View Full Version : New User - Best Practices Questions

02-09-2011, 12:26 PM
Hi everyone... I've searched around through the forums and haven't found very much that specifically addresses the questions I've come up with. I'm a very new user (about 24 hours) of map point, and have found the built-in help system lacking, as well as sparse data online. I'm glad I found this forum!

Quick background: I work for a company that is trying to understand its customer base better, as well as target our marketing more efficiently. I've been asked to prepare some data for the president and really want to make sure I understand this data before publishing the results!

Using MapPoint 2009.

I am working from four lists:
2009 Least desirable customer
2009 Most desirable customer
2010 Least desirable customer
2010 Most desirable customer

Each file has the following:
Primary key, Zip Code, Average Sales Price

So far I've been playing with Shaded Maps to try and determine concentration of our customers by county.


1. Is mapping by zip code reliable enough? If I have address information, will that change the integrity of the shade maps, and if so - does the data need to be NCOA'd prior to importing into MP?

2. I've imported two sets of data concurrently and have seen that I can display them on the map together (i.e. 2009 Best/Worst comparison). However, if I use shade map on both data sets: what determines which "shade" is shown in overlapping counties? I'm now trying "Shaded Map" and "Shaded Circles" overlaid to not hide data.. is there a better way to do this or is this a good approach?

3. My primary key is a 6 digit number. When I try to use a shade map by Zip Code, I lose the option to show "Count the number of items" and the default data range looks like it is automatically reverting to "Add up value." Is there a way to get a *count* of customers by zip code on the shade map? It would seem to me that adding up their primary keys would cause the shades to be skewed heavily.

4. I'm trying to present these maps graphically. I've discovered I can "Send To>Mail recipient as picture" which then allows me to grab the image out of the email, but is there another way to do this that's not such a work-around?

5. "Divide the data you chose above by" - In the import data wizard dialog box, I have the option to Divide the data. I can't figure out exactly what this does or what it is useful for by the help file... any tips?

Thanks for your help! Sorry to dump so much here, but I ran around town last night and can't find the "MapPoint for Dummies" book anywhere locally. I'll order it online, but need to get some basic results out quickly and feel fairly confident with what I've seen so far...


02-10-2011, 07:23 AM
#1. Why should address data affect zip-coded shaded maps?
Where people do have trouble with zipcodes is when they try to map new zipcodes. The USPS seems to be constantly adding new ones! The best way to avoid this is to use the latest version of MapPoint - 2010, or in a few weeks 2011.

#2. Which makes sense - how would you draw a shaded map on top of a shaded map?
Two maps alongside each other is one method. Or use different dataset types: eg. shaded areas and shaded circles.
Or you could use the bar chart option (it sounds like the category one that is not a series, is the one to go for)

#3. I'm not sure what you mean or are trying to do, but it sounds like you have multiple rows for each zipcode. I would pre-process the data in Excel (or Acess or whatever your source db is), so you know exactly what is going on.

#4. Print to Web Page I think it is called on the Files menu. This will give you a GIF and some auxiliaries (HTML, thumbnail, etc). Michael Mattys also offers a print service (to paper or file) which retains high resolutions on large images (that will be your next question!).

#5. In which case you probably don't need it!
It can be used to calculate ratios and percentages.
Eg. If you have the number of households receiving your newspaper, you might divide by Total Households to give you a percentage of the number receiving your newspaper - to account for the wide range in household counts by zipcode. (a zipcode might appear to be doing well but if there are a lot of potential households then you might find it is actually performing very poorly).


02-14-2011, 09:34 AM

Thank you for the reply! It was exactly what I needed and helped me to understand what I was looking at more clearly.



02-17-2011, 11:40 AM
Hi - have come up with a follow up question...

Is there a way to get my data back out of MapPoint 2009?

For example:

If I upload a list of all Customer Zip Codes, Customer ID, and Sale Price into the program, and determine that the Cincinnati Metropolitan Area is my best market; is there a way I can export back out all records that fall within that metropolitan area so I can match it back up to my data?

I guess another way to ask this is: If I don't know what zip codes comprise a metropolitan area, can I use MapPoint to determine that by exporting back out either those specific customers or a list of the zip codes within each area somehow?

I have found the "Export To Excel" function, but it only creates a sheet that tells me how many unique records exist within each area.

Thanks again!


Eric Frost
02-17-2011, 01:34 PM
After you use the Export to Excel, it should create multiple tabs.

One with the summary count linking to each detail tab (may be more than one if you have multiple datasets)

Hope this helps.