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Welcome to the Beacon Dodsworth blog

The aim of our blog is to inform, educate and entertain all with a geographic or demographic twist. We believe that location intelligence enhances processes, improves planning capability and ultimately enables people to work smarter in every industry.

Our blog contains practical examples of using GIS, mapping, software and data solutions in business. It's updated by different members of our team, so you can expect a different perspective on a wide range of subjects.

What is GIS mapping?

A complex spreadsheet shown next to a GIS point and isochrone map.

Geographic Information Systems, GIS mapping, data mapping, location intelligence, data viz – our industry does love its acronyms and buzzwords. They all boil down to the same basic truth: visualising complex data makes it easier to understand at a glance. Furthermore, seeing factors in a geographical context gives a greater depth of understanding for more informed decisions. We go back to basics and look at GIS mapping using real-world examples of jobs we’ve done in the past....


All you need to know about postcodes

Visualisation of the YO postcode hierarchy

We all (should) use postcodes. That handy series of letters and numbers coupled with a building name or number is all that is needed to get deliveries to our door. Unlike many other postcode systems, U.K. postcodes are easy to decode and geographically descriptive. Since their widespread introduction almost 50 years ago, postcodes have been used to get deliveries to the correct address, describe areas and localities, and as an effective way to geocode and map other data.


Mapping efficient sales territories

A sales rep superimposed on a territory map.

Whether you are in the fortunate position of expanding your sales team to meet demand, making your existing sales catchments more efficient or identifying hunting grounds for a new business; territory planning needs some serious consideration. After all, a small team with efficiently planned sales catchments is more effective than a larger team that spends all of their time on the road travelling to smaller or less valuable clients - and with a far higher profit margin!


From spreadsheet to map: how to create your first postcode point map

Database to point set map process visualisation.

So you have a spreadsheet full of postcodes that you’d like to turn into a visual data map. We’ve spent more than 25 years mapping data and creating mapping tools, so we like to think we know a little about postcode maps.


What is geodemographic profiling?

A visual composite of a the geodemographic group: Middle England. Owner Couples.

More than 67 million people live in the UK, each with their own outlook, priorities, needs, and way of life. In this rich tapestry, trying to identify the right audience for your service or product can seem impossible. The key to success is being able to identify distinct groups of people whose lifestyle and needs fit your product or service. If you are fortunate, you will have an existing database of people that you can approach, or the budget to use broadcast campaigns to get an audience to come to you. For the rest of us, an effective solution is geodemographic classification and targeting...


Can I have a postcode to postcode drive time and distance lookup table?

A map showing a subset of the links from one postcode.

With online mapping data increasingly accessible to the public, journey planning seems easier than ever. However, once you move beyond individual journeys to look at onward travel, planning for a fleet of vehicles, or a network of locations, things quickly get complicated. One question new clients often put to us is “Can we have a simple table of travel times between each postcode?” Unfortunately, this seemingly simple question comes with some significant challenges...


Data visualisation and colour blindness

A traditional red-amber-green choropleth map.

John Dodsworth is a director of Beacon Dodsworth and has worked with geographical information systems since the early 1990s. Those of us who work with him know that he is colour blind, a fact that those who have used the GIS systems and maps he has created might be surprised to hear. With the current prevalence of infographics and data maps daubed in red informing us about the risks of coronavirus, John wanted to write about his experience of colour blindness in a world of colourful data, charts and maps.


Mapping and working with healthcare geography

A wheelchair user being helped into an ambulance.

Location intelligence can make a vital difference to any kind of service provision. Nowhere is this more important than in the field of healthcare. We look at the factors unique to mapping and analysing the UK’s healthcare geography.


How can we help you?

We are happy to act as an outsourced GIS mapping team or supplement the expertise of your own team.

Why not see what we can do for you.

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