A radius map is a visual representation of geographic data that centers around a specific location. Done well, it can illustrate a selected area’s spatial extent and characteristics, allowing users to gain insights into the surroundings of a particular point on a map. For this reason, they can serve various purposes, including helping businesses determine catchment areas for retail locations, analyzing service coverage for delivery facilities or identifying potential customers within a specific range.
Sound like goals on your team’s radar? Here is how you can take your first steps to create one of your own.
Gathering Your Data
Before building your map with a map radius tool, you need good data, including geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude), addresses, location names, or any other information relevant to your analysis. Ensure that your data is complete and free from errors. Cleanse and organize it effectively to eliminate any duplicates or inaccuracies that can affect your map’s precision.
Understanding the geographic coordinates is essential when working with radius maps. Typically represented as latitude and longitude, these coordinates pinpoint specific locations on the Earth’s surface. Familiarize yourself with how these coordinates work, and ensure that your data includes these details for the central point around which you’ll create your radius.
Creating a Base Map and Defining the Central Point or Location
Next, select a mapping software or tool that suits your needs. Popular options include Maptive, Google Maps, ArcGIS, or other dedicated radius mapping tools. Open the tool of your choice and select the option to start a new project.
Then, enter the central point around which you want to create your radius. This will be either the latitude and longitude or searching for a location using its name or address.
Adding a Radius Circle to Represent the Desired Distance
Most mapping tools provide a feature to draw a radius circle around your central point. Typically, by selecting this tool and entering the chosen radius distance, the software will automatically create a circle centered on your location.
Customizing the Map with Additional Data Layers and Labels
To enhance the depth of your map, you can import additional data layers relevant to your analysis. This may include data on demographics, points of interest, or other location-specific information. Upload or link these datasets to your map.
Add Labels and Symbols
Customize your map by labeling important locations, adding symbols or icons to represent key features, and adjusting colors to distinguish different elements. This customization helps convey information more clearly and effectively.
How To Analyze Radius Map Data
After creating a radius map, it will be up to your team to try and make sense of the data in front of you. Although analysis will differ slightly depending on the tool, some key areas that you might want to drill into include looking for defining traits in a specific region, the relation between each data layer set, risks and opportunities that might be present in a set region and in some cases if you are overlooking a new market.
To do so, you may use different filters and queries to extract specific subsets of data within the defined radii. For example, you might want to see all customers within a certain distance from a store location.
It’s Time To Ditch The Excel
An Excel spreadsheet can occasionally overwhelm users with data overwhelm on initial viewing. In contrast, the beauty of radius maps lies in their ability to prevent information overload. They facilitate the discovery of patterns that might have gone unnoticed otherwise. These patterns may be unique to one region and not evident in others. The benefit? With this data, you can justify your new strategic initiative with data supporting the favorable outcome you know your team can achieve.