7 types of maps and why they are useful

Gillian McCarthy by Gillian McCarthy on April 6, 2016  |  9 minute read
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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. Pin maps

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

The simplest maps type. Just upload your business data, which plots in seconds (depending on the file size). Once your data plots, you can customize your map with various options, including different base maps (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.

Our user's most popular choice is the regional heat map. You can color geographic regions (Such as US states, counties, and Zips) to reveal different levels of intensity of your data. For example, you can see the location of the highest (red) and lowest (yellow) value states on a state-by-state basis. You can layer other pin datasets on your map for more flexible analysis. It is the best way to summarize your data for others to understand or to include in a report or 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 an excellent way to identify market or market coverage gaps. Your heat map's data values are colored, offering you a unique market overview. See where you excel and where you need to focus. One example of a heat map would be a customer density map. High levels of customers are colored orange, whereas low levels are colored light 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 territory maps to service and sales areas, analyze sales performance and create maps for sales teams.

It's perfect for regional insights and management. You can form territories by combining geographic boundaries, such as zip codes, or large geographic boundaries, such as states and 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.

5. Route map

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

Route maps are an indispensable business tool that can save hours on journeys, boost productivity and help reduce fuel costs. Route optimization ensures that your sales reps travel the least number of miles for the maximum revenue.

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 clearly and concisely. Like Heat Maps, Bubble Maps can summarize data levels in a particular region. For example, you can map all customers within an area to give a summarized revenue number expressed by the circle size (the bigger the circle, the higher the revenue). Bubble maps are great for reports, presentations, or embedded on a web page.

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.

The nearest neighbor map is powerful for salespeople or logistics organizations planning routes. Nearest Neighbor does not generate a radius field but finds a set amount of data closest to a center point.

For example, it is the end of the quarter, and your sales team needs to close more deals. You've identified a group of low-hanging fruit, and you need to see which potential customers are closest to each salesperson. You upload the location data of the salespeople and the locations of the low-hanging fruit and run the nearest neighbor analysis. Now you can assign the right person to the opportunity and assist in route planning.

So there you have it. 7 types of maps to 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, jump on live chat with one of our mapping experts.

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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.

Read more from Gillian McCarthy