Online Maps Will Help You Reach Your Mountain Top

A 4th of July Week Pandemic Distraction

I live in Cornish, ME adjacent to the largest area of undeveloped land in York County, Maine. Two 1,320-foot mountains sit side-by-side about 1-1/2 miles behind my house. When we first moved to the area you could easily access these beautiful mountains by hiking up along public dirt roads. But since that time, all of those roads have become no-trespassing areas. One access road is defended by a Second Amendment fanatic, making the forbidden passage somewhat hair-raising.

Still, those mountain summits beckon. They provide amazing views of the surrounding area with vistas of Southern Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, including Mount Washington. Now that the kids are grown and I have a little more weekend time and the need to exercise, I committed to discovering a new path to reach those mountains outback; one that didn’t require a bulletproof vest.

Decent maps were an essential part of achieving my goal. I consulted many maps including:

Most of these maps were not business maps but I don’t limit all of my map use to market analysis and sales territory mapping.  Not all online maps are a MapPoint replacement. (And low, he pays tribute to the Google SEO Gods.) Moving on.

Last summer I took a series of hikes from my house back into the woods, attempting to get around Clark Mountain to climb Hosac Mountain, the highest peak with a clear 360° view. To be clear, I could simply drive a few miles, park my car and walk into the Sawyer Mountain preserve, right up to Hosac Mountain. But I wanted to walk up to those mountain tops from my backdoor with no assist from a vehicle. You get it, right? No fossil fuel expended for my weekend excursions, litter picked up along the way, walking the whole distance commando, and other radical far-left rituals.

Just me, the woods, and ten thousand tics.

But last summers hikes didn’t reveal an efficient hike up the mountain. I had an efficient start, but I needed to get around Clark Mountain, and find a path to Old Sawyer Mountain Road. That was the key.

Skirting Clark Mountain

Clark Mountain stands between my house and Hosac Mountain. Almost identical in height, Hosac is cleared on top providing astounding views of Southern Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Clark Mountain has a few nice overlook spots, but it is quite wooded, and it is gated-off to prevent interloper access. Clark does block the view of Mount Washington from the top of Hosac, but with all the hills around my house, I see Mount Washington more than I see my wife.

The first-quarter mile hike, up the requisite rise in elevation to reach these hills, takes place on town roads, mainly Mountain Road in Cornish. This half-hour hike is a wonderful walk I hike often in the mornings before work. Although it’s only a quarter-mile hike up to a lookout, you get wonderful views of Mount Washington and Western Maine’s Pleasant Mountain.

 

 

An Overlook off of Mountain Road – A Quarter Mile Hike Above the House (in blue)

To hike the full Hosac Mountain loop from that abbreviated hike up Mountain Road I follow an old hunting and RV trail that leaves the maintained road to the south. Late last February I followed this trail into the woods.  The path leads directly to the base of Clark Mountain and follows the mountain base’s west side for about a half a mile.

Taking this trail in February was unusual for a Maine winter.  The snowpack was quickly disappearing due to an early spring thaw. In the mid-morning winter sun, the ground and snow remained frozen, so I was able to walk normally without a lot of mud and wetness in my boots. There were no signs of snowmobiles on the trail.

As the trail moved south the ascent was gradual until my cell phone altitude app told me I was  approaching 1100 feet, the highest point before descending again and approaching Hosac, my goal. I saw no animals in the vicinity on that day, but there was plenty of deer sign and moose scat at one point. I stumbled across the remains of a blue jay ripped to shreds by a wild cat or a coyote. The wind blew silently through the trees and my neck got a chill as I stared at the bright blue feathers frozen into the top layer of snow.

My take-away from this delicate moment was that sometimes it sucks to be a blue jay. No wonder they make such a racket.

Last summer when I came this way I stuck with the trail as my altitude declined on the far side of the mountain.  But my dogged trust in my sense of direction led me into swampy areas. At the time I moved to the north to avoid the muck and mire and only found more of the same. I got lost, I fell, and I got wet, and that was on a nice summer day. I eventually reached the Old Sawyer Mountain Road, long since discontinued. And from there I did summit Hosac, but the entire hike was ugly and would not serve as an efficient and comfortable hike for an aging, whiney, baby boomer.

A MapBusinessOnline view of my backyard mountains

 

I want to be able to bring visiting friends up to these scenic vistas. I’m not going for Jeremiah Johnson in a blizzard, warmed in the cabin by the near-dead pioneer widow Baxter. No way. I’m going more for recently retired yuppie takes a two-hour walk on a beautiful summer day and naps when he gets home. No cabin-bound, practically frozen widows involved.

So, on my winter’s day hike, when I reached the end of the marked trail, this time I turned to the east. I made this turn, based on a topographic trail map I found online in December, one of perhaps fifty maps I perused while researching this hike. You can also find Topographic Maps in MapBusinessOnline.   This particular map indicated a 900-foot contour line at the base of Clark Mountain once I reached the southern side.  It showed that contour line follows the mountain base around to the east and then takes a hairpin turn back to the west, leaving the wet area below that 900-foot ridgeline in the crotch of that hairpin turn.

Contour lines are noted on classic topographic maps. Each line represents the contour of the landscape based on its elevation about sea-level.

900 Ft Contour Line on a MapBusinessOnline Topographic Map

I knew from looking at all the maps I consulted, that this contour line was my answer. When my position on the far side of the trail had declined to 900-feet on my cell phone altitude app, I moved east. By now I could see and hear that the wetland I’d encountered last summer was fed by a rushing brook quite alive with snowmelt. On some of the old maps that brook is called Little River.

As I moved east there was no longer a path.  The terrain was steep and shaded by a thick stand of pines. The ground here is rocky and muddy with little vegetative cover. But with the help of a long thick maple walking stick, I was able to maintain my balance and avoid an embarrassing call to my wife begging for the rescue squad. I pushed on, gradually making my way down to the Little River.

I then followed the brook east and upstream for maybe a hundred and fifty yards. The stream was quite beautiful in the hazy morning sun. I carefully selected a crossing point where several boulders and a log seemed to guarantee that my boots would remain dry. These Little River stones lived up to their promise and  helped me across the rushing stream, no worse for wear.  I then spent an hour wandering around on the other side of the wetland looking for the Old Sawyer Mountain Road by dead reckoning with no luck.

I got tired quickly, it being the first walk of the season and having not eaten before I left home (like an idiot.) I decided I should return to the brook and pick-up the map’s contour scheme again. In doing this I found Old Sawyer Mountain Road within five minutes. #Maps are great.

Old Sawyer Mountain Road

Old Sawyer Mountain Road once provided passage for horses and carriages. Its use was stopped before 1930. But the road now serves as a wonderful walking trail deep in the Sawyer Mountain woods. Covered by tree canopy, the road is pretty much a straight-line turnpike from Clark Mountain in Cornish to Lowd Road, in Limerick. It’s about fifteen feet wide and bordered by stone walls on each side.  There are old home foundations and cemeteries along the road. The obsolete road is now a mountain path, rutted and muddy in many areas, but in summer it softens and offers a bed of dry leaves upon which to enjoy a shaded hike on a hot summer day. If you can find the freaking thing.

As it turns out, the brook crosses Old Sawyer Mountain Road just a quarter-mile east from where I left the hunting trail and began my bushwhacking excursion. Huzzah!

My turn-by-turn directions would be these: Turn right off of Mountain Road, follow the Clark Mountain hunting trail south, then follow the Little River East until you reach Old Sawyer Mountain Road.  Follow Sawyer Mountain Road east for about 20 yards and take a right onto a wide trail sloping up that leads to Hosac Mountain. That trail will T onto another trail. Bear right at the T to access the incredibly steep Hosac Peak access road. You’ll see the tall cell tower as you approach the mountain top from the woods.

Hosac Panoramic View

Once a hiker reaches Hosac Mountain there are frequently used trails in several directions that lead to Sawyer Mountain and the Francis Small Heritage Trust trail system. There are also roads leading to the towns of Limerick and Limington, Maine from Hosac Mountain. A hiker could spend weeks walking the trails back there and see very few humans.

A rainbow viewed from the Hosac Summit

My goal had been achieved. The critical element of my success was studying the various maps of the area. The maps varied quite dramatically from each other.  Specifically, the actual position of Old Sawyer Mountain Road varies from map to map.  Many show the old road moving right over the top of Clark Mountain, an unrealistic placement based on the old road’s original purpose – basic horse drawn transportation between remote homes on the heights and the town. It made much more sense for the road to circumnavigate the base of Clark Mountain where maintenance and passage of horse-drawn carriages would be easier, especially during winter.

The map that most accurately depicted the obsolete road was the Town of Cornish tax map. But you just don’t think to review a tax map to find an accurate hiking path.  Hikers should consider consulting tax maps for old trail verifications. Follow the money.

My point, overall here, in addition to hiking as a great pastime and source of good clean fun, is that digital maps, studied carefully can provide navigation solutions to backwoods trail use. No surprise, I guess. But these geographic sources are all there online for free and can be a fun and productive way to pretend you’re Davy Crockett or a near-dead widow in the wilderness, without becoming one.

Just be sure to bring your cell phone and some water.

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Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

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5 Reasons Sales Organizations Chooses MapBusinessOnline Sales Territory Mapping

Sales Territory Management is a primary reason why customers select MapBusinessOnline over competing business mapping software products. I could just say we’re better, we’re easier, and we’re more affordable, but then I wouldn’t have much of a blog post. I’m supposed to shoot for 750 words.

Businesses  require sales territory mapping software for a variety of reasons.

  • Franchise businesses want the ability to sell and manage their ZIP code territories
  • Pharmaceutical companies must monitor the sales of traveling sales reps across complex and ever-changing territories
  • Retail stores set up territories by store locations to track foot traffic, measure marketing campaigns, and to build demographic ZIP code profiles
  • Manufacturing sales organizations track direct sales teams and manufacturing rep companies across nationwide regions and divisions
  • Distributors and wholesalers create territories by state, metro area, and product line, using territory sales records to rebalance inventories
  • Healthcare businesses use territories to plan the cross-state expansion of hospital systems or to track field clinicians across a home care system
  • Insurance companies apply territory analysis to field claims management, expose coverage gaps, and to support classic sales departments in monitoring and sharing sales results

There are at least five major reasons why MapBusinessOnline is the sales territory mapping program of choice for business mapping customers all over the USA and Canada.

Ease of Data Import

Sales territory managers spend a great deal of time and effort preparing for and creating sales territories. Generally, data preparation for a complete sales territory mapping scheme will include a spreadsheet of ZIP codes or County based territories as well as an address spreadsheet of accounts and prospective accounts. MapBusinessOnline streamlines the location data import process providing easy and fast map visualizations of both customer visualizations and sales territory creation.

MapBusinessOnline sales territory management offers a multistep import process that is intuitive and includes instructional wizards that describe the process in easy steps, for people who prefer that. Video tutorials and help docs provide quick and easy guides for the creation of your first territories, after which additional territories are a snap. Chat and email support will get you past any roadblocks, like Point vs. Boundary ZIP codes (yes – that’s a thing.)

Competitor software offerings tend to be more complicated. GIS competitors, like Maptitude, require a Rocket Science degree and a subscription to MIT Calculus magazine to create a basic map.

Complex Territory Hierarchies

Ease of Territory Editing

Once those territories are created, they must be managed. Unfortunately, my friend, nothing stays the same in life. MapBusinessOnline enables mouse click territory selection leading to a menu of editing options including operations like:

  • Add to
  • Remove from
  • Remove from all Except
  • Update
  • Intersecting
  • Create New

Holding down the shift key during the map layer selection process enables multiple map object (ZIP code) selection. These easy-to-learn tools will make you the expert at creating and managing territories for your sales team in no time.

Updates and changes to territory maps are critical to your sales process. Many businesses optimize their territories based on a variety of metrics which could include: the number of accounts, travel requirements, legacy accounts, product spread, or other industry-specific measures. Choose a sales territory mapping software that makes the change management portion of your job easy, fast, and fun.

MapBusinessOnline is More Affordable

While MapBusinessOnline is priced below our competition, it is important to also compare the features and allowances, when determining which business mapping software is the best solution for your business.

  • MapBusinessOnline offers generous location data import allowances. Pay attention to the amount of data our competitors allow. They tend to be stingy
  • MapShare free viewer sessions are extremely affordable – in fact, shared map sessions are free up to 1200 sessions a year. Every subscription includes the ability to share interactive web maps for free
  • Business listings are available for you to search, map, and to export at $0.15 per listing
  • Extra routing credits for vehicle routing or drive time calculations are also available for a small fee, should you run out of your subscription’s generous allowance

The Most Like Microsoft MapPoint

There are still Microsoft MapPoint replacement seekers landing on MapBusinessOnline.com every day. They come seeking an online mapping solution that can replace MapPoint and provide a similar user interface. We’ve converted thousands of such MapPoint refugees over the past five years.

MapBusinessOnline’s look, feel, and user interface comes very close to MapPoint. Your most dedicated MapPoint users will feel relieved after they make the switch and start accessing up-to-date ZIP codes and Demographic Data. Don’t waste any more of your associate’s valuable time working with obsolete maps and demographic data. Get access to state-of-the-art mapping features.

Territory Map Layer Flexibility

For some companies, sales territories are simply groupings of ZIP codes in organized sections surrounding the home location of salespeople or within a specified radius of an office or a warehouse. Other businesses require more complex sales territories.

Complex sales territories often exist for good reasons. More advanced businesses can turn to MapBusinessOnline for flexible territory development that offers multiple sales territory options:

  • Create multiple sets of territories on several map layer geographies – ZIP code and county for instance – all on one map
  • Identify areas of overlapping sales territories. Show ZIP codes belonging to more than one sales territory in bright red or black – you choose the color
  • Leave some states or counties whole and split other states and counties up into smaller segments

MapBusinessOnline Standard and Pro offer advanced territory management tools that will support your organization’s sales force as they set-up sales territories and maintain them moving forward.

Unparalleled Technical Support

For more than 95% of our customer base, we never receive help requests, which speaks to the ease-of-use of MapBusinessOnline.  But the other 5 percent, who may require some assistance we offer multiple ways to access technical support:

  • Chat with a technical sales rep during business hours. Ask us anything. We’ll get you on track in short order
  • Email for technical support or request a web-share demonstration of the product
  • Call the technical support 800 number
  • Read our blog which contains hundreds of user scenarios and how-to documents on popular features and applications
  • The more visual folks may want to peruse our YouTube video library filled with video demonstrations of common practices

Lastly, read what our customers have to say about MapBusinessOnline on one of our review sites.

Capterra.com and ShopperApproved.com

I could ramble on about why MapBusinessOnline.com is the preferred mapping solution for the Universe at large, but I’ve got to get this blog posted.  Suffice it to say, MapBusinessOnline’s features are designed for business people just like you, who just need to create a map as part of their business process or business analysis.

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Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. No More Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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How to Create a ZIP Code Heat Map

Up here in New England, it’s getting hot outside. What better time than during a heatwave to discuss heat mapping. After all, heat maps are cool.

Heat maps describe business or human activity by color shading data values over specific locations or areas. A business map is manipulated to depict the concentration of sales transactions by address, or the intensity of thunderstorm activity across an area.

MapBusinessOnline includes a heat map button on the Master Toolbar. This button enables the creation of color intensified areas across a set of location data points based on the numeric values assigned to those points on the map. This is great for showing the intensity of sales by account or by salesperson. A great addition to a sales territory map or sales planning map.

What the MapBusinessOnline Heat Map button does not do is display the intensity of data by ZIP code.

There are two different types of heat maps:

  1.  Heat maps that reflect data intensity by location points – like the heat map button in MapBusinessOnline, and
  2. Heat maps that reflect data intensity by area such as ZIP codes or Counties

Your boss or associate may expect their requested heat map to show point-based or ZIP code-based heat mapping. Make sure you are clear on their requirement.

ZIP Code Heat Maps

A ZIP code heat map links a set of location data points to a group of ZIP codes. The ZIP codes would then be color-coded based on the numeric value of the data the map creator is required to highlight. The map below reflects imported location data showing COVID-19 cases by ZIP code, which in Massachusetts corresponds closely to cities and towns. In the case displayed I color-coded the ZIP codes based on the column of COVID-19 case numeric data.

COVID-19 Heat Map by ZIP Code

In general, the term heat map is used because maps that display data intensity tend to use colors toward the red or hotter side of the color spectrum. These maps use redder colors to reflect more intensive concentrations of the imported numeric data.

ZIP 5 codes are a popular area unit of measure for heat mapping because they are relatively small and relatively familiar to all US citizens. ZIP codes can be color-shaded to reflect local or national data values. A heat map could be applied to town areas, counties, states, or Census tracts. MapBusinessOnline also includes ZIP 3 codes, Metropolitan Statistical Areas, and even Congressional Districts, which could all be heat mapped. How cool is that?

ZIP 5 Heat Mapping in MapBusinessOnline

I know, stop yapping and tell me how to do it, you’re thinking.

  1. Import the location data you’d like to turn into a Heat Map. A ZIP code map will reflect heat map intensity for address-based imported data points.

The imported data should include location columns, like these:

      1. Addresses, or Lat/Lon coordinates
      2. ZIP codes or
      3. Counties, ST or
      4. City, ST
  1. Import your location data using the Plot Data button. Read more on data importing.
  1. Click the Color Code Map button on the Master Toolbar – 3 Puzzle Piece Icon
    1. Select the map layer you want to Heat Map – in this case, ZIP codes
    2. Select your target imported dataset
    3. Select your numeric value column
  2. Within the Color Code Map dialogue move down to select a range ( 2 to 100) and color scheme
    1. In general, keep the range at 2 to 5 ranges. This maintains a less chaotic map. Too many color options make the map difficult for the user to understand. At some point, with too many range levels your heat map becomes a hot mess
    2. Apply colors in a gradation scheme – cold to hot, low to high
    3. At the bottom of the Range/Color tools are some preselected graduated color schemes. These make color arrangements that are easy to read and easy to apply
  3. Click done
  4. Review the map and your ZIP code color scheme. Make sure your map intent is clearly displayed. It’s easy to run the Color-Code Map process again and make adjustments.

That’s how the ZIP code heat map is done in MapBusinessOnline. Compare it to our traditional heat mapping approach outlined below, which you might like better.

  1. Click the Heat Map Button, just to the left of the Color-Code Map button
  2. Select your target imported data layer. Click next.
  3. Choose a color scheme and a heat radius, which controls intensity
  4. Select which column in your data contains the numeric data to be heat mapped
  5. Finally, choose Preview or Done.

Once the heat map is established it is wicked easy to go back to the beginning and readjust the settings or try a few tweaks. Click done and see how it looks.

A Point-based Heat Map

Alternatives to heat mapping include color-coding a point layer.  To do this use the Three Colored Balls icon.  Read more about color-coding options here.

So, go forth and heat map. But keep your maps uncomplicated and easy on the eyes or your heat mapping experience may turn out not so hot.

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Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

 

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10 Tips for New Users of MapBusinessOnline.com

Sometimes we get simple MapBusinessOnline questions on Chat that deserve quick answers, and perhaps some longer-term users may wonder about these same basic processes too. So, here’s a list of simple MapBusinessOnline processes you might wonder about. After all, we are an easy mapping software.

I’m New, How Do I Access the Mapping Tool?

A valid question. Currently, there are two ways to access MapBusinessOnline online mapping software.

  1. Download the Map App for Mac or PC. We recommend that you access your business maps this way. It avoids the need for Adobe Flash Player. In general, IT departments prefer downloaded Apps to Adobe Flash Player. The Download is Here.
  2. Access the Web Map. On MapBusinessOnline.com, scroll down to the bottom margin and click the Web Map link highlighted in blue. This will open up the web browser-based mapping tool. These web maps are rendered through the Adobe Flash Player platform. Adobe is scheduled for termination on December 31, 2020. Please consider using the Map App as mentioned above. An alternative web browser-based map rendering tool is under construction.

How Do I Delete A Map?

On the Master Toolbar, to the far left, click the Map Library Folder, or the Open Map and Manage Saved Map button. The dialogue reveals the My Maps panel. Hover your mouse cursor over the map titles listed and you will notice a Red Button with a White X appears on the right side of any map file. That’s the Delete Map button. Find the map you wish to delete and then get that red button to show up again and click it. “Bada bing, Buda bang, ” your map is history.

Make double sure you want to delete that particular map. And make triple sure that that specific map is the map you want to delete. I can’t tell you how many times a user deletes the wrong map. Retrieving a deleted map is time-consuming and will cost you at least $300.00. Be sure.

I Lost the Map I Was Working On

Two important concepts to understand here. First, to really save a map you must click the Save button on the master toolbar – three buttons in from the left. That puts the map in the Map Library Folder, or the Open Map and Manage Saved Map button, as mentioned above.

Second, MapBusinessOnline.com is a web app. So, if you are working in a browser-based version – Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, or Safari – the web-browser will cache or preserve a view of the last thing you were doing in MapBusinessOnline. It does this with all the web applications you use.

People often get lulled into the belief that their map has been saved. It hasn’t. You have to click that save button to save your map. Where this can be tricky is when  a map user, changes their web-browser for whatever reason. If you’ve been using Chrome for a month, you come into work, you open Chrome and your map is there.  You do your work. But if you change web browsers and use Firefox one day, instead of Chrome you will open MapBusinessOnline and the map will not be there, because it’s not cached by the browser. Hopefully, you saved the map and it is snuggled safely in your Map File Folder library.

If not, call us in a panic. We may be able to restore your map files, but it will cost you – as mentioned above $300.00 to cover human and machine time.

I Got A New Computer – How do I Get My MapBusinessOnline?

Just go to Www.MapBusinessOnline.com, download the Map App, or access the Web Map as described above. All you’ll need is your login email and password.  There is always a password management process available at login.

Microsoft Internet Explorer Browsers Can Get Squirrelly

Microsoft has canceled some support for Internet Explorer 10. IE 11 may still be supported for some businesses using advanced Windows Apps. If your company is still using Internet Explorer as a Web Browser and you encounter issues using MapBusinessOnline the cause may be the ActiveX filtering setting in IE. Please try clicking on the settings gear icon in the top right corner of the IE window. Next, go to Safety and uncheck ActiveX filtering if it is checked on.

Our general position on Internet Explorer is that Microsoft has stopped advancing the program. Consider a more modern browser. Better yet – Download the MapBusinessOnline Map App for MAC or PC. 

Difficulty Using the MapBusinessOnline Map App

Occasionally, the installation of the Map App can get corrupted. Evidence of an issue with the installation could include:

  • Not finding a launch icon
  • The application won’t boot up from the App

The best answer, if you have trouble updating the App on a Windows machine, is to go to the Start menu and launch the App from there.  That will generate an automatic update to the Map App.

Otherwise, an uninstall and reinstall might be required. In a Windows machine, in the Start Menu Search Bar find MapBusinessOnline. Right-click on the App in the Start List. Choose Uninstall. When that operation is complete, download the App once again and let it install.

On a MAC there should be a MapBusinessOnline Map App Icon on the Desktop. Launch the App from this Icon. If you can’t find an Icon, look in the Applications Folder.

For further assistance please Chat or Email us for support.

Zoom Tools

Sometimes new users need assistance with the map navigation tools. Here’s a quick primer:

  • Double click on the map and you’ll zoom in. Be aware that if a map layer like ZIP codes is turned on your mouse click may select a ZIP code, instead of Zooming in. In this case, uncheck the ZIP code layer.
  • In the upper right, you will find the Zoom Tools.
    • Use the Scroll Bar to Zoom in and out or click the Plus/Minus buttons
    • Click the Magnifying Glass icon on the bottom and then drag a Zoom box on the map. This is my preferred way to Zoom in on the map. Once the zoom operation is done, uncheck the tool
    • Note the forward and back buttons to repeat or undo a fancy move you just made on the map
    • Click the American Flag to Zoom to a Continental USA view
    • Click the World icon to Zoom out to a worldwide view
    • Minimize the Zoom tool control panel the by clicking bottom right blue up arrow

Text Tools in MapBusinessOnline

Address Bar

Also a navigation aid, the Address Bar is the blank white space located in the upper left-hand corner of the application, just above the six left-most buttons on the Master Toolbar. Here you can type in an address, a ZIP code, or a Lat/Lon address to Zoom to a place on the map. This comes in handy.

Address formatting must include commas: 19 Norwood Avenue, Rockport, Ma

Lat/Lon formatting is important too:        32.53026, -86.458

Saving a Map Image with Data or Dialogues Open

Sometimes it is effective to save a map image showing the Data Window or part of a Map Dialogue operation open. The Save Image File button on the Master Toolbar will save an image of the Map only.

I often use the Microsoft Snipping Tool to capture images for maps with full views including exactly the features I want to ad – like the Data Window.  To do this well and keep your map focused, you should close all Toolbar areas, focusing the map viewer on the map itself. Toolbars would include the Master Toolbar, Zoom Scroll Bar,

  • Close Map & Data by clicking the X in the  upper right
  • Close the Master Toolbar by clicking the Tiny up arrow located just to he left of the Address bar
  • Minimize the Navigation Zoom Tool by clicking the Up Arrow in the lower right on the panel

In general, I would hope that this blog serves as a great help tool for all users.  Use the blog search tool in the upper right.  Search on words like: Import, Radius, Route, Territories, and Laxative.  Ok, not Laxative. I’m just testing to see if you’re still reading…

Here are some additional Blogs designed to support new users to MapBusinessOnline:

Some Handy Tips

First Time User Tips

How to Make a Beautiful Map

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We recommend users access MapBusinessOnline via the downloadable Map App.

The Map App install is fast and easy. The Map App is a cloud-based service, once you’ve logged in you’ll have access to all of your previously saved maps and data. The Map App is a better user experience and provides access to more features than the Web App. The Flash-based Web App link will remain available until December 15, 2020.

The Map App includes the new Map Viewer app for free non-subscriber map sharing.

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

Posted in Business Mapping Software blog post, How to instruction | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Political Mapping – T’is the Season but Proceed with Caution

 

What defines America? I think this is a question many of us have been asking ourselves over the last ten days. Who are the folks that make up our nation? It’s a wide range of groups. On a very basic level, a business map, with Census published demographic data can roughly describe the major segments of American society.

Demographic data for the USA is largely defined by the ten-year Census data collection. This once a decade process is happening now across the nation, as I write this blog. That decennial census will be updated and re-estimated every year until 2030 to keep up with increases or declines in populations by area around the nation.

MapBusinessOnline provides access to that Census Bureau demographic data layers and provides a set of tools for you to review that data from a variety of perspectives. When carefully crafted a demographic map can be relevant to political, social, or business conversations or analysis. But one must present your political map in as unbiased a way as possible or your map will lose credibility.

Demographic Data in Political Maps

USA High Income Households by County

My first map, above, shows where the highest-income households are located. I selected the Demographics Layer for Households with incomes of more than $200,000 per household per year. Using the Color Code Map Button, I color shaded the county layer to show counties with 0-1,000 high-income households, and the counties where at least 1,001 or more of those high-income household earners reside.

One could argue there are better ways to segment the household allocations in this map view. MapBusinessOnline lets you control those allocations or ranges. You could add a few more ranges or segment the household quantities at different range points. My only recommendation is to keep it simple and be able to explain why you chose the ranges displayed on your map. MapBusinessOnline does offer a range suggestion which is an algorithmic application that weights the range scheme. I usually prefer a simple numeric range – 100, 250, 500, 1000. That sort of thing.

Please note, on this map, I turned on the State Layer for reference, changed the border to a thin purple color for easy-on-the-eyes definition, and I added a City point layer, also for reference. Keep that demographic or political map simple to view. Use colors that are pleasant to look at. Don’t complicate a map that’s bound to generate questions based on the subject matter.

High Income Earners with Nursing Homes

I’ve added one more layer to this map – a point layer of nursing homes. I color-coded the point layer by county and set up a range to focus on where most of the nursing homes are located. No need for comment. Adding a relevant data layer changes the meaning of the map. The Pandemic, in my humble opinion, has shifted how we view the placement of our elderly in nursing homes. It’s relevant to almost any political map right now.

It’s difficult to say how the various divided political factions might view the above map. A Black Lives Matter group might refer to it as the White Privilege map. While Mitch McConnell might refer to it as his Most Lucrative Political Donor map. It certainly would appear, based on national news, that the political and financial implications of this map show a minority of households controlling a majority of wealth. This is a demographic fact based on location-based demographic data, not on opinion. The map simply answers the question, where does most of the money live?

Further, the map displays how, while our political and economic realities may divide us, we all live in the same general regions. Most of the recent protest cities are the very same cities where the wealthiest American households reside. At least, location-wise, we truly are all in this together.

Apply Calculated Data Columns

Another way to use MapBusinessOnline is to combine or sum demographic data layers using the Calculate Data Columns functionality. MapBusinessOnline Calculated Data Columns easily combine demographic data layers into new and relevant map views. Read about how to use Calculated Data Columns.

Non-white Populations

This racial demographic map uses Calculated Data Columns to total up all the non-white race layers into one NonWhite layer. I left the Calculated Data Column dialogue open to show where the numbers are derived from. If we zoom-in to a county view we can describe the break down in population between whites and other segments. Now we must understand a little bit more about how the Census Bureau breaks down their categories:

"The race and Hispanic origin categories used by the Census Bureau are mandated

by Office of Management and Budget Directive No. 15, which requires all

federal record-keeping and data presentation to use four race categories

(White, Black, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander)

and two ethnicity categories (Hispanic, non-Hispanic). These classifications

are not intended to be scientific in nature, but are designed to promote

consistency in federal record-keeping and data presentation."

It is important to recognize that the Census classification system treats race and ethnicity as separate and independent categories. This means that within the federal system everyone is classified as both a member of one of the four-race groups and also as either Hispanic or non-Hispanic.”

Source: https://www.census.gov/population/estimates/rho.txt

Using a combination of Calculated layers and as published Census layers, I have tried to show a comparison of the White population to Hispanic and NonWhite populations. If you were trying to show voter-power of any segment, it would be a difficult case to make with these totals. There’s a fair amount of overlap, in my view. But one could make the point that the white majority is under pressure. Especially if you zoom the map into everyone’s favorite electoral impact counties: Broward, Miami, and Dade counties on Florida.

Exploring Ethnic Majorities & Minorities

Here you can see that no matter how you slice it, white America is becoming a minority. And it explains some of the political maneuverings from both political parties for Florida. A divisive issue like gun control inserted into an election between a white and a minority candidate can peel off voters from one side to the other.

Finally, I’ll leave you with one more political map that may be of interest to Presidential Election Campaigns for the year 2020. I used Calculated Data Columns to run a formula:

Female to Male Ratio by Congressional District

Female Population/Male Population.

While Census population data does not reflect party affiliation or voter registration the map is telling. I used that ratio result to color code Congressional Districts, a map layer in MapBusinessOnline, pink for majority female and blue for majority male. One might think catering to the female vote would be wise for a political candidate in these pink districts.

I showed this map to my wife. After expressing her opinion, she drove me to the emergency room. I’m fine.

When building a political map, especially within a polarized political climate, make sure you understand your data and build your map carefully.

______________________________

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

 

 

 

 

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9 Reasons Why MapBusinessOnline Sales Territory Mapping is Top Dog

Most MapBusinessOnline users choose MapBusinessOnline because of its superior sales territory alignment capabilities. When you compare the MapBusinessOnline sales territory management capabilities with our competitors, paying careful attention to the feature list and the pricing, the analysis results are clearly in our favor.

Sales Territory Management is not a basic mapping software function. It is advanced in part because it combines map visualizations with business analysis, and further because it incorporates almost every aspect of business mapping software. Sales territory mapping involves:

  • The collection and identification of administrative areas, as assigned areas of account responsibility
  • The import of customer and prospect address databases for display, analysis, and reporting
  • Territory creation through the ability to gather districts via lassoing or importing a territory dataset of ZIP codes, counties, states, or city limits
  • The aggregation of sales results by territory for information sharing and decision making
  • The ability to incorporate market analysis and demographic analysis into territory assignment logic which is also used for general expansion planning, competitor analysis, and market analysis
  • Constructing a map visualization and analysis of your business’s sales structure

MapBusinessOnline is Wicked Easy

And with all the above basic functions for advanced territory mapping, MapBusinessOnline manages to sustain the moniker ‘Easy-to-Use.’ Ease-of-use tends to be overused marketing jargon except when it represents the exact character of the product being sold.

I always describe sales territory adjustments or tweaks, as the best example of MapBusinessOnline ease-of-use. Adding or removing a ZIP code or a group of ZIP codes from a saved territory is a few mouse clicks to completion. Select a ZIP code, hold the shift key, select a few more. Now click the Puzzle Piece Icon and choose the territory targeted for adjustment. Remove the group, add the group, update the territory. You have choices, but it’s all fast and done in an instant. Let me know when you find a tool out there that’s this easy. Read more about editing territories.

Importing territories from a territory spreadsheet is fast and easy as well. Follow prepared dialogue pages and march right through the process. Most users create ZIP code-based territories which entails a spreadsheet as simple as two columns: one for ZIP code and one for Territory Name. Read more about territory creation.

Ease-of-Use comparisons are commonly won by MapBusinessOnline against all competitors but none more so than against Maptitude. It is important to remember that Maptitude is a GIS tool and GIS implies complexity.  This can be a good thing if you’re a scientist, or geospatial analyst, or my father-in-law (may he rest in peace with his organized workshop.) But for most busy businesspeople simple and fast is better. Maptitude is also a desktop software. Cloud services are more convenient, provide easier access, and simplify update headaches. But we understand, it’s a lot of work to migrate a product from desktop to the cloud. Maybe they’ll get there, someday.

During the first part of this decade, we targeted replacing Microsoft MapPoint, as the territory mapping product to beat. We had just surpassed their capabilities in 2014 when Microsoft eliminated the product. Our software continues to evolve.

Additional Differentiating Features

MapBusinessOnline territory alignment capabilities beat the competition in a variety of ways. One of those ways is ease-of-use as outlined above. But there are other differentiators:

  • Demographic Analysis – MapBusinessOnline’s comprehensive library of demographic data layers is readily available for sales territory analysis including at the click of the More Data button. Data Window analysis views are quickly developed and apply to all territories with a common map layer base (ZIP code, County, etc.)
  • Territory Balancing – Gauge territory fairness and workload balance by Data Window totaling. Level your territory allocations by demography, sales history, or another metric.
  • Multiple Alignment Layers per Map – Create a mix of territory alignment configurations on one map. One set by ZIP code, another set by County, two sets by State. You decide!
  • Overlap – It happens for a variety of reasons. What’s important is being aware of territory overlap. Allow overlap in MapBusinessOnline territory intersection settings. Choose a bright color that informs the map viewer, “There’s overlap here.”
  • Access to Business Listings – The ability to search for and download business listings within the territory mapping application is unique to MapBusinessOnline. Purchase just those businesses you require in the areas where you need them most.
  • Support for Regions and Divisions – Some organizations require levels of management. Nationwide regions or zones help define or reflect a sales organization’s structure. (Requires MapBusinessOnline Pro)
  • Price – We believe we are the most affordable advanced territory cloud-based solution available. Not one customer has told us otherwise
  • Technical Support – Support is always available through Chat, Email (Contact button), or by calling (800) 425-9035. Check out our YouTube video library and weekly application blog. Don’t hesitate to request a web demo.

Multiple Alignment Layers Across One Territory Map

We know the reasons you require territory mapping software. We service franchise businesses, local service providers, large insurance conglomerates, pharmaceutical companies, big-box retailers, and industrial manufacturers.

So, whether your company is just organizing customer sales accountability, restructuring after a merger, or simply rebuilding a territory scheme from scratch, MapBusinessOnline is the sales territory mapping solution that provides easy access to tools you require at the most affordable price on the market.

______________________________

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

 

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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 MapBusinessOnline.com 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.

______________________________

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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Six Crucial Elements of Sales Territory Mapping Software

So, you are shopping for sales territory mapping software. MapBusinessOnline is used by thousands of salespeople and sales managers to set up and manage sales territory alignment. Ten years ago, the mapping software to beat in this area was Microsoft MapPoint. Alas, MapPoint exited the business in late 2014.

MapPoint is no more. Look to MapBusinessOnline to replace MapPoint and regain your sales territory mapping advantage.

Sales territory mapping is a major feature of most business mapping software offerings, but there are specific functions you’ll want to make sure are covered by the software product you select.

Get the Help You Need

MapBusinessOnline has outstanding technical support. You can call, email, or chat with your questions. You’ll find plenty of help documentation, blogs, and videos to assist as you learn how to use the software. Most people find it an easy tool to learn, but everyone learns differently and we try to accommodate.

Here’s a blog on the Top Ten Videos for New MapBusinessOnline Customers. And here’s another blog describing the Top Six Sales Territory Mapping Questions we get from our customers.

Import and Visualize Customers

Every serious cloud-based business mapping software allows the user to import location datasets. These would-be customer or prospect address lists imported to generate customer map visualizations. MapBusinessOnline Standard supports the import of up to 100,000 location records or customer addresses per map. That’s a lot. If you require more than that you may want to consider MapBusinessOnline Pro which allows up to 250,000 records per map. You can always upgrade from your original purchase and we’ll prorate your pricing to protect your investment.

Importing a list of customers or prospects is a simple process. Read more about importing customer data here.

You can also import sales territory datasets to create territories by ZIP code, City Limit, County, or State from a spreadsheet. We have many blogs and videos describing various aspects of sales territory management. There are help docs, a YouTube video library, an online Chat feature, and we can always provide live web-demos.

Territory creation can also occur by lassoing jurisdictions, like ZIP codes, with your mouse cursor or by selecting jurisdictions one-by-one. Likewise, territory edits are just a few mouse clicks. Select a group of ZIP codes and remove them from a territory or add them to a territory. The territory editing process is fast and easy. Read more here.

Sales Territory Labels

Now you’ve got sales territories on the map and a dataset of customers overlaid on top of your territories. Labels are an important aspect of territory mapping. MapBusinessOnline automatically labels your territories as they are created. You can edit them by selecting the Territory Nameplate and clicking the Edit Gear option. Under Labels, you can add up to five flexible fields to those territory labels.

Flexible Label Fields lets you aggregate data – sales data, demographic data, or other business data – to your territory label. In MapBusinessOnline you can even create formulas that will calculate percentages or tabulate totals right below the Territory Name. Great for sales reporting at month-end or end-of-quarter wrap-up. These flexible label fields can be used for non-sales numeric sharing as well – like COVID stats, account statuses, or even secret codes. (My Dad loved secret codes.)

Image is not a Kardex Remstar map – which are protected by confidentiality

Highlight Territory Intersections

Many sales organizations have territories that overlap with other territories. MapBusinessOnline includes territory setup options that can account for territory overlap or intersection. You can define which color represents sales territory overlap. You may believe that territory overlap is unnecessary, but it happens and for varying reasons. Reasons for territory overlap might include:

  • Rapid account growth in relatively confined areas
  • Legacy account assignments
  • Logistical realities
  • Customer requests

MapBusinessOnline provides tools that let a sales territory manager control the reality of territory overlap. If your organization decides to allow it, you need to be able to show where overlap occurs.

Optimized Vehicle Routing

Vehicle routing is a critical element of sales planning. It makes sense for a sales territory mapping program to also include optimized vehicle routing. MapBusinessOnline subscriptions can provide standalone sales planning support for a salesperson. Each subscriber would have access to:

  • Sales territory map views that define sales accountability
  • Customer and prospect location datasets with contact information
  • A full features vehicle routing tool that allows routes with up to 150 stops
  • The ability to share map images or interactive web maps

MapBusinessOnline shared interactive web maps include the ability to share optimized vehicle routes with turn-by-turn directions at no charge for non-subscribers. Read more about map sharing here.

Generate the Reports You Need

There are a variety of reports you can generate from business mapping software.  In the MapBusinessOnline community, a common request is for the list of ZIP codes with corresponding territory assignments.  These reports are exportable in CSV format, easily imported into Microsoft Excel and saved per your business requirements – XLS, PDF, TXT.

Business mapping reporting is flexible and sometimes involves spatial queries to generate results. For instance, perhaps you’d like to generate a list of all major prospects outside of all major territory areas. That’s a spatial query. The results, once generated are exportable.

Sales territory analysis views can include demographic data, sales histories, and even product information. Once compiled to your satisfaction these analysis views are exportable.

And don’t forget, a business meeting can always be fed a live MapBusinessOnline map for elucidating the particular aspects of a sales situation. Sales results are always complicated. That’s why sales territory mapping with its multi-dimensional intelligence is so important for active sales organizations.

Armed with territory assignments, sales planning tools, a list of customers and prospects, and the ability to share maps, your sales team is ready to rock and roll. Now, where is my facemask? Who’s got my facemask?!

______________________________

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Dump Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

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How Do I Build a COVID-19 Map That Supports My Org?

Many home care and nursing home businesses use business mapping software in their operational environments to better understand the challenges they face. Location awareness has become a primary concern for medical organizations as they do battle with COVID-19 and do their best to protect both their clientele and their employees.

For a long time, the most common application of MapBusinessOnline for home care agencies has been field staff management. The ability to view home locations for home care nurses and aides enabled the creation of efficient vehicle routes to client homes or medical resources. Coverage area visualizations and territory maps have helped define the areas assigned to each clinician and how they fit into the agency’s overall coverage area patterns.

Today, location awareness has become even more important as the COVID-19 contagion works its way through our most at-risk populations across the United States. Assisted living centers, nursing homes, and the personal addresses of home care agency patients are all at-risk locations that medical professionals and public safety organizations need to be very location-aware of.

I did a Google search for USA congregate living centers by address. In no time I downloaded a .CSV file of all the nursing home addresses across the USA. There are 39,763 of them. MapBusinessOnline Standard will allow the import of up to 100,000 records per map. MapBusinessOnline Pro allows up to 250,000 records per map. Clearly, if you need to construct a map visualization of all possible congregate centers Pro may be the way to go. You can always upgrade and we’ll pro-rate your investment.

Business mapping software provides basic visualizations that can assist in prioritizing clinician visits, elevating support services, and assisting with hospital placement decision making. These business map functions include:

  • Client home address locations marked with color-coded symbols that define patient medical status. A glance at a color-coded coverage area map can instantly prioritize and qualify the most critical patient for next morning assessments, repeat visits from specialists, or simply a visit from the closest clinician.
  • Client Address Labels include flexible fields for notation of the top 3 to 5 diagnosis statements. It’s important to understand quickly who has respiratory issues or heart conditions when COVID-19 us suspected.
  • COVID-19 Priority Status has become a critical diagnosis. The disease has definite stages and balancing where a patient is on the progress scale along with their standard non-COVID co-morbid conditions can assist in prioritizing for the day. Import COVID symbols  to assign visual priority to critical patients.

Tracking the Virus’s Progress

Coverage area map views can include a variety of location datasets, relevant to the Coronavirus pandemic. Medical centers, dentists, and health care specialist addresses are easily imported into the map view. Believe it or not, during a pandemic the occasional tooth still needs to be pulled. These locations can be mapped to reflect status:

  • Medical Service Centers – Open or closed for business and business hours.
  • On-call Offices – Of the various health care services, who are on-call for emergencies?
  • Pharmacies Offering COVID Testing – This is a thing that’s happening now. Which pharmacies are offering testing?

Some industries are more susceptible to COVID outbreaks. Meat plants were the latest COVID hotspots over the past few weeks. Locally new industry hotspots will likely develop that are a surprise to local authorities. Maps are a great way to track and share such hotspots among constituents.

Are there churches in the communities that have high numbers of COVID-19 cases confirmed? Add them to your map. Which restaurants are open for touch-free to-go service and delivery? As the states open back up for business which restaurants are certified for safe social distancing and cleanliness? Add these location-based address datasets to your COVID map.

Search for COVID-19 case and death data for your area by county, town, or ZIP code. MapBusinessOnline makes it easy to post those location records. If you do this regularly or access data with multiple weeks’ results, you can use the Graphs and Bar Charts symbol tool to show the virus’s progress in each area. These results will visually display whether the virus is subsiding or expanding in a county or town.

Sharing Your Map

As a famous cartographer once said, “Maps are for sharing.” Yes, I know, so is COVID-19.

Seriously, MapBusinessOnline provides multiple ways to share your resource map with people who will get value out of it. MapBusinessOnline maps can be shared as image files or as interactive web maps.

Use the save as an Image File button on the Master Toolbar to snap a picture of your map view and drop it into a web page or PowerPoint.  I often use my Windows 10 Snipping Tool to collect a map view snapshot. The Share Interactive Map button will enable a map link you can drop into an email and share it with constituents.  They can click the link and access the map view – pan and zoom, route, save files, but no editing.  There will be a non-Flash Player version released later this month as a downloadable app for free viewing – so look forward to that.

MapBusinessOnline provides the critical tools necessary for your business to go visual with your particular COVID-19 data. Share it with us. We’d love to see how you use the tool.

______________________________

Are you using the MapBusinessOnline Desktop App for MAC or PC? It’s hipper than Instagram and it comes with your subscription. Impeach Adobe Flash Player!

Value-Added Resellers – Offer the tool to your customers as a reseller. Make money on training and consulting. Contact us with further interest in reselling MapBusinessOnline.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to MapBusinessOnline in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

 

Posted in Business Mapping Software blog post, How to instruction | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

5 Steps to Create a COVID-19 Pandemic Map by City Limit (Updated for 4/29/20 Data)

By now many of you have looked at the various COVID-19 pandemic maps we’ve published by both County and by State. That data is pretty easy to find and grab. We’ve used the data released on weekdays by USAFacts.org. We thank USA Facts for the use of their data.

This week I wanted to write about the process for developing a simple map using a different dataset and a different map layer. The goal for me was to highlight how easy and compelling a MapBusinessOnline map is to create. I set out looking for ZIP Code data that I could easily transform into a ZIP code map.

ZIP code maps are nice because they provide a granularity in business mapping detail that we can all relate to. All of us, as far as I can surmise, understand our hometown ZIP code – where its located and the rough boundaries that define it. But while I did discover that COVID-19 ZIP Code data is starting to appear, most of it was only available in the form of maps, not the raw data. So, my major challenge in building a city-limit based COVID map was the first step in creating any business map – Step 1 – find good data.

Secure Accurate, Recent & Reliable Business Map Data

Location data is important. Your business map is created to share information with an engaged audience. Obviously securing the right data can make a big difference in how your map audience reacts to your map and perhaps in whether or not you keep your job as the designated Map Geek at your place of work.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began I  believed that MapBusinessOnline’s best map perspective describing the pandemic would be a City Limits map. But when I searched for pandemic data in March I only found County-based and State-based data.  Evidently, things have shifted, because I stumbled across some COVID data for the State of Massachusetts by city and town. The data was published by Mass.gov so I felt pretty good about the source. I mean, it wasn’t like Salad Master COVID data or something. I also grew up on the North Shore of Mass so I felt wicked pissa about building a map of my old stompin’ grounds.

Mass, where soda is tonic and a good time is wicked-mental. At least it was in my day.

The data was not in a nice downloadable spreadsheet format. It was published as a webpage or PDF, but after a few failed attempts at pilfering the data from the PDF I noticed I could download a Word Doc from which I was able to copy the data and paste into an Excel sheet. Classic Mass North Shore move. You should see me drive through a rotary.

Now, this data is last week’s publication. A new version will be released tonight 4/29 and I will update the map and blog when that happens.

It took me a bit of finagling to get the data cleaned up. The data noted all towns with less than 5 cases as “<5” to protect privacy. The < symbol isn’t going to fly in the MapBusinessOnline application. I converted those < 5 records manually to a 4 in the data. Wherever there’s a 4, that indicates there are between 1 and 5 cases in that jurisdiction, at least as of the date of this publication.

Hint: It is always a good idea to look for data errors and anomalies that may mess up your business data import. Rogue characters and spaces are showstoppers, so clean up your data. MapBusinessOnline will tell you things aren’t right. Color coding won’t present in the usual way. Points will not geocode on the map. Always suspect your data. I’ve been doing this for almost a decade now and MapBusinessOnline has rarely been wrong.

UPDATED! – Massachusetts COVID-19 Cases by City Limit as of 4/29/2020

Establish the Map Parameters

With data cleaned and imported, I made a few map adjustments that made sense for a state level map highlighting cities and towns:

  1. On the master toolbar, I clicked into the Add Map Layers button and added the City Limits layer to my map. In Map and Data, I adjusted the City Limit boundaries to a dark color purple
  2. While still in Map and Data I also adjusted the State layer boundary to black
  3. I turned off the Streetmap background layer (on by default) so that there was no background map. I felt that a lack of a background map would keep the focus on COVID-19 cases. Most Mass people are familiar with all the towns because we’re sports freaks and played them all in high school
  4. Using the Map and Data main toolbar, I chose the State Filter funnel and selected only Massachusetts. This puts the focus on just the state I have interest in for this business map. Go Mass!
  5. Finally, clicking into the Map and Data main toolbar Edit Gear I:
    1. Set up a Map Title
    2. Adjusted the background to a color I felt worked as a nice map background

Color-Code the Map Layer

Now for the fun part. We want to color-shade each town on the map based on the number of reported COVID-19 cases.

  1. Select the Color Code Map button on the Master toolbar (3 Puzzle Piece Icon) or in Map and Data hover over the City Limit layer, click the Edit Gear and choose Color Code Map Layer – same diff.
  2. Select your data layer for color-coding – COVID-19 Mass Data
  3. Select the City Limits Layer
  4. Select the data column in your data that will control your color-code
  5. Select the range of quantities and apply colors
    1. For pandemics, I start at Qty 1 or in this case 4 because of the Mass data adjustment for small towns. Just below the numeric range selector, you can choose a color for zero or no data records. I like gray
    2. Figure a scheme that works for your data. I chose 6 ranges/colors but I think five will do. More would make the map confusing
    3. Break the ranges into sensible groups. MapBusinessOnline will suggest a weighted average. I tend to break it down like this – 1-5, 6–25, 26–50, etc. Pay attention to the number the application puts in at the bottom range box – that’s the largest quantity by map layer unit or city limit in this case
  6. You can always go back a quickly edit the color-coding. It’s dimes to redo. (Dimes is Mass for easy.)

I like to add pandemic stats to the City Labels. This is done in Map and Data under Labels. Read more about labeling here.

Read more about color coding here.

Read more about growing up in Rockport, MA here.

Admire Your Work

Now review your map. You may like what you see, or you may see room for improvement. Does the map inform your map audience? Can they read the details like town names and any other data labels? Think about text colors on map colors. Are their conflicts.  There are many little adjustments you can do to fix color clashes:

  • In Map and Data, Label Tab you can remove the white shadow
  • Adjust the text coloring to minimize conflicts. What text color least conflicts with your color coding scheme
  • Try bold or italics fonts to see it they help
  • Adjust the color scheme if it is not working well
  • Avoid bright obnoxious colors – use pastels

Tweak it To Improve Your Map Intent

You’ll notice a few more fine points on my map. The Map Legend reflects the data and the color-coding scheme. Those lines of legend text are entirely editable. Read more about the legend here. Legend placement is up to you. As you can see, I placed the legend for this map in Mass Bay, a fine place for a legend. Likewise, I found a nook on the map for my map title. Placement of these text boxes should be in empty spots within the map landscape rectangle, if possible. Try to save space and to communicate without blocking map information.

I like the City Limit map view because it offers more detail over a smaller jurisdiction. We also tend to think in terms of the city, more than ZIP code or County.

Stay safe, wear a mask, and wash those hands.

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