Over the past 8 weeks we have gone through Mapping for Business step by step and hopefully you’ve found a way to use mapping successfully to drive business decisions in your organization. This week we are going to bring everything together to help you present your data in the best possible way.
Style and Color
Ok, so first of all you need to make sure your map looks good. Style and color can mean the difference between a room full of puzzled faces and a room full of smiling faces when you present your data. We’ve all been in this situation before: you’re in a meeting were someone is presenting their latest findings, bombarding you with numbers, data, and spreadsheets and you are totally overwhelmed with data.
Whether you are presenting to colleagues, managers, or to clients. Its important to be aware that most people process data in a similar way, and that’s visually. Visual design principles will help make your presentation stand out from others. Visualizing your data correctly will help emphasize your points and help your audience’s understanding of the information presented. Visual information is easier to digest, and when combined with your words, you can appeal to more than one sense simultaneously.
These are the basics in design. If you bear these four principles in mind when presenting your data on a map and your map in a presentation, you will make it much simpler for others to understand.
Contrast means difference. It is one of the most powerful design concepts as you can achieve contrast in many ways, whether it is the manipulation of space, choice of color or combination of fonts. Make your most important information stand out by taking advantage of contrast opportunities in your map. From a mapping perspective, color has the most impact. Customize your basemap and make all territories a muted color except for the one that is performing the best/worst. There are lots of color palette generator sites out there. One of my favourites is Paletton and our development team love ColorBrewer which is specifically built for use with maps.
Repetition comes in most useful when you are presenting a series of maps showing different perspectives of the same data. Where contrast is about showing differences, repetition is about subtly using elements to make sure the design is viewed as being part of a larger whole. Repetition is important as it helps the viewer understand quicker what is going on in the map. They’ve already been told that the Red Map Pins represent customers who have churned. Orange pins represent customers who have been quiet lately. And Green Map Pins Represent happy customers. So when on the next page you show them additional data overlayed, it takes the brain less time to understand the image than it would if you used Purple for happy customers and Yellow for churned customers.
Alignment really refers to presenting your map on a page, whether that is a paper page or a slide deck and now with the latest release of eSpatial, can help with your placement of annotations within a shared map. Alignment means that everything on the page is meant to be there, that everything is connected with an invisible line. Poor alignment can make your page look less profession and as though it was thrown together in the last few minutes. And although you’d imagine that no one would notice, it often is the first thing your audience will note.
Proximity refers to where items are placed on a page and is used to produce a more organized look. Keeping related items closer together reinforces their relevancy to each other. Keeping other information such as side notes apart from the main element of the page. This gives the viewer more context to understand what they are looking at.
Publish Your Map
When we talk about publishing your map, we mean saving it in a format that others can view it. This can be in many formats from an embedded map on a website to an exported jpeg in a document. We’ll take a look at the various options and which ones are best used for particular purposes.
Share Your Map
This is the quickest way to publish your map. With eSpatial, you can share it publicly or privately (when on a Team account). Sharing a link to a map means all the person on the other end has to do is click that link and right away they can see that data visualized. This is the most common way users publish their maps and can be used to get opinions or to present definitive learnings.
Print Your Map
You can print your map as you see it straight from within eSpatial’s interface. This is particularily useful if you are using it as an information sheet when giving a presentation. Having it printed in front of you means in one quick glance, you have what you need for the presentation.
Publish Your Map Collection
This is a new feature within eSpatial which allows you to export all your maps into one PowerPoint document. This can then be converted into PDF for distribution amongst your team. Sales teams find this feature most useful when reassigning territories for field sales. This feature is called MapBook.
Embed Your Map on a Website
This method of publishing your map is mostly used for public maps. Some organizations also embed their maps on internal intranets for employee’s usage. You can fit a small map in a webpage and viewers can then opt to open a larger version. Our customer s find this useful for office and store locators as well as maintaining constant communication about company performance.