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Example: Finding only the Three Closest Stores to each Customer

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This example demonstrates how to use MileCharter to report the route distances from each customer to the three closest stores. The input data can be found in the chicago_customers.xls spreadsheet in the MileCharter examples file:

 

http://www.milecharter.com/downloads/examples_milecharter_mpt.zip

 

It is assumed that you are familiar with basic Maptitude operations. Import the two worksheets from this workbook into Maptitude as data views. This can be performed using the Create-a-Map Wizard or File->Add on the main menu. The resulting map will look something like this:

 

chicago_map

 

The roads have been hidden, and the default symbols and colors have been changed for clarity. The customers are purple circles and the sales offices are green stars. We wish to find the three closest sales offices for each customer.

 

You can now start MileCharter from the Tools->Add-ins... menu in Maptitude. Set MileCharter as follows:

 

chicago_options

 

We want routes that start at our customers and finish at our sales offices. This will result in MileCharter reporting the closest Sales Offices for each Customer, and not the other way around. Both are identified by their PushpinName fields (the data was originally exported from MapPoint - hence the unusual field name). We also wish to see the distances and travel times for each sales office, so check Distances and Travel Times. We also want to see the shortest (rather than fastest) routes, so select Shortest Routes.

 

To find the closest stores only, check the Only report shortest/quickest routes checkbox. We want the three closest sales offices, so enter '3' in the Find the closest locations box. We also restrict the distance and travel times to 50 miles and 70 minutes, respectively. We also want to list the closest sales offices in order closest-first, so check Rank routes in ascending order.

 

Press Compute to start processing. The resulting chart of the closest sales offices will look like this:

 

closest_2

 

Notice that the customer 'David Brown' only has one sales office within the specified criteria of 50 miles and 70 minutes.

 

The 'find closest' (Only report shortest/quickest routes) option is typically a lot faster than the conventional MileCharter usage where all routes are calculated. This is because MileCharter is clever enough to only compute those routes which have a chance of meeting the constraints, and being better than those that have already been found.

 

The final example uses calculates driving distances, and estimate travel times and costs to visit a customer from various sales depots in the UK.