380 New York Street
Redlands, CA 92373
With Version 4, BusinessMAP continues to provide good value and functionality in desktop mapping software. While the product primarily supports sales and marketing professionals with integrated links to personal information management software, BusinessMAP Version 4 continues its appeal to other professionals who simply need mapping software.
Examples of the functionality that are new to Version 4 include ring studies and drive time analysis. Having both these forms of analysis in one package is rare in a product in the $300 price range.
BusinessMAP Version 4 has an increased number of Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) business listings, up from 16 million in Version 3.5 to 18 million. These businesses can be mapped, thematized by sales, or other value, searched, and grouped by SIC code or keyword. In addition, BusinessMAP has all of the standard geographies down to street centerlines, and current demographics at the ZIP Code level. Additional demographic reports can also be retrieved from the ESRI BIS web site from directly within BusinessMAP.
International data for Europe, Canada and Puerto Rico are available. BusinessMAP also includes a 30-day free trial subscription to MapTech aerial imagery.
This product comes on 10 CDs or one DVD holding 5.6GB of program and data. As in Version 3.5, BusinessMAP 4 can connect to the Internet and follows the Dangermond Vision of data, imagery, desktop and the Web as one continuum.
To compare the additional functionality in Version 4 to the previous version, see a review of BusinessMAP 3.5 in Directions Magazine, April 2004.
Functions added to the product include the following.
- Ring studies and drive time analysis
- Direct connection to ODBC (open database connectivity) databases
- The ability to copy the map directly to MS Office products
- Databases can be sorted from the column heading and totaled on numeric fields
- A New Edit Layer Wizard brings symbols, labels, visibility and layer properties together
- The Color Code Wizard is updated and simplified
- Legend options to print/copy/export and color code (all legends, map, territory and routing) are updated
- Updated Business Listing Wizard
- Updated links for Act 7.0 and Goldmine SQL
- Thumbnail preview in the File Open dialog
- Folder choice options (graphically select) in the
Save Map dialog
- Right click on a point for ring and drive times
- Reporting through MS Office products
BusinessMAP continues to include substantial quantity of data from these sources:
- GDT Dynamap 2000/Transportation
- D&Bs 18 million business listings
- The US Census Bureau's boundary files to the census tract level with 500 current demographics variables, including estimates and projections
- ESRI BIS's five digit ZIP Code boundaries (29,785
records) with population (estimates and projections), income, age and
- ESRI BIS's consumer expenditure data at the state and county levels
- GDT's Canadian maps and shaded relief data
- From MapTech, a 30-day free aerial photo download
Since BusinessMAP Version 4 reads shape files, that opens the door to acquiring more data from third parties, the Internet and local government offices.
One of the things that makes BusinessMAP Version 4 a little different is that it actually ships with a printed manual. This may seem like Software 101, but in case you haven't purchased any new software lately, you may not know that many desktop programs only offer manuals via the install CD/DVD or the Web. In other words, to save money, publishers force users to print and assemble their own paper user manuals. BusinessMAPs manual includes a 200 page user guide with 30 or so pages of sample applications. There is an additional 40 page book of sample maps created with BusinessMAP. Its always nice to see what the product can do and the folks at ESRI have gone the extra mile to make sure users understand their products features and capabilities.
Several of the existing wizards have been updated. These include the Color Coding (thematic) Wizard, the Business Listing Wizard and the Edit Layer Wizard. The Edit Layer Wizard brings the symbology, labels, visibility and layer property choices together in a branching dialog that lets you chose which of the characteristics to change. The advantage of this branching dialog is that it simplifies the many customization options.
You can generate rings or drives times by clicking on a place on the map, or from the main toolbar or menu. If you right click on the map where you want the center of your ring or drive time to be, you will see this dialog.
There is a standard report in the Reports menu that provides the demographic output from this analysis.
Reports While it's not a new feature, the Reports section has been beefed up to include additional reports on age and retail expenditures. These are driven directly into MS PowerPoint and include graphs and charts.
BusinessMAP Version 4 lets you sort columns within the database. This is a feature long overdue but welcome just the same. By clicking on the label icon at the top of the ZIP Code column, for example, they will be sorted in ascending order. You can click a second header to choose a secondary sort criteria as well.
BusinessMAP 4 saves a thumbnail image of the map when you save the map file, so that after youve saved a map, from then on a preview of that map appears in the Open Map dialog to assist you in selecting the correct map. Below is an example. Notice off to the left are a series of folders that BusinessMAP has identified for you to keep your maps in, or in this case may be a source of map files to be opened.
There are a number of features that separate BusinessMAP Version 4 from other products in the under $500 category. Print preview, thumbnails, feature rendering (ability to control color, size and display threshold of any map feature), 18 million D&B business records, and links to contact managers like ACT and GoldMine are some of the products better characteristics. However, one of the most compelling features is the ability to read geo-referenced raster files. This enables users to overlay aerial photos, USGS topographic maps and shaded relief images, for example.
I have always felt that BusinessMAP is a good value, because is include ample data and functionality targeted toward not just the sales and marketing professional but the average person who wants to create good looking maps. It is easy to use, has many intuitive features and it comes out of the box with data to do far more than is expected in this price range of mapping software.