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Create Mileage Charts with Maptitude®

MileCharter Walkthrough for Caliper® Maptitude® Beginners

This walkthrough shows you how to create your first mileage table using MileCharter for Maptitude. It is aimed at people who are new to Caliper Maptitude. Before using MileCharter, it is recommended that you spend some time experimenting with Maptitude and working through the tutorials provided by Caliper and reading our own articles.

There is a screenshot of Maptitude for each step of the walkthrough. Click on the small thumbnail to open a new window with a full size version of the screenshot.

The following example uses Maptitude's USA Country Pack and the TXLA.xls spreadsheet from MileCharter for Maptitude Examples File. Other country packs will work in the same manner, but you will need to substitute different input data. The TXLA.xls input data will produce a mileage chart between locations (Texas cities) that are listed in the input data.

Select the required input worksheet

Start Caliper Maptitude with the Input Data

Start Maptitude, and you will be presented with the Quick Start menu. This menu includes a number of common operations such create a new map, load an existing map, or choose new base data from the Map Librarian. Select Map your own data and press OK. You will be presented with a standard Windows file selection dialog box. Select your input data — TXLA.xls in this example, and open it.

Maptitude will now let you choose the required worksheet in the input data. Select Texas Cities.

Review that the mapping fields are correct

Maptitude will now start the Create-a-Map wizard and display a list of the input data fields that can be used to locate your data (see right). In this example, we have Longitude, Latitude, City, and State. Maptitude has correctly identified that all of these fields can be used to locate data. You may change one of the assignments by clicking on the field cell under Your Fields, and selecting the correct input field.

Press Next to move to the next stage of the wizard.

Select the location method

Maptitude will now let you choose the precise location method. In many cases, it is possible to use the mapping fields in different ways to locate the data. For example, the mapping fields in this input data can be used to locate by City, State; or by Latitude, Longitude. The latter is usually more accurate, so we will choose Locate records in your file by coordinates. Note that there is an explanation in the lower left. Also, in the case of coordinates, the Coordinates... button can be used to select a coordinate transformation. The coordinates are already in the geographic WGS84 system, so we do not need to define a coordinate transformation.

Press Next to move to the next stage. Maptitude will then ask you to select an ID field. Maptitude data tables (layers, views, etc) are based on relational databases, so every data row must have a unique identifier value. If you already have one, you can use this. In this case we do not, so let this option default to No - let Maptitude create one for me. Press Next to continue.

Setting the data layer's theme

In the next step, Maptitude asks you to select the theme options for the new data layer. For data point layers such as this, Maptitude can use a data field to specify the data symbol colors or sizes. Pie charts are also available. These theme options are useful to plot attributes such as sales, market share, etc. The text in the lower left describes the different theme options.

We do not have any data fields suitable for plotting like this, so select None. We can display labels for the data points, so set the Display Labels checkbox and select PushpinName (the name field in this input data) for the labels.

Note: MileCharter ignores the theme settings. Therefore it will work just as well with a dataset displayed using a complex pie chart theme, as with one displayed using a simple symbol theme.

Press Next to move to the next stage, analysis selection. The Maptitude Create-a-Map wizard can also perform various types of analysis on the new data layer. We do not need any further analysis, so select None and press Next, followed by Finish.

The new map

The Map

When you press Finish, Maptitude will load the data and give a summary of the imported data. For this example, it should report 21 records examined and located.

The displayed map (see right) should display a blue star for each of the imported locations. Note that the input data has two records for Plano. They both have slightly different locations.

The map also includes the USA Country Pack data layers. Both the imported data layer (My Data (Texas Citie - note it is truncated) and the Maptitude layers are listed in the Display Manager on the left. Most of the layers are automatically hidden for clarity. Layers can be hidden or displayed by clicking on the red crosses or green checks. The map can be made clearer if you click on the Highway/Freeway green check to hide the highways layer.

MileCharter for Maptitude at start up

Starting MileCharter

Start MileCharter by selecting it off the Tools->Add-Ins menu.

Set the options to match the image on the right. Select the start and end locations to be My Data (Texas Citie — your imported data layer. The output table will be between points (Texas cities) in this dataset. Set the name fields to [My Data (Texas Citie].PushpinName. This field will be used in the output table to identify the locations.

Check Distances and Times to calculate these attributes. Also set Find: Fastest Routes. As the start and end locations are the same, the resulting table will be 'square' with all routes duplicated in the reverse direction. We remove these duplicates by setting Duplicates to Calculate Lower Left Only. Set the Output to Excel to produce an Excel workbook. Locations are typically easier to read if they are in alphabetical order. Do this by setting Sort Names.

Make sure the Only report the shortest/quickest routes checkbox is cleared. The shortest/quickest functionality can be used to limit the output to only the closest destinations. For example, you can perform queries along the lines of "find the 3 closest sales offices to each of my customers that are also within 30 minutes drive time".

After everything has been set, press the Compute button to start processing.

The final distance results in Microsoft Excel

The Calculated Mileage Chart

Processing will typical take a few minutes to complete.

Here is the resulting mileage table. The Distance worksheet is displayed, but the route times are also listed on the Time worksheet. Distances are reported using the current Maptitude distance unit — miles in this example. Note that Plano was duplicated in the input data, resulting in a duplicate row and column.

Congratulations! You have created your first mileage chart with MileCharter for Maptitude!

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