There are many reasons to use a multiple address mapper. A website like Wikihow has dozens of questions on this topic. It could be to denote various locations: it could be a road trip to San Francisco, heat maps, or it could be a map for business purposes. With the rise of the digital transformation, there are many map software and digital solutions on the market.
So here’s the tricky question: How do I know which mapping tool to choose?
The answer is, of course: the right map for you. Because there are so many tools with different customization options of a map style, market types, and much, it’s essential to look at what factors and features are useful to you. We wrote this article to help you,
ahem, map that decision-making process.
Table of Contents
What are the Purpose and Need?
The first question is to ask yourself,
What kind of map do I need?,
For what purpose do I want to use a multiple address map or plotter?, Another way of saying this is,
What are the benefits? There are many possible answers to this question. To simplify, we summarized those use cases in three groups:
Personal Use Cases
- Running Errands: A simple use case would be a map to run errands in town. It could be for an individual or a family that wants to make multiples stops to destinations and find the best roads to get there.
- Road Trip: Who doesn’t like a road trip? Famous roads tips in the USA include Route 66, the Great River Road, or the Pacific Coast Highway. For each of these trips, you’ll want to plot hot spots on a map in each state, know the steps, and the distance between sights.
- Family Vacation: Similarly, you can use a map with locations for a family vacation. For instance, you’re going to Europe, and you want to know the way to visit multiple countries like Germany, Norway, and France! Often we also want a map to share each location with friends and family.
- City Trips: If you live in a rural area and you are coming to a new urban area, you’ll want a map too. In particular, you’ll want to know the various ways and directions to stores, shopping areas, or other sites.
Business Use Cases
- Delivery or Courrier: All logistics-intensive companies need advanced route planning tools. Examples are a last-mile delivery company or a service company. The number of locations on a map is very high.
- Sales Teams: Sales teams often have to cover a particular area, and receive a map for that area. They would want to know the routes to the region that they are covering. At times, there are fleets of salespeople, which would fall under fleet management.
Educational Use Cases
- High School: In high school, a few classes would need a map tool. One can think of the high school geography class, for instance. On that point, Geology.com showcases the many types of maps available.
- University: A variety of university programs and research centers also have a different need for a map visualizing and overlaying data. An example is the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) at Columbia University.
You might also want to read:
What is Route Planning?
What Map Features are Important?
The second important factor to consider is the features. Of course, depending on the use case and map needs you have, the features you will need will vary. Let’s list a few so that you can consider them.
Markers and Pins
Markers or pins are critical components of many mapping tools. The markers point to a specific location on a map. Here are a few features to consider, and we’ll use the word “marker” to signify pins as well:
- The number of markers on a map: How may markers of an address or locations can you put on a map? Is there a maximum?
- Colors of markers: Can you customize the color of the marker? Can it be specific to locations or addresses?
- Marker type: What marker type is available? Can you customize the marker type? Can you select different shapes for types of locations?
- Marker groups: Are you able to take the locations or location data and create custom marker groups on a map? Can the grouping have a specific pin map to my liking?
- Automated color markers: Can some of the addresses on a map have an automatically generated color based on data inputted?
- Marker Description: Can we add a description to each of the locations on the map?
- Toggle features: Are you able to activate a filter or toggle view the map with only specific addresses?
Add Images or Videos
Depending on the type of map, or the map style you are looking to build, you may want to add images and videos. A marker can embed images or an image of the location that you wish to highlight. You can also show locations from a road trip or a vacation. Formats here could include PDF, PNG, MP4.
A heat map is a data visualization tool that uses color to illustrate locations of specific interest on a map. Generally, a heat map uses a warm-to-cool spectrum of colors (Red to blue). This type of data overlay can be compelling, as an overlay on a map can give a lot of information. The heat map allows you to visualize and quickly assimilate lots of information. The purpose is to make informed decisions rapidly or to learn data rapidly. These types of maps, for instance, can be used to show where they are high or low crime rates for the demographer, or where there are high or low sales for the salesperson. Adding each input, location by location, into the data set will generate the map.
Sharing and Collaboration
Another feature to look for is collaboration. A few questions to consider:
- Are you working with other people on the map?
- Are multiple people inputting the addresses or locations on the map?
- Can you create an account? Is there a feature to add users, admins, or collaborators?
- Do you want real-time collaboration? In other words, two people to be able to work on the map at the same time?
- Is there a sign-up required? Or is there a link to share with contributors? Can it be password protected?
- Is the system entirely cloud-based? Or is it a software product that is installed locally (on a computer)?
- Can the map be saved for later? Can it be exported?
- Is there a feature to add subscribers? Can you create a video?
Importing and Exporting
Importing can potentially be powerful for specific users. An import feature allows us to add and edit data quickly into a map. An import feature and pull a ton of content into a map in one fell swoop. For some users, these features are paramount.
Conversely, the export feature is another powerful map feature. There are a variety of export and sharing options. Export can mean exporting individual map layers, or it can mean exporting the map itself. On that point, there are a variety of file formats that are standard for the industry, including, for example, KML. There are two main types of file formats vector formats and raster (or image) formats. See the table below of some of the standard file formats:
|KML (Keyhole Markup Language)||KML is the format that Google Earth uses. This file format uses nested element and a tag-based structure. XML is the base standard.|
|PostScript||PostScript is usually used to print or export a full map instead of just the data. This supports both vector and raster formats. Postscript is often used by Adobe, and can be read by most printers.|
|PDF (Portable Document Format)||PDF files are very common and popular because they can be used across platforms. They are often used for web documents. They allow for a variety of features including embedded fonts, annotation, labeling and much more.|
|SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)||An SVG uses the XML language. This file format allows to zoom- in on an image and not lose resolution. Other advantages of this file is that they are smaller than conventional image files like GIF, PDF, and JPEG.|
|JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)||JPEG is a common image format. These files are compressed images and has the advantage of being smaller (and easier to share to others). The downside is that you can lose some elements during compression or some parts of a map can get blurred.|
|TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)||TIFF files are a great choice for GIS rastering notably because of it’s useful image compression schemes.. The issue with the TIFF is that they can’t be viewed in a web browser.|
|GIF (Graphic Interchange Format)||GIF files are extremely common on the web, although they are no longer the ideal choice. They can’t contain more than 256 colors. The upside is this makes them relatively smaller than other formats. The GIF is well-suited for sharp edged images and images with few color gradations.|
What are the Key User Experience Elements?
The next set of questions pertains to user experience. Many factors influence user experience; we’re going to Peter Morville’s User Experience Honeycomb found here.
- Useful: Is the mapping tool valuable to you? Does it fulfill your needs (see above)? Does it include relevant details to you like latitude and longitude? Can I use it on a tablet? Is the map visualization useful?
- Intuitive / Usable: Is it easy to use? Some mapping tools are cumbersome, complicated. Is this tool easy-to-learn? Can anyone learn to use it? Or do you need to be an expert with a map tool? Does it have zoom, drag anywhere features? Can you copy and paste it easily? Can each user easily add a location or address on the map?
- Desirable / Design: Is there a design aesthetic? Is the tool pleasantly designed? Does it “spark joy”?
- Findable: Are you able to find content or tools easily? Is the navigation simple and straightforward? Is there a filtering process?
- Accessible: Is the content available to people with disabilities? Is everything, including the button, simple and easy to use? Is there assistance if needed? (note: even if you don’t have a disability, good design means the software is accessible to all)
- Credible: Do users believe and trust this product?
We’ll add another one:
- Flexible: Is the tool flexible, or is it rigid? Can it adapt to the type of map that you need? Are you able to change the map style? Or is it limiting?
Are there Privacy and Security Concerns?
In this section, we’ll talk about Privacy and Security
Internet privacy is a topic that is becoming increasingly relevant. There are mounting concerns and issues around the sharing of data, and how companies use this information. Most companies will use the information to offer you a service and assist users. An example is Google Maps, where they capture and store all your information and data from all their multiple engines.
Some experts such as Steve Rambam, says that because of the open nature of the internet, that privacy no longer exists, speaking,
“Privacy is dead – get over it”.
[Steve Rambam from Wikipedia]
There are others such as security expert Bruce Schneier who says that: “Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.”
We advise users to think about their situation. A few questions :
- Is my information sensitive? Or a secret?
- Do I want this information to be potentially shared with others on the internet?
- Do I need to keep the information private? Or is it okay if a company owns it?
- Do I want some of this information to be personally identifiable? Do I want this information to be linked to me?
- Is there client information that I wish not to disclose?
- What is the likelihood of any issues arising should this data fall into others’ hands?
Some software, for instance, the Enterprise-level version of Google Earth, allows you to import data files and secure databases.
Related to privacy is security. Security is the idea that a malicious attack or a hacker can risk accessing you or your software. Security pertains to the tool or the software’s ability to protect against those potential risks. One guideline is always to look at the history and to ensure that the device you are using doesn’t have severe flaws in their security.
What Countries and Languages are Supported?
An important consideration is to ask yourself, “What countries and languages are supported?”
A lot of software is designed and built in the United States. Therefore it can serve English speaking countries like the United States, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Canada. For other countries, they will want to explore location, language, and country options. For instance, in China, many tools are location-based for the Chinese people. These tools may be more appropriate. The same is right about Russia (with Yandex, among others). So if you are living in South Korea, Japan, or another European country, it’s advised to check the language, location, and country settings to see if they do include languages like Spanish, French, Italian, Danish, Portuguese, Polish, Arabic, or Japanese.
Another consideration is the map or map style. Do they also support multi-language functionalities? Can the addresses or locations be inputted in another language? What “location information” can I add to each address? What information does the website contain?
Finally, can the address be inputted according to the country specifications? In the United States, there are zip codes. In other countries, there are different address systems. Can these addresses be inputted using their systems and their languages? And will the map reflect that?
What are the Costs?
Finally, as always, one must address the price of the map software or tool. Some tools are free, such as Google Maps, Batchgeo, or MapQuest. However, these free tools may not have the functionalities that you want. Potential missing features could include methods to add multiple addresses, import, or export features. Also, if you have more significant route planning or fleet management, then a free software program may not be suitable.
Here are some useful questions to guide the thinking on costs:
- What do I need to do? And how important is it that I can do it?
- Do I afford a budget for the map tool?
- Can I afford not to have it? What will be the cost – or consequences – if I don’t use a map tool to plot locations and addresses?
- For paid services, is there a free trial I can check?
There are several ways to map a list of addresses. The first step is to open the application. From there, you can select a location on the map, or you can input it into the address search bar. Some apps allow you to import addresses as well.
The short answer is, “it depends.” The longer answer is that you can route multiple locations on Google Maps using either the website or a mobile device. The best way to add these locations will depend on what you have on hand or with which device you are the most comfortable.
In conclusion, we’ve built this site to be a knowledge-sharing platform to help users get answers to their questions to create a map complete with every location and address they desire. There is a lot of information on map making out there, and we want to be able to help you sort that information and make informed decisions. One suggestion would be to use a spreadsheet to compare the different tools and see which one suits you best. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to support you, and if anything is missing, please contact us to let us know!