The placement of store locations and business data works hand-in-hand with jQueryMaps web-based mapping solutions. While information lists and reports serve certain business needs, the limitations become apparent when the volume of data is extensive and complex.
In these scenarios it is advantageous to separate the data by geographic area and offer users a system of filters to display a specific set of information that matches the user’s criteria. One example that comes to mind is the challenge that national banks face to accurately convey the location of their sites and the different services offered within. The first approach would be to link jQueryMaps to the end-client’s database or an XML output of their data. Each location would be assigned a category and represented with a different marker on the map. This offers users a quick glance assessment of what types of locations can be found in certain areas. More extensive information is organized in a pop-up box which is easily configured to include all of the important field data from the database. In many cases this includes listing the bank location’s full address, business hours, contact phone information and a list of the banking services that are available to clients. Depending on whether the project is for internal use or external, more specific details regarding business activities can also be included.
Where jQueryMaps really becomes interesting is when combined with a system of advanced filters. This allows a user to easily reduce the search results to meet specific criteria. Depending on the nature of the project, banks may want to include days of the week and business hours to easily confirm which backs are open during certain timeframes or offer extended hours. Perhaps clients are seeking a specific service, such as residential mortgage advice or investment assistance, and would like to seek out branches that have staff available to help. The options for filters and criteria by which to select data are limitless and any project can be customized for the exact needs of the client.
Normally markers are displayed at lower levels of the map for projects tat contain large amounts of information, however a useful tool is to color code areas based on the density of information. For the example above, a State which has a larger number of bank facilities would be displayed in a darker color than adjacent areas with a smaller number. The actual markers can then be plotted on the cartography once a State has been selected, or for projects that also include Counties, within the secondary County divisions. Each marker can be assigned a text label that is either static and always visible, or for a cleaner look, dynamically called when users hovers-over the icon. For locations that share the same city, a convenient tool is the addition of multiPOIs that are automatically assigned a different icon and list all of the available locations once selected.
Many locator maps are also developed to include a set of results tables that interact with the levels of the cartography. This is a great way to keep some of the tabular data visible, while still giving users a clean and organized view using the map. Most initial maps load with just cartography, but the results table list all of the locations once any area has been clicked. The results can be organized alphabetically by town, or by order of importance to the user. When a user clicks on a second division-level, such as US County, the map refreshes and displays all of the location results below the map for just the selected area. This is a particularly useful tool for instances where there is uncertainty that the user will immediately recognize the location of the bank’s town on the map.
As we can see jQueryMaps offers the perfect web-based solutions for businesses interested in organizing and displaying store location information in a useful and accessible manor to users.