ArcNews Online

Summer 2010
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Latest Release of Esri Business Analyst Online

Smart Map Search—Decision Making Made Easy


  • Pinpoint the best locations in an instant with Smart Map Search.
  • New data provides insight into consumers' spending habits.
  • Custom PDF maps allow users to easily share their findings.

All organizations struggle with decisions regarding location: Where do we open the next site? Where should we target the next campaign? Where are the vulnerable populations? As a decision-making application, Esri Business Analyst Online (BAO) guides users to the best conclusions. Decisions can only be as good as the information that goes into them, and with the new Smart Map Search tool, a variety of new data, and custom PDF maps, BAO helps users be even more efficient and effective in their decision making.

Smart Map Search

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Smart Map Search displays the locations that meet all the selected criteria on one map.

Smart Map Search guides users through a three-step workflow to find the best areas based on their particular needs. Users simply select up to five of their most critical demographic, consumer, or business criteria, such as per capita income and median age. They then select the type of geography they would like Smart Map Search to highlight on the map (e.g., states, counties, ZIP Codes, or census tracts). Finally, users set the range of values they have in mind for each selected criterion (e.g., per capita income greater than $40,000 and median age greater than 35). Smart Map Search then displays all the areas on the map that meet all selected criteria. A table of the results, which can be exported to Excel, is also generated to show how each geographic area identified ranks for the individual criterion selected.

Smart Map Search makes the decision-making process much more efficient. No longer do users have to perform analysis for each criterion separately, then view the results one at a time on individual maps. With Smart Map Search, all the top criteria can be incorporated into one analysis, which can be displayed on one map, allowing users to quickly and easily identify their best locations. Using the new tool, franchisers can easily find the perfect site for their next locations, city governments can now efficiently identify their vulnerable populations, and marketing professionals can determine whom to target and how to target them for their campaigns.

New Data

The wealth of current and relevant U.S. data in BAO is vital for guiding users to the best conclusions. In addition to the 2010 and 2015 data updates, the data in BAO has been expanded to include thousands of new variables for the Market Potential, Consumer Spending, and Retail MarketPlace data categories.

The new Market Potential data measures the probable demand for a product or service. For each variable, users can map the expected number of consumers, the percentage of consumers, or an index that compares consumer behavior in an area to the national average. For instance, someone looking to open a baby boutique can find areas with a higher-than-average demand for baby furniture.

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The three-step workflow guides users to quickly and easily identify the areas that meet all their top criteria.

Consumer Spending averages and indexes are now included for several spending categories, making it possible to visually compare and rank geographic areas against one another. For example, a marketing firm trying to determine where to target a campaign for a baseball team might look at populations with higher-than-average spending on sporting events.

Measures of supply and demand and the supply/demand gap can now be mapped using the new Retail MarketPlace data. This information illustrates where consumers' needs are being met or where there might be new market opportunities. As an example, a city government may look at the leakage/surplus factor for restaurants in the area before deciding whether to allow a restaurant chain to open a restaurant in its community.

Custom PDF Maps

To make it even easier to share analysis results, BAO users can now create their own custom PDF maps. In addition to the standard site maps available, users can select any map they create in BAO, including color-coded maps for any of the thousands of data variables, Smart Map Search results, and Bing business search results, and simply click a button to create a custom PDF. The custom PDFs have the same look and feel as BAO reports, allowing them to be easily integrated with other BAO analyses.

BAO is available in the United States at different subscription levels, from one-time-only reports to premium subscription packages and specialized development services. Nonsubscribers can purchase a day pass for 24 hours to take advantage of more than 50 preformatted reports and maps.

More Information

For more information, visit

See also "Easily Add Demographic Reports and Data to ArcGIS."

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