7 types of maps and why they are useful

Gillian McCarthy by Gillian McCarthy  |  7 minute read
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At eSpatial, we live and breathe maps so we know what all the different types of maps mean and how they help you in your day to day work.

Today we are taking a step back to ensure that you are finding the information you want by using the correct type of map. So we've put together a list of 7 types of maps our customers create regularly using our mapping software and why they use them.

1. Simple Pin Maps


View a larger version of Pin Map created with our mapping software.

One of the simplest maps we offer. Just upload your business data and it will be automatically plotted onto a map in seconds (depending on size of file). Once your data is plotted, you can customize your map with a range of options including: different basemaps (satellite, terrain, etc.), pin color and pin style – including the ability to plot your pins (e.g. company logos) on the map.

Used for data visualization, geographic patterns and trends. Create a simple pin map

2. Regional Heat Map


View a larger version of Regional Heatmap created with eSpatial mapping software.

This is the most popular type of map created by our users. Regional heat maps allow geographic regions (Such as US states in the above map) to be colorized to reveal different levels of intensity of a dataset value. In the heat map above, you can instantly see where the highest (red) and lowest (yellow) value states are located, on a state-by-state basis. You can also layer other pin datasets on top of this map, for greater flexibility in analyzing your data. It is the best way to summarize your data for others to understand or to include in a report presentation.

Used for making complex data easier to understand and aggregating data by region. Create a regional heat map

3. Heat Maps


View a larger version of Accounts Heat Map created with eSpatial mapping software.

Heatmapping is a great way to identify gaps in the market or indeed the areas that are over-served. A heat map is a graphical representation of data where the individual values contained are represented as colors. Heat maps can instantly give you a market overview – where you're doing well, and where needs attention. One example of a heat map would be a customer density map. High levels of customers can be expressed by an orange shade, whereas low levels may be expressed by lighter blue shades.

Used for spotting sales patterns by density and by value. Create a heat map

4. Territory Maps


View a larger version of Territory Map created with eSpatial mapping software.

Sales organizations use to not only define sales territories but to analyze sales performance and create maps for sales teams on the go. This is a great tool for regional insights and management.Territories can be formed by combining small geographic boundaries, such as zip codes, or large geographic boundaries, such as countries. If you have your territory structure laid out in a spreadsheet you can upload this and create your territories in seconds.

Used for sales territory mapping, organization and delegation. Create a territory map

5. Route Map


View a larger version of 25 Point Route Map created with eSpatial mapping software.

Route maps are self-explanatory, they help you to plot any route on a map. This is a highly practical business tool that can save hours on journeys and, as a consequence, also help reduce fuel costs. eSpatial route maps (or a leg of a journey) can be accessed – with turn-by-turn directions (click on the car symbol in the map above) – on mobile devices using the Google Maps app. Get optimized routing, by default, or customize a route.

Used for planning and optimizing routes. Create a route map

6. Bubble Map


View a larger version of Bubble Map created with eSpatial mapping software.

Bubble maps are one of the best ways to communicate proportional location-based data in a clear and concise way. Like Heat Maps, Bubble Maps can summarize data levels in a particular region. For example, in the map above, all occurrences of a particular set of data have been expressed on a region-by-region basis. All the customers within a region have been combined to give a summarized number, expressed by the size of the circle. Bubble maps are great for reports, presentations and even to embed on a web page due to its simplicity.

Used for proportional representation and data visualization. Create a bubble map now

7. Nearest Neighbor


View a larger version of Nearest Neighbor Map created with eSpatial mapping software.

A Nearest Neighbor map is most useful for salespeople or logistics organizations to help plan out a route. Nearest Neighbor does not generate a radius field, but rather finds a set amount of data nearest a center point.

For example, it is the end of the quarter and your sales team needs to pull in those last few sales. You've identified a group of low hanging fruit and you need to see which of those potential customers are closest to which salesperson. You upload the location data of the salespeople and the location data of the low hanging fruit and run a nearest neighbor analysis which will help you not only to assign the right salesperson but also to assist them with planning their route.

In the map above you will see the store locations with the corresponding number of premium rewards club members within a 20-mile radius. Used for identifying leads, prospects and customers nearest to your office or store locations. Create a nearest neighbor map now.

So there you have it. 7 types of maps you can use plot, analyze and present your business data. If you have any questions about the different types of maps or how your organization could use them, just jump on live chat with one of our mapping experts.

Are you a Salesforce User? Check out eSpatial for Salesforce on the AppExchange!

If you have any questions about how your organization could use different map types

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Gillian McCarthy Written by

Gillian McCarthy

Gillian has an extensive education across multiple business spaces and schools, including UCD‘s prestigious Smurfit Business School. This wealth of knowledge is evident in the many eSpatial blog contributions Gillian has authored. Having written on many subjects Gillian has become a particular authority on how integrating eSpatial with other tools can bring enhanced customer value.

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