sharing policies.  Understand the nature of your business and what constitutes proprietary data, personal data, or information that might just be best left unpublished.  Maps are for sharing. Private data is for you to protect.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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Enhancements to Team Invitations in Map Business Online

Map Business Online provides access to Collaborative Team Mapping.  Essentially, Map Business Online team mapping means you can share maps privately between team members for collaborative editing or just plain map viewing. The map creator decides who gets to share their maps and to what extent their constituents can edit those shared maps. It’s map editing for business work-groups and it is an advanced application of business mapping software.

Map Business Online Team Mapping is also the way we handle bulk subscription purchases.  In both team mapping and large volume Map Business Online purchases, the multi-seat subscription is managed by a Team Administrator. That admin oversees the sharing of the purchased subscription across all the registered users covered by the purchase.  It could be a purchase supporting five users or five thousand.

Primary Admin Role

A Map Business Online Team Admin’s primary role is to share the subscription with the team of users. The process is accomplished through email notifications of a shared subscription.

All Map Business Online map sharing (public and private) takes place in the Share Interactive Map button located four buttons in from the left on the Master Toolbar.  Team Mapping is managed in the Private Sharing tab.

The Invitation Process

We’ve recently simplified the team invitation process. To invite users to your team, go to Account/Users & Teams page. The Users tab will be selected by default. You will see your name welcomed (the Admin) which indicates you are the owner of the account.

Click the Invite New User button to start inviting Team users to the subscription. A dialogue box pops up which asks the Admin to enter the email address of the invited user(s).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Map Business Online will send an e-mail to the invited user.  The invitation message goes to all users, whether they are registered with Map Business Online or not.  If you click “accept invitation” and you are already registered, you will receive a confirmation that your invitation was successful. If you have not registered, you will be served the registration page after you press Accept Invitation.

Once you’ve got an invitee acceptance, click Finish in the Invite User Dialogue.

Once you send the invitation, the Users and Team list will display all your invited users as either Accepted or Pending. Refresh your browser to view any status change.

Accepted – This means your invited user may log into Map Business Online and begin mapping

Pending – This means your invited user has not accepted your invitation yet. They may be asleep or perhaps your email went to their spam filter

The Actual Invitation

To resend the invitation click the Mail Envelop icon to the right side of the invited user panel.  Click resend on the Resend Invitation dialogue.

Trouble Shooting Invitations

Make sure the invitee’s email is the current login email applied.  Sometimes users start off testing Map Business Online using a Gmail account.  If an invited user uses another email to log into Map Business Online, your invitation will not work.  The application browser will remember the initial registration email. Ask your user to log out of Map Business Online and suggest that they clear their browser cache

Do not forward invitations – forwarded invitations just will not work

There’s Public Sharing and Private Sharing 

Remember, in Map Business Online there is Public sharing and Private sharing:

  • Public sharing – Emailing an interactive web map as a URL. Viewers can pan and zoom, route, save, query, and measure the map – but they cannot edit the map. Public sharing is for viewing purposes, not for collaborative editing.
  • Private Sharing – Collaborative team map editing accessed through the process described above. Private sharing is what team admins are using to share maps.

Organizations use collaborative team map editing to leverage multiple minds on shared business operations and challenges like sales territory management, customer billing issues, and project management.  It enables cross-department or even cross-company collaboration. It is an advanced technical process that requires administrative skills, mapping skills, and adherence to rules.

Enjoy solving problems with Map Business Online team map editing.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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Black Friday Sales Trends – 2018

 

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How to Use Your Own Symbols in Map Business Online

The most frequently used feature of Map Business Online is the import of user location data. Usually, this imported data is an address-based list, but it could be latitude/longitude coordinates or just plain a plain ZIP code list. The point is many business mapping users import their business data into Map Business Online. 

Once user location-based data is imported, Map Business Online business mapping software applies symbols to the locations, usually a simple set of colored dots. The user can easily adjust those dots from the Data Window or in Map and Data, changing the color or choosing a new symbol from our symbol library.  In the data window choose the layer and then, just to the right of the data selection drop down, you’ll find the symbol selector. Have at it.

In Map and Data, hover over the imported data layer, click the Edit Properties Gear and you will again see the symbol selector. And again, have at it.

The symbol library is also available in the Color Code with Symbols button along the Master Toolbar. This access to the symbol selector button allows Map Business Online users to create symbolization schemes based on elements of their imported data. For example, mapping users may color-code by revenue history, by account type, or even by sales rep, the only limiting factor is a range of 100 variables. Watch a video on color coding points.

By choosing the Color Code by Symbols button, ten buttons in from the left along the master toolbar, the user can access their data column for color-coding through a simple drop-down selection. There’s a range selection for expressing many options, but I typically keep that range to under six variables in your data. But that’s up to you.

You’ll see the symbol selector (see image below) with a drop down for symbol library access, and a color box associated with each symbol option. Once you’ve selected your preferred symbols and color simply process by clicking Done.  It’s easy to return to the beginning and adjust further.

The Symbol Selector

Custom Symbols

User-defined custom symbols may be selected from any presentation of the symbol selector library.  Here’s how:

  1. Click the down arrow to enter the symbol selector library
  2. In the library of symbols use the scroll bar on the right side to scroll all the way to the top
  3. Click Manage Custom Symbols, then click Choose New Symbol, and browse to your file
  4. Once your file is selected click Add.  Now your new symbol is a member of your mapping software’s symbol library.

You can access your customer symbols at the top of the library. Scroll to the top and select as usual.

Custom symbols are useful for adding flair to your map.  A custom symbol may be appropriate for your map if you need to make a geographic reference obvious. These symbols could be medical symbols, oil & gas symbols, or a picture of Bradley Cooper.  Choose custom symbols that make your map audience feel at home. You know your audience, you decide.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

 

 

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