Date Written: 19/09/2016 by Andrew Scott
We’re about to release a new version of our most popular postcode mapping tool !
Our web application started out as a tool which enabled users with little to no experience of graphics packages to customise their own postcode maps and colour them into delivery zones, sales territories, franchise areas and many more types of coloured in maps.
Now with our latest upcoming release we aim to target the GIS market. GIS (Geographic Information Systems) are typically very complicated mapping applications that you need a pony tail, a skin condition and degree in something obscure to use. GIS can be used to produce spectacular and evocative maps jam-packed full of information that will liven up even the sleepiest sales meeting.
Unfortunately GIS systems come with a huge price tag and if you don’t have a few months free to learn the simplest features, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and hire a cartographer or someone with GIS experience to beaver away in the corner of the office wearing scruffy plimsolls to produce anything half decent.
Until Now !!
Totally new Features
Additional Data – This marks our entry into the GIS Postcode Maps world.
(Our most exciting development to date !)
How about being able to split the country into zones based on the population of people living in each postcode area or district? As you’re defining the zones and selecting districts to include in your zones a running total of the population in your zone is displayed in the legend. Now think about it if you could specify the data types you want to include.. Population of Men between the ages of 25 and 50, Population of women with between 1 and 4 children, Number of households, Population of retired people, Number of business in an area.. the lists are plenty and can be used for whatever purpose you need.
What’s even better, how about being able to upload your own data to use in the production of your map! Upload a spreadsheet of sales figures, customer addresses, franchise locations, stores, potential customers, leads or anything you can think of. With this functionality you can create really attractive maps that have a lot more meaning to your company and this will enable you to see exactly what is going on in your business at a glance.
As an example: You are a franchise company looking to sell your franchisees zones of operation. Each franchisee requires an area to cover which has approximately 500,000 people living in it. You can use the system to create such a map in less than 5 minutes, save it as a hi-res pdf file and distribute this to all potential franchisees within minutes.
Upgrade Existing Maps
Your old maps can be imported into the new system seamlessly without you even knowing its happened. You can incorporate selected datasets into maps you created a year ago and start to benefit from all the new features of the system.
Marker Customisation Palette
Adding simple marker flags to a map was added in our last major release. We’ve re-vamped this part of the system allowing much more customisation. You can now place literally hundreds of Location Marker Flags on a map and customise the look of each flag. (Multiple Line Text in a Marker Flag is the next on the list!). You can set the Font Size, Font Colour, Border Colour, Pointer Length, Pointer style (Arrow, Line or None). Invert the marker or hide all markers at once. And instead of these changes affecting ALL markers you can now change each marker flag independently so you can have literally thousands of combinations of size, colour and style of marker. This feature is one of the most used features currently and we predict these improvements will go down well.
Logo and Image Upload Feature
We had a feature back in version 1 of the system where you could upload a simple image which would appear in the top left corner of a map. This worked fine for a while but it was very limited and buggy so we removed the feature in subsequent versions. Now its back and it’s been on steroids! You can upload and include any number of images on a map. You can crop and resize each image if needed. You can position each image wherever you want on the map. You could have a large company logo in the top corner of your map and then smaller versions of your logo positioned across the map to show where your stores are located.
Icon Selection and Placement
If you don’t want to use your own images you can select from a series of icons that we have prepared. You may want to use a small hotel icon or picture of a store or anything you want from our ever expanding icon library.
Multiple Circles on a Map
Placing emanating circles on a map to show delivery zones at a predefined distance was a useful feature. Well now you can have multiple sets of circles. This will be great if you want to show the delivery zones of each of your stores across a whole map.
Live Map Updates
We can update all your existing maps with new postcode information on-the-fly. If you created a map 6 months ago and certain postcode boundaries change then you can opt to have your maps updated automatically.
Receive Email Notifications of Updates
You can opt to receive a notification by email when postcode boundaries change, or general updates are available for the base maps you use. You can then login to the system and ensure you have exported an updated PDF file of your map.
A very basic feature we were reluctant to implement but the demand got too great. You can now permanently delete any of your maps from the system, helping to keep your file manager area clean and tidy.
You can now give your maps individual filenames which will show up in your file manger area. This will help you keep track of your files.
Updated File Manager Thumbnails
Thumbnails in the file manager area were previously created only once when your map was first saved. This meant if you first saved a map with nothing coloured in, your thumbnail would be a white map. Even after fully colouring a map and saving it multiple times the image would still be white. Now your map thumbnail images will stay updated along with the real appearance of your map.
Your file manager area including all your maps will have an extra layer of password security. Meaning your maps will be even more secure than they already are. HTTPS Secure Hosting of the Mapping System
Our mother site gbmaps.com has been hosted on super fast HTTPS servers for over a year now, the transition took some time however it’s now totally secure. We are moving the entire map colouring system over onto this new server to ensure the highest level of security for your customers data. We’ve not had any security issues/breaches in the 16 years we’ve been online and don’t intend to have any now which is why we’re implementing these changes.
Some serious back-end development
We are on track for having this release ready and tested by the end of September 2016. We have many more features in the pipeline we would like to include but we had to draw a line somewhere and this is it.