Point set mapping

Using postcodes and other location references to plot points on a map for geographical analysis.

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What is a point set map?

A point set map is a way of illustrating fixed points on a map. These points could be stores, customers, sales reps, supplier depots, competitor locations, employee locations, anything really. Presenting your data in this way lets you see a range of geographical data at-a-glance and allows for quick reference and data interrogation. When used as part of a multi-layer geographical analysis, a point set map, is often complemented by one or more heat map layers to show these points in context.

Most often a point set map will use postcode geography to define where points sit on a map, but if you want to use another location reference, our solutions support all of the most commonly used location identifiers, including:

  • Full UK postcodes
  • Ordnance Survey National Grid reference or coordinates
  • Latitude and longitude data
  • A central point calculated from incomplete postcodes, postcode sectors or postcode areas
  • Centralised points calculated from administrative geography

In theory any number of points can be displayed – our MapVision system can display up to 50,000 – but in practice, too many points will clutter a map, defeating the purpose of displaying data. With large numbers of points, it might be better to create a choropleth, or heat map instead, which can map common attributes over a certain area.

Applications of point set mapping

If you are working with a branch network or sales team, point set maps can offer a range of uses and benefits:

  • A network map on the wall of your head or sales office
  • Use tailored icons to show your network in the context of other meaningful places such as:
    • Competitor branches
    • Distributors
    • Your highest value clients
  • Combine your point data with other mapping tools
    • Use sector maps to show sales territories or delivery catchments
    • Add isochrones (travel time or distance) circles around each point to demonstrate the best location to allocate a lead to
    • A heat or isochrone map of customer densities, values or demographic groups to help with network reviews

Point set mapping as part of multi-layer data analysis

As the applications above suggest, point set maps work very well alongside other types of mapping and data display.

Alongside other point-set data:

Point sets can be colour coded or use custom icons in our software, so multiple datasets can be displayed side by side. For example, if you wanted your stores and those of your competitors shown on the same map.


Right: A postcode point set map showing the competitive environment in an area to help plan a new store location.

Different points of interest shown on one map using different icons.

Cycle stores mapped as a postcode point set onto a heat map showing customer hot spots.

Overlaid onto heat maps:

Trends and bulk data are best displayed as a heat or choropleth map which works incredibly well contrasted against a point set map showing your sites, agents or distribution hubs. This data could be average customer spend in an area, demographic groups, housing density, weather trends, or anything that helps to position your chosen sites in context.


Left: Cycle store locations shown as points, overlaid onto a heat map showing percentage of cycle commuters in that postcode sector.

As the centre-points of isochrone or radius maps:

Our solutions allow you to use the points in your data as the centre point for travel time or distance visuals. This can be as simple as an abstract set of fixed radii or circles illustrating a crow-fly distance from each point. Alternatively, you could map more practical data such as real-world travel distance or travel time from each point using the existing road network. This second option is rarely as pretty as a simple circle but is far more accurate when planning a reasonable delivery radius or catchment from each point and is very valuable when reviewing or rationalising your network.


Right: Sales rep home address postcodes mapped onto an isochrone map of drive distances to help allocate new clients to the most suitable agent.

Agent postcodes mapped on a travel time isochrone map.

How to make a postcode point set map

This is easy to do in our MapVision product, which is web based and currently available for a free 7 day, no obligation trial. To start go to: https://mapvision.co.uk/

  • Click on the “Import” button at the top of the screen and then either use the browse button to find the spreadsheet containing your point data, or drag it onto the menu from windows explorer. Then click “Upload”.
  • Select “Point set” as the map “Type”, how you want to define your points in the “Geocode type” drop-down, and which column in your data holds that information, then click “Import”.
  • Then just click “Add to map” and MapVision will do the work for you. If it is a local point set, to focus the map on it, just tick the “Extent” box next to your point set name.
  • Now the fun part,
    • Tailor how the points look and your colour scheme using the style tools
    • Add in some more map layers if you want to display with your point set using “Import” or take it from your existing data “Library”
    • Add radii around your points by either right clicking on a point and selecting “Add circle”, or using the “Drive” menu.

Once you are happy with your project you can either print it at up to A3 size or share it instantly with other users who only need an internet browser to see it. This project is now available to view or edit in your library whenever you need it.

Read more about MapVision here…

 

 

Other point set mapping solutions

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Prospex desktop GIS

If you need to work with large amounts of data, such as national point sets and sectors, or need additional territory management and scheduling functionality, you might want to consider our Prospex desktop geographic information system.

Find out more about Prospex…

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Consultancy Services

If you are after something truly bespoke, large format, integrated into your own systems, or would rather have the work done for you, then please get in touch to find out more about our fixed-cost consultancy.

Enquire about our consultancy services…