How Do I Apply Mass Edits to Imported Location Data in MapBusinessOnline?

Once you have imported location-based or address data into MapBusinessOnline you may decide you want to update that data. Updating data semi-automatically can be done using MapBusinessOnline but you must plan ahead to accomplish this.

Remember to download the Map App for MAC or PC and avoid Flash Player

MapBusinessOnline includes an imported data Update Process through the Map and Data tab. Find your imported data is listed in Map and Data with a Checkbox next to it. Hover over the data layer and click the Edit Gear when it pops up. Under General, at the bottom of the panel you will see two Data Update options – on is From File (on your desktop) and the other is From your Server.  You may want to touch base with your IT department about internal access to stored data used for business mapping purposes.

Now, here’s the ‘planning ahead’ part. For the imported data update process to work, you must have a column in your data for a Record ID or, as we like to call it, a Unique ID. That data column could be a list of Unique ID’s exported you get from your business system, ERP or CRM. A customer number is a good example if the data you’ve imported is customer data. You can always assign your own Unique ID just start with 100 and then move down the column – 101, 102, 103… Simply pull those numbers down the column which should add a 1 to each number.

So, because MapBusinessOnline needs that Unique ID to enable mass record updates, you’ll have to reimport your data into your map. You will not be able to use files you’ve already imported. Once your data is deleted in the current map and the original spreadsheet is updated to include that unique ID column, you are ready to reimport the data and you’ll be all set for updates in the future.

Special Note: Unique ID updating does not apply to territory imports. Territory updates are a manual process

The Mass Update Process

After your Unique has been applied and your data imported into a business map, semi-automated updates can take place. To conduct a mass update:

  1. In Map and Data hover over the target imported data layer and click the Edit Gear
  2. At the bottom of the General Panel Chose from one of the two data update options
    1. Update Dataset from File – this means the file is stored on your desktop or laptop
    2. Reload Dataset from Server – this means you access the data from a shared network

Choose the appropriate button and process the update. MapBusinessOnline will present a status notification after the update is complete. The notification will tell you how many records were updated, added, or deleted.

A Unique ID Column in Excel

The Incremental Update Process

Users can always choose to update one record at a time in the Data Window or by selecting the individual location point on the map.

  1. In the Data Window hover over the far-left colored dots of the data row you would like to edit
  2. Click the Pencil Icon
  3. Choose either to edit the Address or Location or Choose to edit the Properties and Data
  4. Choose Properties and Data to edit a record
  5. Make the Adjustments
  6. Save the Data Adjustment and Exit

Or select the point on the map itself and in the mini Toolbar choose the Edit Location Properties and Data button.  Edit your data in the resulting dialogue box.

Editing the Format of Your Imported Data

Perhaps you want to add a column or change the field formatting of an imported dataset. Well, you can do that. Keep in mind adding or editing columns and formatting is likely to break your Unique ID required formatting, disabling your semi-automatic updates.

  1. Go to Map and Data
  2. Hover over the target imported data layer and click the Edit Gear
  3. Click Customize Dataset
  4. Use the dropdown to select the right pathway. To adjust formatting for:
    1. Location columns choose General
    2. Your imported business data choose Custom
    3. Calculated Data Columns choose Calculated
  5. Save and Exit

Please note at the bottom of the dialogue pages you have the ability to add a column to your data.  Just be aware adding columns can break the Unique ID update process.

Updating and editing data in a business map is important. Perhaps a little boring, but important for efficiency and accuracy.


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!


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The Top 6 Questions We are Asked About Sales Territory Mapping

Sales territory alignment or territory management is a very common application of MapBusinessOnline, or any business mapping software for that matter.  For years, first as BusinessMAP and later as MapBusinessOnline, our software developers competed with Microsoft MapPoint, targeting MapPoint’s sales territory mapping tools as a key feature to beat.  And beat it we did, so much so that Microsoft canceled MapPoint in 2014.

MapBusinessOnline sales territory management tools are second to none, in my opinion.  Both easy and affordable, they are a fun set of tools to demonstrate or sell. For the most part, a user’s ability to create territory maps is just a few clicks away. There’s the option to lasso a group of ZIP codes to create territories or just import a list of counties and states to generate a territory scheme from an Excel spreadsheet.

The below-listed aspects of sales territory mapping are the top 6 questions we get asked about territory mapping.

How do I export all my territories with a list of Corresponding ZIP Codes?

I write about this process often, and we respond to this question at least once a week through chats and emails. Once you understand the process, it’s really easy. In the Data Window select the Map Layer (ZIP, County, State) in the data drop-down (upper left) that your territories are based on, then move your cursor over to the right, along the Data Window toolbar and click on the Yellow Puzzle Piece button. Once you’ve done that you’ll be presented with a few formatting options for exporting your territories. Watch a Video

Why Can’t I Create or Edit Territories? Do you hate me?

No, we don’t hate you. When you place a check in the Filter Data on Map box to isolate a territory, you must uncheck it. That’s why you can’t add or delete territories. Probably our most common technical support question. Go to the Map and Data box and hover your mouse over the Territory Data Layer listed there. Click the Edit Gear, and in the General dialogue panel that opens up uncheck the Filter Data on the Map box. Watch a Video

How Do I Edit a Territory?

If it was a snake, it would have bit you. Use your mouse cursor to select a ZIP code or a County, or any other base map layer map object you’ve already used to build your territory. You can select more than one by holding down the Shift Key. Notice the mini-toolbar associated with that map object. Select the Blue Puzzle Piece button in that mini-toolbar. A list of edit options appears – Create New, Add to, Remove From, Update. You choose what you want to do. And BTW – selecting a map layer object with your cursor is another way to create a territory from scratch – Create New. Your welcome. Watch a Video

How Do I Mix ZIP Codes and Counties in a Territory?

The short answer is you don’t. In MapBusinessOnline you must choose to build your territory structure-based either on ZIP Codes or Counties. (You can build them on States, City Limits, Census Tracts, MSA’s and ZIP 3 Codes too.) In general, think about the extent of your territories. Do they include full states and a section of a state? If they do you should build your territories on Counties or ZIP codes. But you cannot mix the map layers in one territory.  Read more.

My Territory Label is Gone, How Do I Get It Back?

Double click your cursor on the Territory in question while holding down the control key. Eh, voila! Your label is back Monsieur.

How Do I Manage Overlapping Territories in MapBusinessOnline?

After you’ve created your first territory In Map & Data click the overall Edit Gear on the Map & Data toolbar. Choose Territory Options. Here you will find controls that allow territory overlap and designate the color that defines an overlapping territory. This feature allows the map creator to alert the viewer to the fact that an overlapping territory exists on this territory map.

In addition to the above proactive approach to territory overlap, we sometimes get questions about ZIP Codes appearing in the wrong territory. This is almost always a result of including Point ZIP codes when importing a dataset to create territories. MapBusinessOnline territories are created from Boundary Territories. Point ZIP codes are different then boundary ZIP codes. Point ZIP codes are a point on the map that represents large mail drop-offs like skyscrapers, military installations, or assisted living centers. When these two distinctly different types of ZIP codes, points and boundaries, are imported together to create territories, point ZIP codes can get incorrectly assigned.

In general, keep point ZIP codes out of territory creation imports. Import point ZIP codes separately as points for inclusion in sales analysis. Read more about Point ZIP Codes here.

Those are the most common questions we get surrounding sales territory management. MapBusinessOnline is an intuitive territory alignment solution. With a little practice, you can add Sales Territory Management as a bullet on your resume. You know, for when we all have jobs again.


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!



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Five More Boring Application Examples of Business Mapping Software

At the dinner table at home or perhaps at a cocktail party, you might be tempted to discuss application examples of your work. Just be sure to pay attention to the body language of your audience. If everyone is checking their cell phone for a text message, you might want to wrap it up.  Still, I get excited about application examples of business mapping tools.

Sales Customer Visualization

Almost every client wants to view or visualize customers on a digital map. It’s a routine application of the tool. But there are many types of maps that can be created to support simply viewing customers across a region or the whole nation.

A basic import of data reveals where customers are located by address or by lat/long coordinate. While those dots on the map are just circles with color-fill, they can reveal a lot about the market area a map viewer might be considering.

Are there clusters of customers in unexpected areas? Maps tend to show clusters of location points which are indicators of sales activity. Business map users should seek to understand why customers are grouped geographically or demographically.

Location clusters can also help create efficient sales route planning and balance the customer load between reps. Address groups are obvious stop locations for a sales route.  They indicate areas where salespeople will want to spend some time knocking on doors. The nature of the grouped business may warrant additional resources for the particular trip – more literature or an expert travel companion who can speak to key issues.

Likewise, map visualizations of address groupings enable more efficient planning for other types of business as well:

  • School bus drop off locations
  • Package delivery routing
  • Home cleaning services

Marketing Planning for Retailers

Just like customer visualizations, retail store locations can be imported and viewed against an accurate map of the United States and Canada. Armed with such a view, marketing coordinators and managers can conduct spatial queries that build business intelligence and enhance marketing response rates.

Spatial queries are another way of defining a geographic area of interest and investigating the data within those boundaries.  Spatial searches assist retailers by presenting a variety of views all designed to expose customers by distance parameters. Retailers need customers to come to the store. A business map can turn a high traffic neighborhood into a greasy slide leading right to the store’s front door:

  • A simple radius search out 10 or 25 miles from a center point can reveal much about an area’s ability to support a retail business. Demographic Data within that market area, coupled with sales results over a period of time can indicate whether an area defined by a specific radius is going to be a successful market or a dud. Are there better areas to explore? Conduct the same spatial analysis somewhere else
  • A drive time search is like a radius search except it explores all the client locations within a polygon defined by the driving time or distance to a store location. A good retailer will have an understanding of their customer’s tolerance for driving times.  A 15-minute drive time is a common driving distance segment. Highway access and traffic can have an impact. With a defined drive time area, a retailer can fine-tune their marketing messages by area, population, even age, and ethnicity, making email or direct mail marketing more targeted and less expensive per client. Customers located thirty minutes away might receive a more enticing offer.
  • A proximity search looks for all of the locations or data points within a specified range of a central point or a set of points. Such searches can be done by radius or drive time searches. The results are more complex and more complete, especially for a retailer with multiple stores.

Spatial queries explore the geographic area defined by marketing managers enhancing their business intelligence. By combining an awareness of existing business, local area demographics, and prospective business opportunities, marketing plans develop organically, rooted in the environment where the store exists.  Use business maps to help make marketing efforts more attuned to the local clientele. Know your customers.

Access Demographic Data

Insurance Risk Assessment

Insurance companies depend on risk assessments in all that they do. Understanding a client’s geographic distribution of assets must include business mapping analysis. All buildings, machines, resources, and even employees can be located and mapped. Asset valuations are assigned based on market resale, replacement costs, salaries, or commodity values, and aggregating a total value by region is important. Values are compiled and used to asses risk based on regional, industry, and societal factors.

If a business is located on the Gulf Coast of the USA, risk assessment is critical due to the likelihood of a major hurricane. There are insurance businesses that will not build or occupy buildings located within ten miles of the Gulf Coast.  The Mayans moved inland for a reason.

Business mapping software provides a platform for the importation and analysis of disparate datasets, all in one place with both a visual geographic perspective and associated datasheet views. Spatial queries enable obvious and incongruent comparisons between data layers. Risks are revealed in unexpected places. Patterns emerge, no matter what the subject. Decision making always has a location component.

Public Safety Mapping

As I write this blog and you read the blog, COVID-19 is teaching all of us about the nature of public safety. Pre-planning is so important. Oh, but if we could take but a few steps back in time to last summer and revisit that inventory levels in the USA stockpile of medical equipment.

Business maps display inventories by location across the nation or world. Surplus levels of N-95 masks, face shields, and the now oh-so-precious ventilators, are easily grasped based on color-coded symbols. Click on the map object to drill down into the data.

Contagious viruses aside, public safety map views tap into available recent and archived criminal data to reveal patterns in crime statistics. Serial crimes geocoded on a map for thoughtful viewing can tell a story about where a criminal is likely to live, what security cameras may have picked up video, and common geographic aspects of victim experiences.

We’ve all read the news stories of how location patterns led to an arrest. We’ve watched the CSI episodes. Geographic mapping applications for public safety are real and business mapping software plays a role. MapBusinessOnline map projects have been used to supplement search and rescue missions, exposed serial criminals, and to track insurance fraud.

Call Center Applications

Many of us have worked in or supported a call center in some way. Business maps are great for call centers because the map views are easily sharable. Maps are created by a central map editor in charge of cultivating and maintaining accurate location data sources. The map curator builds and shares the map with the call center associates who can add an address or ZIP code on the map to determine:

  • Where to ship the package
  • Who to bill for the phone-order
  • Where to send the tow-truck for a service call
  • What address has lost its power
  • What home requires HVAC services
  • Where the package pick-ups are located for this afternoon’s run

Call center maps can be used to define sales territories or coverage areas which can aid in instant decision making for people on the phone helping others in the field.

It’s all boring when discussing it at the dining room table, but business maps help the world stay stable and move forward, something we all appreciate just a little bit more these days.


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!

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Daily Time-lapse Map of the COVID-19 Contagion Spread as of 7/07/20 |

Beginning on April 1, 2020 MapBusinessOnline will post a daily time-lapse map depicting the spread of the Coronavirus across the United Sates by county.

Today’s map is accessing data and depicting the spread from early March up to July 07, 2020.

COVID-19 USA Deaths by State as of 7/07/2020

COVID-19 Data source:

Hospital Data source: Definitive HealthCare

Thanks to Bill McNeil for the idea.

Learn more about MapBusinessOnline and business mapping.


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!

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How Do I Record a COVID-19 Time-lapse Map Using MapBusinessOnline

For the second week in a row, I’ve interrupted the usual blog schedule to talk about mapping the Novel Coronavirus.

Tracking the spread of a virus is certainly an interesting use of business mapping software. It can also be quite overwhelming when you are paying attention to the numbers day-to-day and they are increasing at an exponential rate. Further, as many of us are finding now, people we know are getting impacted by the disease. It’s personal.

In the included map image below, I’ve used the Chart symbolization options from MapBusinessOnline to compare six days of COVID-Case status. Notice that the spread is rather uniform when compared state-to-state. By that I mean the rate of the spread is similar from state-to-state, while the overall numbers are larger where there are more people.

Covid-19 Spread in the Northeast U.S.A. source data

This tells as much about the nature of the United States as it does about our overall response efforts or the contagion’s aggressive spread. We are truly living in a global community. So many hotbeds of COVID-19 are the result of traveler carry. From a city in China to a world shut-down in three months. It’s impressive.

The map tells a story about testing too.  I believe one important factor in accounting for the rapid rise of confirmed cases is the availability and application of more tests.  We found out this week on national news of a company located right here in Maine, Abbott Labs, that has developed and received FDA approval for a testing kit that will provide COVID-19 case confirmations in 15-minutes. The company hopes to manufacture up to 5 million test kits a month. Yikes! Rock on Abbott Labs.

Time-lapse Maps Using MapBusinessOnline

Another approach we came up with is a time-lapse map. A time-lapse map records one map view with data changes over time.  We’ve tried several approaches to this concept.  As in all business maps, considering your map audience is important. Try to consider what your map viewers might be looking for.

In this case, there were several critical factors to include in the time lapse map:

  • Contagion data – reflect the case count by day or by week
  • Post the date of the data
  • Include a legend describing the color-code scheme by county
  • Provide the right map background to keep the focus on the spread over time

The process is relatively easy, but the time-lapse map creator needs to pay attention.  In addition to MapBusinessOnline, you will require a recording software. I used SnagIt from TechSmith.  SnagIt is a great, low-cost screen recording tool.

Once you have a recording complete you’ll need to share the map somehow. is a great presentation option.

Once the MapBusinessOnline map is solid, with all the parameters required, get ready to record.

Test the Recording Process First

Because I was recording a color-coded county layer map, I did a couple of trial slides changing the data column from day-to-day. The USAFacts data includes every day of the contagion by column. Therefore, I set up my Color-Code Map button with the first date, made sure the date was referenced in both the Map Title and the Legend and applied the color-code scheme across the range of confirmed case values.

One way to control the data ranges is to set up a broad numeric range that covers the contagion for the entire period and leave it that way for all slides. This presents a more striking visual contagion growth pattern. Another way to view the ranges is to adjust the ranges as the contagion grows – every five days seemed to warrant a larger range spread. On March 1 there were only 1 to 10 confirmed COVID cases, but by March 29 the total caseload had risen to about 13,000 cases across the USA. The latter method offers a little more value detail as the contagion maps march through time.

Another thing to consider during your trial recording is the length of time for each map slide. I felt four seconds was a minimum time requirement for the viewer to absorb the map view. A map viewer can always pause the YouTube video.

Once you’ve decided on how you will or will not manipulate the range presentation, get ready to record.  In your mind, or on paper have a process for each slide:

  • Press record and count or watch the count for four seconds and stop
  • Update the Color Code Map process with the next data or column of data
  • Adjust the color-code ranges as required (or not)
  • Adjust the map title and legend as required
  • Rinse and repeat (Shampoo joke)

Record your first slide. Now keep going for the thirty days in the month, and don’t fall asleep.

That’s the process for creating a time-lapse map experience using MapBusinessOnline. It probably takes two to three hours from map creation start to recording finish. Once you’ve done it, it’s an easy way to show map changes over time.

Special thanks to Bill McNeil for the idea.


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

Five Steps to Mapping the Covid-19 Contagion

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog to bring you this special blog presentation.  I had another blog drafted, but I felt this one was more appropriate for our shared historical moment.  Some of our clients may want to build maps using Covid-19 publicly available data.

Mapping deaths by state isn’t the most uplifting of map subjects and for that I apologize. But this is the world we live for the time being and all of us are watching the numbers unfold, day-by-day.

MapBusinessOnline supports the ability to import Novel Coronavirus data into the application and then use the business mapping software to display both confirmed cases and the number of deaths by state and or county. As with any process, it takes some patience and careful assessment. There are quite a few decisions to make when creating an effective business map.

  1. Find the Data

You may be fortunate enough to have access to a Covid-19 data source through your business. My government contacts are limited to the occasional rant-email to Senator Collins. Maybe I should say “restricted,” not so much limited. At any rate, I was forced to conduct a Google search to find reliable and updated Covid-19 data.

CDC has a lot of information, but I was not successful in uncovering raw location data for Covid cases and deaths. I found a data source at Here’s the link if you are interested.  The data is updated daily.

I recommend reviewing any dataset you plan to map before you begin creating the map. Explore its geographic extent and decide which map layer makes the most sense for presentation. Make sure you understand all the column headings. To be clear, there is one dataset for confirmed Covid cases and another dataset for deaths.  It took me a while to realize this data was presenting a summary of cases and deaths for each day posted. That is, if I used the most recent column in time, I would be accessing the total number of cases or deaths to date in each County. So no further summaries are required. Really helpful once you realize it.

  1. Import the Data into MapBusinessOnline

With the data downloaded to your desktop and saved in a place where it is easily retrievable (yes, sometimes we save it in a not so easily retrievable spot, eh Microsoft Onedrive?) import the data into MapBusinessOnline using the Plot Data button. Read about importing data.

This data came in wicked easy. It was all County data and plotted well. Quite a few counties had dots indicating Covid activity, which made sense based on what I’ve seen on the news and read online. Always review your imported data to verify correctness. I then Unchecked the data in Map and Data to remove the visualization of the data points. I don’t need points. I want to color-code counties and states by disease data to create a contagion map.

  1. Color-code the Map

Let’s start with color-coding the State map layer by Covid-19 deaths. For me, understanding the number of deaths per state or county seemed like the most important measure of where we are with this thing. Here’s the color-code process:

  1. Click the Three Puzzle Piece button to color code counties or states by the imported Covid data
  2. Choose the State Map layer as you move through the dialogue pages
  3. Now Choose your imported Data (Covid-Deaths) and
  4. Choose the column in the data that presents the sum of deaths by the date.

This final dialogue page is where the magic happens. It requires some decision making. The color-code dialogue needs you to decide how the state layer should be colored to best display the imported data. You’ll need to decide on at least three things:

    1. The number of color groups you want to set up – I chose 5
    2. The color scheme for your range of data – I inserted my own color choice for each color group. Red is the high number and then orange and yellow gradations
    3. The numeric break down between color groups. Start with 1 -10. Then move to 11-25, all the way up to 101 – 157 (the top number of deaths in a state)
    4. Now you can choose a fill color for states with zero deaths, or choose to not include zero states. I chose a bland light gray fill color –  not distracting, not too bright.

Covid-19 Deaths by State

Next, you can either preview the look of the map, or just process the map view. Either way, it’s easy to tweak the settings again. Generally, color choices take some time to settle in the map creator’s mind. In between tweaks, go to the State Layer in Map and Data and adjust the settings on these, look and feel items:

  • Set a nice dark boundary around each state.
  • Set the transparency scrollbar to a comfortable level – I went with 20%. Covid maps aren’t about background maps, but some background adds orientation to the map
  • Lastly, click into the Label Tab and adjust the Auto Label settings to give your label text the right feel. I like dark purple text with no shadow, normal size, and no italics. But that’s me
  1. Select Pertinent Label Data 

MapBusinessOnline allows the addition of up to five flexible fields with your Map Layer auto-label – the State label in this case. While you’re in the label section of the State Layer, decide what elements of your imported, and/or demographic data, you’d like to include in the label flex fields. I chose:

  • Cases – per state from the imported data
  • Deaths – per state from the imported data
  • Total population per state – from MapBusinessOnline demographic data

In the Label Tab, select Format Label, and Auto Label. Scroll down to see the Flex Field options. Dropdown first to select your data, then again to select your column. Insert a little text in the Prefix field to give your data some context. Your prefix might read “Cases –” and on the map, it will show: Cases – 150.

Update: I updated this Covid-19 map with new data this morning. This was a manual process that took about five minutes. My link pasted in here, is a Publicly Shared Map published through the shared map dialogue (4th button from left). Our Map Gallery version (not published yet) will be updated automatically using our data SDK. Once the link is shared the map viewer simply refreshes the webpage. Here’s the link!

With all those decisions made, you can now go view your map. Double-check your work:

  • Make sure you selected the right data for the right view (states in this case) and the right column of data. This means checking a State to see if the number listed is correct
  • Look at the coloring of the states. Does it make sense? Are they all there as expected?
  • How do you feel about the colors, do they display in a way that looks and feels easy to view? Or are they loud and obnoxious? Tweak them as necessary
  • You probably know your state’s numbers for today. Check the map data and see if it matches. Of course, you may not have the most recent number now, but it should be close

5. Adjust the Map Legend

Finally, look at the editable Map Legend and tweak it by clicking the tiny Edit gear in its upper-right corner. The Map Legend explains your layers to the map viewer. Within the MapBusinessOnline legend, you can consolidate text, overwrite text. You can uncheck map layers you don’t want to include in the legend. Go at it. Make that legend speak to your primary map objective.

Now, review the map and tweak as required. Adjust colors, transparency, text settings, and the map legend. Tweaking is a big part of creating an excellent map.

Here’s a bonus idea.  You can take the point layer of either the cases or deaths data (or other data you find) and symbolize it using the Graph option, eleven buttons in from the left, Put Charts on Map. Charts work well for Covid because you can show three to six day changes. I used Covid Death data.

  1.  Choose to filter the data by Map layer – I chose the State layer
  2.  Select your target data
  3.  Select the Chart type
  4.  Select three or more of the Date columns – I chose 3/22, 3/23, and 3/24
  5.  Adjust the chart intensity bar – I chose 250% to make the graphs meaningful at a national level

Covid-19 with Chart Symbol










Let’s hope our time tracking the Covid-19 contagion is brief. All of us here at MapBusinessOnline hope you and your families remain safe and untouched by this horrid disease.  We’ll get out of this eventually by following the advise of experts and working together for a safe recovery.


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

How Can I Import Custom Symbols into MapBusinessOnline?

Importing a spreadsheet of location data and viewing those locations against a web map is the first thing most new MapBusinessOnline users do when they log on. The business mapping function of importing data can be described in multiple ways:

  • Geocoding – that’s the official geospatial industry term for the data import process
  • Pinning – this is the term that has been coming up a lot lately. Think ‘pin the tail on the donkey’
  • Plotting Excel Data – a common search term for the functionality
  • Importing Location Data – a more descriptive way of saying it

MapBusinessOnline makes the importing of location data wicked easy. Here’s a blog I wrote a while back describing the import process, with a video included.

Once the data is imported into MapBusinessOnline and displayed on the map, the user may choose to adjust the symbols that are automatically applied by the tool upon import. This is done by clicking the Color Code Points button on the toolbar and using the color-coding process, including the symbol library. Read more about color-shading points.

Import and Display Your Custom Symbols

Once you enter the symbol library there is an option to import your symbols. The first thing you should do is find or create a group of symbols to use on your business map. Keep the new symbols small in file size and save them in Jpeg or PNG format. The symbol file size must be no larger than 50 KB.

  1. From the Color Code with Symbols button (three colored balls) on the Master Toolbar, select your data and begin the standard choose symbol process
  2. Click any symbol listed in the dialogue page to open access to the symbol library
  3. Once in the symbol library, scroll to the top using the scroll bar on the right side of the dialogue page
  4. At the top click into the Mange Custom Symbols button
  5. Click the Upload a Symbol button and navigate to where the symbol is located on your machine or network
  6. Select and import your new symbol. The symbol will be saved in the custom symbol library panel located just below the custom symbol buttons we just used. You’ll note that you can select and delete symbols as well

Accessing the Custom Symbol Import function

Tweak Your Symbols to Achieve Map Perfection

Realize that your custom symbol may not appear on the map exactly as you might have envisioned. It may require a couple of design passes to get your symbol just right. Keep those symbols small and succinct. You will have the option, once the symbol is placed on the map, to move the symbol around the geocoded point on the map, like a position on a clock face. You’ll see that position adjustment feature in the label or callout on the map.

You can also use the Edit Address and Location function in the Data Window to adjust your plotted location position. Sometimes users are more interested in the custom symbol positioning on the map than the accurate locations of the originally imported data points. In the Data Window, select that imported data layer, then hover your mouse over the very left column – the one that displays the colored geocoding accuracy dots. Click the Pencil when it pops up. Next, select the option to Edit Address and Location.

Custom symbols and symbols sets are useful for specific industry applications. Medical symbols proliferate. And because we may not be intimately familiar with your specific industry, we can’t decide which symbols make the most sense for your applications. Let us know if there is a symbol-set we should be supporting. We’ll consider adding it to the library of stock symbols, so you won’t have to bother to import custom symbols.

I’ve used custom symbol sets in MapBusinessOnline maps to display hurricane landing and impact zones, hospital area descriptors, and even dental services. There must be an endless requirement for more map symbols based on specific industries.

Users may want to import custom symbols in support of territory mapping, demographic analysis, or market analysis for expansion planning.


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!


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4 Ways Business Mapping Software Can Improve Market Analysis

All sales and marketing professionals today understand that we must access a variety of software tools to get our jobs done effectively. It is hoped that the combined application of a few of the thousands of the marketing programs available will lead to improved marketing results and measurable sales growth for the companies we work for. That’s why they pay us the big bucks.

A key step for marketing professionals, along the way to the perfect marketing message and blowing away the sales goal, is defining and developing the markets themselves, a process better known as market analysis.

A robust and productive market analysis should take location-based analysis into account. Markets almost always have location components that connect them to points or areas on the Earth. Geographic analysis in the form of business mapping software provides an effective way to organize location-based marketing data to expose trends and patterns in the way customers respond to advertisements and calls-to-action. Location data and analysis augment general business intelligence gathering and enhance marketing and sales results.

The Benefits of Maps for Market Analysis

Map-based market analysis, or market mapping, provides critical and new perspectives, boosts and informs core market analysis and provides measurable increases in sales based on the power of location intelligence.

The application of market mapping, an eminently affordable cloud-based software solution, will increase sales revenue for the organization through the application of location intelligence towards defining the addressable market.

Map-based market analysis helps to define marketing messages and prove which ones work most effectively. These tools are critical to identifying core market areas and building market profiles that point to the most lucrative areas for expansion.

1. Harness Location Intelligence for Your Business

Think of location intelligence as business intelligence related to a specific place on the surface of the Earth. Location intelligence is information that can help a sales and marketing organization compete and expand based on real data. Location intelligence offers a wide array of general information, data layers for use in business and market analysis. These data layers, with location components (address, ZIP code, lat/long coordinates) may include almost any kind of information, such as:

  • Address locations for all branches, vendors, customers, and prospects
  • Industry types
  • Credit histories
  • Sales histories and statistics
  • Employee statistics
  • Demographic data – population, ethnicity, income, and more
  • Industry-specific statistics
  • Critical business resources and infrastructure

These are just examples. The list of location data layers is constantly growing and is also industry dependent – Chemical company location data is different than Internet Service Provider location data.

By accessing and analyzing aggregated location intelligence across geographic areas of interest, sales and marketing professionals will define critical characteristics for customer success and develop market profiles by area. Often these market areas of interest are ZIP codes groupings.

Active ZIP code market areas, areas where business is currently transacted, are overlaid with demographic layers such as population by age, household income levels, or specific ethnicity populations. Demographic data layers associated with ZIP codes and actual sales records begin to tell a story about the nature of the business under analysis. Sales trends will line up with certain demographic characteristics and a marketing profile will emerge describing the demographic buying habits of typical customers in that area.

Once a marketing profile has been established, business mapping software turns that profile into a template to expose other similar ZIP code areas where marketing success is most likely to occur. Market profiles are used to develop expansion plans for businesses who’ve seen great success in one area and wonder exactly where and how they can replicate that success in another area.

Map-based market analysis provides definitive answers to that ‘exactly where‘ question by combining the power of a filtered database analysis with map visualizations. By filtering a geographic database, the map marketing tool will generate a list of the top ten or twenty new market areas of interest, and the associated map visualizations will enable proximity views that identify where those best market opportunities are gathered or abut, strongly suggesting the most promising areas a business might consider exploring.

In this way, location intelligence and proximity analysis tools, will support marketing, sales, and strategic decision makers, all charged with promoting growth for their business.

Alternatives to Map-Based Market Analysis

As mentioned, marketing tools abound across the Internet. So, one might think, there must be alternatives to map-based market analysis. And it is true, marketing software and services exist that promise rich callout lists, in-depth market analysis, and accredited marketing consulting services.

Most list generation organizations are simply throwing bodies at the problem. They’re paying lower-tier, hourly hires to dial numbers and comb the Internet for a body that might show interest in an aspect of what you have to offer. But the reality is, they don’t understand your business – you do. Find and invest in tools that leverage your business intelligence.

Beware the list provider’s deliverables because their ‘qualified leads’ are not likely to become your measurable sales. Outbound sales phone calling is dead. What little potential the telephone channel had left was destroyed by telephone spammers. Nobody answers the phone anymore except grandma, and she’s busy getting scammed.

Ph.D. toting marketing consultants will invade your board room with a rush of activity and subject your organization to a series of time-consuming meetings. They’ll distill collected data down into a presentation that tells you what you already know. It will be a great presentation, with neat colorful slides, but their recommendations are going to involve hiring and firing and changes to the way you do business that may or may not generate sales growth. If the economy’s growing, you’ll never know if the consultant helped. If the economy tanks, you can blame the consultant for declining sales. If you do go the consulting route, make sure they include map-based, location intelligence analysis. And take their exorbitant fee out of your marketing budget so the expense is that manager’s badge of honor.

Map-based market analysis builds on the intelligence you’ve already gathered, overlaying your location data on preconfigured maps of the nation. You’ll be selecting Census Bureau demographic layers and business listings, that define your potential – that addressable market for your sales expansion. Any market mapping investment is going to be affordable – in the area of a thousand dollars. Don’t get suckered into $5,000 plus marketing studies. Take advantage of affordable map-based market analysis.

Map-based market analysis is relatively easy-to-use. Any employee used to Microsoft Office or the Apple equivalent will find the map marketing tools to be a quick learn. Check the reviews online. The best map-based marketing systems will rise to the top.

2. Use Maps to Calculate the Total Addressable Market

All businesses have markets. A plumbing and heating company may not require extensive marketing analysis because, in the area where they operate, the need for their services matches or exceeds their capacity to respond. We should all be so lucky.

But most companies must actively market and sell through a variety of sales channels to both maintain and grow their business. Businesses must allocate money, people, and time to marketing and market research. Forward-thinking businesses will be supplementing their sales and marketing processes with a business mapping software to conduct map market research.

Map-based market analysis tools are designed to overlay accurate digital maps with customer transactional history by location and by customer type. These customer maps are used to define markets for sales and marketing planning purposes. Geographic analysis combined with location intelligence, easily and quickly defines each of those key areas of interest as an addressable market towards which businesses can direct their sales and marketing efforts.

A simple spreadsheet of customer transactions by address, imported into onto a business map will define the areas and major industries a business currently sells to. These key industry types and market areas will determine the marketing and sales approach the company must apply as it expands. Mapping market research will:

  • Define the typical customer for products and services offered
  • Define optimum ZIP code or other district profiles by overlaying transactional data with demographic or industry data
  • Identify new optimum geographic market areas upon which to focus sales and marketing efforts
  • Help establish the sales and marketing approaches that will work best for any addressable market

While markets are often defined by industry type – manufacturing, health care, and retail are three examples – physical market areas are usually defined by ZIP code or county. Map-based market analysis can define market areas based on driving time around a central location, or a circular area surrounding a city – 50 miles is a common radius used to develop an addressable market. A defined physical market area can then relate product interest to demographic or industry characteristics:

  • Population by gender, age, and ethnicity
  • Household income levels
  • Housing statistics
  • The number of Chemical companies within a radius

Demographic analysis on top of map-based market analysis, multiplies the location intelligence derived from these defined market areas. Sales growth occurs fastest when location intelligence is applied. Map-based market analysis helps develop more effective marketing messages and creative marketing content, directed at the appropriate addressable markets.

Retail Market Analysis , Site Selection, & Expansion Planning

For instance, direct mail or newspaper advertising can be focused on specific ZIP codes. For retail marketing, those ZIP codes will be chosen based on an assessment of the of an acceptable customer drive time. How far is the average customer willing to drive to purchase your products based on a marketing message? A key question for the retail industry.

Any retail marketing messages should be directed only at those potential buyers within a specific and likely driving time, significantly reducing direct mail costs and enabling a localized marketing message, “Hurry down to Store One today to get your ZIP code-based discount!”

Map-based market analysis presents an accurate digital map with overlaid business location data that assembles demographic statistics, industry sales, employment data, and imported user data into a measurable addressable market. All of this compiled location intelligence is easily exported as a customizable reports.

  • Retail business can identify potential populations interested in their products and campaigns, by age, gender, ethnicity and by who live within twenty-minutes of the store location. In this way a retailer can calculate the potential revenue of that drive time area
  • Healthcare companies can define patient populations by age group and sort by diagnosis for families living within a twenty-five-mile radius of a major hospital, and calculate the expected campaign results for a given driving distance
  • MRO sales teams can identify all the potential manufacturing customers in a sales territory and estimate the potential revenue for the next year based on sales and employment data

With such affordable market mapping tools at your disposal, it seems almost reckless to not invest in these location-based solutions.

Develop Market Profiles by Radius or Drive Time Areas

3. Research Your Market

Once market areas and customer patterns are established, sales and marketing organizations need to drill into market data to learn as much as they can about their existing customers while developing plans to reach potential new customers with well-tuned messages. Map-based market analysis tools provide a visual platform over a database platform to both visualize and calculate market potential.

A crucial element of business mapping is the assignment of relevant Census demographic data to the actual sales territories where companies do business. Demographic data layers are easily queried appended to map analysis views. Existing business intelligence is extrapolated from sales results as market profiles and added to the analysis, creating a profile of a successful market. These market profiles based on thorough map market research are a vital step along the path toward sales growth.

Advanced map-based marketing converts local success into market profiles that when applied to other areas creates a launching pad for sales growth. Generally, market profiles are generated by accessing existing data available in standard business systems like sales order processing systems, CRMs, or ERPs. Each one of these business systems captures critical customer data as location data. Go look. Ask the person in charge of your CRM to export a list of customer transactions by address. Import those records onto a business map absorb the map visualization.

4. Reach Your Market – Now Track the Results

Once a marketing or sales department has established a new area of interest to target, strategies are created for targeting the intended audiences with the appropriate messages for products or services. A marketing strategy could consist of an email campaign, a social media campaign, pay per click web advertisement, or even periodical ads, although old school print ads are expensive and difficult to track.

Sales strategies are generally developed around sales territories and salespeople. For instance, a sales team might split a new market based on ZIP code areas with a ten-mile radius of a salesperson’s home location. Or a call center team might define urban area territories and assign each call center person a few urban areas to target with outbound sales calls.

Such territory planning activity leverages a sales territory mapping application to organize campaigns based on the demographic or business characteristics of target areas. Usually, sales territory mapping is available in any map-based market analysis package. Sales territories are an outstanding platform to:

  • Develop sales areas of interest in new markets or competitive markets
  • Assign sales accountability for customer contact and follow-through
  • Share sales results so that the sales process promotes team building and training
  • Track and derive appropriate sales compensation

Sales territory maps are flexible. Territories are initially based on marketing profiles for a given area but should be subject to adjustment as salespeople run their campaigns. Don’t keep sending the same representative into the same area if there are no results. Try different approaches or move on.

After a marketing or sales campaign has been established and the emails and offers have been transacted, it’s time to track the results. Results are usually tracked as sales dollars by account, ZIP code, or territory. Tracked results can be rolled up into branch or location results to measure branch network performance.

Determining how marketing and sales campaigns performed seems an obvious final step in the marketing process, but many organizations fail to do more than just tally up the sales totals and pay commissions.

Results should include analysis by area. An analysis of how each ZIP code performed can be used to optimize demographic and location-based targets for future campaigns. This crucial lookback location intelligence will be factored into the next campaign’s planning, as your organization gets better at defining markets and optimizing market profiling.


Market analysis is a fact of life for most businesses. Embrace it and embrace the cloud-based SaaS services that make it accessible and affordable for your business. Make sure your organization leverages its location-based business intelligence through map-based market analysis capabilities.

Several leading SaaS software applications can provide map-based market analysis including:

MapBusinessOnline Pro‘s map-based market analysis tools will help your marketing and sales team identify appropriate and lucrative addressable markets for your business’s products and services. MapBusinessOnline Pro offers an array of analytical approaches that will define your addressable markets and profile your best performing ZIP codes, counties, or other jurisdictions:

  • Enable retail markets estimates by driving distance, driving time, or straight-line radius
  • Define ZIP code area demographic characteristic and develop market profiles for use in expansion planning
  • Assess the number of potential customers within the proximity of a set of stores
  • Match the probable patient pool with a medical center’s planned capacity
  • Compile complete, multiple category demographic profiles of critical areas of interest
  • Calculate driving distances and times between multiple datasets of multiple business locations
  • Enrich imported datasets with demographic and geographic data
  • Generate market analysis and business intelligence reporting

The results tracked will serve to expand operations, fine-tune sales offers, enhance targeting strategies, driving your business forward in a competitive world. MapBusinessOnline Pro transforms collected location intelligence data into revenue expansion opportunities.

MapBusinessOnline Standard and Pro versions offer ready to use map-based market analysis with prebuilt background maps and accurate street, demographic, and business listing data.

Leverage the affordable and accessible location-based market analysis tools available in the cloud and do it today. Any competitor worth its salt will be doing it. Don’t get left behind.


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!



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Where Harry Meets Sally – a Territory Tale

Scenario: You’re the new salesperson for an industrial construction products company. Your boss has handed you your territory. You will cover all of Orange County, Florida, East of highway I-4. “Gulp.” Cue the beads of sweat on your brow.

Problem: How do I effectively represent my sales territory on a business map by ZIP code in relation to a geographic object like a highway or a river?

ZIP codes are a nice way to build territories. ZIP codes help aggregate sales figures and demographic data nicely and they are the next logical step for defining your territories when the boss cavalierly cuts a whole freakin’ county right in half.

I hate when that happens.

But the boss is also responsible for controlling travel expenses across his team. “I don’t want Harry Callahan traipsing across Orange County, spending half the day crossing and re-crossing I-4 just because ServCo needs another set of heater-elements. We’ve got budget targets to meet. Sally can handle ServCo.”

Ok. It’s when Harry Met Sally all over again except it’s Where Harry Meets Sally, territory-wise. But there is a manageable solution for addressing this awkward sales territory situation.

Drawn Map Object Are Not Territories

Business mapping software does allow the users to draw areas, like all of Orange County west of I-4. But these drawn map objects and the resultant sales analysis views are limited in scope. Harry may want to conduct some market analysis on his territory area and a simple polygon drawn on the map won’t provide the same capabilities as a ZIP code based territory – and it’s ability to maintain scale at all zoom levels may be restricted as well.

Create ZIP Code Based Territories

Using MapBusinessOnline, Harry establishes his area of interest. By typing ‘Orange County, FL’ into the Address Bar in the upper left of the mapping application suddenly Orange County, FL takes up his whole screen. He pulls back out a few clicks on his scroll bar to give himself room to breathe, geographically.

Harry also decided to overlay his map view with the Highway Layer available in the Add More Layers button. This gives him a clear view of I-4 as it drops like a guillotine hacking away the West edge of his Orange County territory.

Next, Harry addresses the county and ZIP code layer look and feel, to provide visibility for his map work. Hovering over each layer in the Map and Data box, he hits the Edit Gear and then adjusts the fill transparencies under the General Tab. He moves the scroll bar to the right to 10% opaqueness or 90% transparency. And he thickens the borders of the ZIP code layer, coloring it a dark black or blue. On counties, with the fill mostly transparent, he thickens the border even more and paints it a bright red. This is so that the Orange County boundary clearly defines the area for the ZIP code territory work he’s about to undertake.

With ZIP codes visible against the County border Harry selects a polygon search tool from the MapBusinessOnline Master ToolBar Search Tool dropdown and quickly draws a polygon following the inside of the county border. Harry is careful to stay inside the I-4 corridor to the west. Completed, the polygon operation presents a dialogue with choices. Harry chooses the Binocular search icon, and a list of Map Layers is offered. Harry chooses the ZIP code layer. The resultant dialogue begs for a Territory Name, Harry chooses the incredibly creative and clever name of ‘Ter 1.’

“In line for a Pulitzer, Harry is.” Said Yoda.

Harry deletes that polygon he just created because it is no longer useful. The territory is Opaque with an assigned color of blue. He quickly adjusts the transparency on the Territory layer in Map and Data, just like he did for the ZIP code and County layers. He also adjusts the boundary of the territory to be dark and clearly visible.

Now, remember, Harry’s territory is made up of ZIP codes covering Orange County east of I-4. But some of those ZIP’s on the West side of Orange County, overlap the I-4 corridor, going beyond the highway and fall, to some degree – more or less, into the county to the west of I-4. That’s right, ZIP codes, counties, and major highways don’t always line up. Is there no God?

Hey, life is like an onion. You peel it off, layer by layer, and sometimes you weep. (Lipton Tea Bag, 1980.)

Anyhow, Harry views those highway crossing ZIP codes this way. I-4 cuts a swath between 7 and 13 miles wide off of the west edge of Orange County. A good chunk of the westernmost ZIPs in his territory follow the I-4 boundary. The others are overlapping with some showing a sizable percentage of area to the west of I-4, split roughly 50/50, and others showing about 10 or 15% western overlap.

Harry figures he should be the good guy on this, so he selects all those territories with large areas west of I-4 and removes them from his territory. He clicks one ZIP code, holds down the shift key and clicks the rest, then in the dialogue, with his territory preselected, he removes those ZIP codes from his territory and saves his work.

Solution: Now with Harry’s territory addressing 95% of the I-4 issue, he is ready to import a dataset of customer addresses and see if that doesn’t fix the problem. What are the chances there’s a major account in those thin overlapping areas? Murphy’s Law says its guaranteed, but he’ll work it out with Sally. She’ll have what he’s having, territory-wise.

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!


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4 Ways Business Map Users Apply Counties to Their Work

Ah, the lowly county. Not as sexy as a ZIP code, not as awe-inspiring as a state – the county jurisdiction is a shy, unassuming administrative district. Still, business map users often ask about counties. And some aspects of county use in a business map can be tricky.

Unlike ZIP Codes, a relatively new invention from the 1960s, counties have been around for eons. The Norman Conquerors brought the term County to Merry Old England. Counties replaced the Saxon administrative district called the Shire. A county seat was often associated with a Count, who was the ruling figurehead of the county area, representing the king. A famous example of a county law enforcement agency would be the Sherriff of Nottinghamshire from the Adventures of Robin Hood.

In today’s Louisiana, counties are referred to as Parishes, a left-over from French rule before Napoleon sold the Louisiana purchase to the United States. Another county substitute name is the word borough. Borough can also mean city neighborhoods, such as those found in downtown Los Angeles.

There are 3,220 counties across the USA and therefore listed in MapBusinessOnline’s county map layer.

In MapBusinessOnline the importation of county data can be used to color-shade an area based on counties or to create territories. The most important thing to remember when importing counties is that a State column is required in your data. Unlike ZIP codes, counties are not uniquely named. If you look around the country you will find eighteen Montgomery Counties, seven Howard Counties, and surprisingly only five Smith Counties. So, it is important to always include a state abbreviation when importing a list of counties or searching for a county in the Search Bar.

Sales Territory Management

Some users prefer territory maps based on counties as opposed to the more popular ZIP code based territory map. Counties can simply things from a territory perspective. Typically, counties are large enough to include more than a few ZIP codes. So, if minimizing overlap and providing larger areas for a sales rep to manage, is your goal, try using counties as your territory base map layer.

Because counties usually encompass a wider area than ZIP codes, counties may provide a more sensible territory balance basis. Population densities will tend to even out, where small ZIP codes, especially on the East coast, can be packed with people. Small ZIP codes with lots of population are tough to balance against large ZIPs bereft of people. Shifting your territory basis to counties may solve that problem.

Map Business Online does offer a filter option to view map layers by Primary County and Primary ZIP code. The reality is ZIP codes and counties do not always lineup perfectly. ZIP codes can overlap two or even three counties in places. Primary county views will provide a list of the ZIP codes with the majority of its land area dedicated to a particular county. This tool doesn’t come up often, but every once in a while, the Primary ZIP code and county options come in handy.

Heat Maps

MapBusinessOnline offers a heat map button along the master toolbar. This map visualization will assign color density to a column of imported numeric data – like sales data or population characteristics. This view will display concentrated areas of sales activity, for example, like blotches of bright colors.

But often MapBusinessOnline customers who want to “heat map” means they want to color shade ZIP codes of Counties by their imported data, or perhaps by demographic data. Thus, a heat map can be a group of counties color-coded based on a column of data.

A simple and quick example is a Choropleth map showing county population estimates by County.

Choropleth Map

Map Visualizations

Of course, almost any business map could be considered a map visualization. Business map visualizations are maps that turn organizational location data into compelling map-based analysis.

A simple map visualization might be a heat map as described above. But more advanced visualization can include multiple layers of information including customer locations, sales data, demographic makeup by administrative district, and even map notes.

Map visualizations are intended to inform a map viewer, typically a business audience, about business trends, concentrations of activity, and areas of responsibility. As opposed to analysis, these maps tend to show the big picture. They transmit a message that an audience can understand without a lot of detail. Example messages might be:

  • Half of our business is in California
  • These sales territories are selling at a rate that will not hit goal by December
  • All these counties are polling for either Biden or Sanders

Map visualizations should be concise, representing one or two major points, and they should be relatively uncluttered with superfluous information. Do not use too many colors and data layers. Keep your map simple.

The use of counties in map visualizations helps to maintain a simple map structure. Counties cover a wider area than ZIP codes, which can get lost when viewed on a national scale. Counties still provide a relatively detailed distribution of demographic data, which can be too disseminated at a state level.

Map Analysis

MapBusinessOnline includes a Data Window or tabular datasheet view. From this perspective, sales territory analysis and marketing lists can be developed for export. Demographic profiling by ZIP code or County can also be developed and exported for use outside of the application. This data analysis is accomplished largely through the application of the powerful More Data button in the lower right of the Data Window view. Read more about More Data.

The Data Window includes a filtering tool. A business mapping user can choose between counties, ZIP codes or other map districts to filter for demographic data or imported business data. Counties are helpful in such analysis.

One-way counties can be particularly helpful is when analyzing impacts across regional areas. For example, when hurricane mitigation efforts are reviewed or planned, the impact at landfall is typically most devastating in the cone area. ZIP codes would generally be too small to be effective as a gauge of impact, while counties might encompass an entire cone of impact. Either way, the demographic data is there for your analysis.

TIPS on Using Counties in Business Maps

  • When using counties in your business mapping always make sure to include states. Counties are not unique like ZIP codes.
  • When filtering for counties, try to use the Contains modifier. You’ll go crazy trying to find exact matches by county
  • Forty-seven county names include the word ‘City’ as part of the name. That can be confusing when searching for Alexandria City County, as an example
  • Territories are created by either a County or by a ZIP code map layer. You cannot mix the two in one territory. Defer to the smallest geography required.
  • And keep in mind that county and ZIP code boundaries do not always line up with State or County boundaries. Often, they do line up, but not always. Therefore Map Business Online includes a data window map layer classification for Primary County and Primary ZIP code – in case you need to filter for only those ZIP codes with a majority of its landmass in a particular county or set of counties.

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!

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