Tag: Business Analyst Desktop

9.3.1 – Assign Store Logos

by Kyle Watson

ArcGIS Business Analyst 9.3.1 for the desktop is set to release around the 2009 User Conference timeframe.  Traditionally the mid-year release is our data update (read up on product cycles here).  We do plan to include the 2009-2014 data in 9.3.1, but are also adding a fair amount of new functionality. 

One of those new features is the ability to easily assign a logo to a store layer.  Of course, this can be done now in ArcGIS by creating a Picture Marker symbol using BMP and EMF formatted images. In Business Analyst 9.3.1 we have streamlined the process and added JPEG, GIF, PNG, and TIFF formats.  You can assign the logos during the StoreSetup/geocoding process, or if you’ve already created store layers, you can add the logos from the Store Setup/manage dialog.  Pretty cool?  We think so.

We have ideas, maybe in the 9.4 era, to add functionality for automatically assigning logos to business listings by NAICS or SIC codes.  So let’s say you’ve added all coffee shops in Seattle, a coffee cup logo would display on the map at each location…without having to bury yourself in picture properties dialogs.  If you are showing multiple industries at once, this could be a huge time saver.  Pretty cool as well?  We hope so.  Add your thoughts to the comments section, we’d love to hear them!

Stay classy,


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Service Pack 2 (ArcGIS Business Analyst Desktop) Almost Ready…

  by Kyle Watson

A quick update from Redlands…

Service Pack 2 for ArcGIS Business Analyst 9.3 Desktop is in the final certification stage.  This should be released in the next couple days and will close out our 9.3 work.  More details to follow shortly, check back soon. 

I assure you my service pack skillz are better than my MS Paint skillz.


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Getting to know…the Summarize Points Report

  by Kyle Watson

ArcGIS Business Analyst for the desktop comes with a plethora of valuable tools, sometimes we hear, “wow, I had no idea that did that…cool!”.  Here’s a great one that maybe you haven’t used:  the Summarize Points Report.

Here’s what is does: It allows you to (1) quickly total up the number of locations (often businesses, customers, or competitors, etc.) within a given area and then (2) summarize site specific values for your trade area or any other polygon layer such as sales volume, total employees, or number of transactions. The tool summarizes points within a polygon; for example, you can use this tool to:

  • Calculate how many customers are within a 5-mile radius of your franchise PLUS how much they’ve purchased at your store.
  • Determine how many ATM locations are within a group of census tracts PLUS the total dollar amount withdrawn within each of the tracts.

Here is a simple graphic explanation:

In this example the Summarize Points Report totals up four points (ATM locations) in a polygon (census tract) and also totals up any volumetric field in the ATM database ($100 worth of individual transactions).  The output options are a thematic map layer and corresponding presentation-ready report.

Many of these individual functions are available in ArcGIS now (ex: Spatial Join, Summarize Statistics, etc.) but the Summarize Points Report in Business Analyst bundles it in one simple workflow.  Try it now at:  Business Analyst menu > Run reports > Point and ranking based reports > Summarize Points Report.

Keep it real,


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Business Partner Conference/Developer Summit notes

by Kyle Watson

Good showing at the BPC/Dev Summit thus far (is there ever a cloud in Palm Springs???).  Our product team was huddled around the Commercial Island, demo’ing away and talking to partners.  Many well attended tech workshops and demo theater presentations as well.

We always enjoy speaking to partners and users, and appreciate the attendance.  Here are some familiar faces I had the pleasure of chatting with:

  • Wayne Kocina of GeoWise in Boulder, CO:  Rapped about the BAO 9.3 beta and some good enhancements (like accessing BAO from BA Desktop without logging in).
  • Anne Desmarais of the Univ of Redlands in Redlands, CA:  They want to deploy BA Server for analysis through the Inland Empire.
  • Michael Stokes of Navigate Pty Ltd in Sydney, Australia:  Always good talking with Michael, he’s always letting us know what he’s been up to and never seems to miss the BPC.

I leave you with a random shot of the Commercial Island…some interested parties checking out the offerings.

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I Want You…to vote for new tools

 by Kyle Watson 

The ArcGIS Business Analyst team creates new software tools and functionality by monitoring industry trends and listening to the needs of our user base.  So here’s a new tool concept we’d like to run by you and ask – would you use it?

Feature name:  Buffer Drive Time Trade Areas

Feature concept:  Create a Drive Time Trade Area not from one starting point, but from a polygon…and remove the interior polygon.


Real world application:  Two scenarios come to mind here. 

  1. Commercial Development – Let’s say you are targeting a commercial redevelopment area for new shops and restaurants, maybe an old airport or brownfield.  You’ve drawn a trade area around the airport edges to analyze the demographics, but what good does that do you when there is no data within the old airport area?  With the Buffer Drive Time tool you can create a trade area around the airport in all directions to determine how much area you cover within a specified distance.  Since the original polygon (airport) is removed, that area is not factoring into your analysis.
  2. Franchise Development – Let’s say you are in the quick service restaurant industry and you are looking to add a new franchise.  To avoid market saturation your company criteria states that any new franchise can be no closer than 15 minutes drive time from an existing franchise trade area – not the franchise, but the trade area around the franchise.  You can then analyze competitors, etc. ONLY around your existing trade area, not within it.

Can this be done now in ArcGIS?:  Well, yes it can…but it’s not one step.  You’d need to use a combination of Network Analyst, GP Tools such as the ArcInfo Erase tool, etc.  Time is money, and we are always interested in useful tools which save you time.

So let’s vote:  Would you use a feature like this?  Add your take to the comments field and feel free to email me. Any other tools you’d want to see in the product?  Lemme know.

 All The Best,


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David Letterman's Top Tens (Business Analyst edition)

  by Kyle Watson

Conan O’Brien is coming to LA soon, but it was David Letterman who paved his way in New York.  Letterman, famous for his nightly “Top Ten” lists inspired me to apply the concept in ArcGIS Business Analyst.

I can use the Market Ranking Report in Business Analyst to quickly rank areas.  The output is a nice report and map layer to show a quick snapshot of high or low ranking areas, regions, trade areas, etc.  Could be the top 1,000 most populated counties in the U.S.  Or your top 50 fastest growing trade areas by sales.  

For Dave’s sake let’s show a few examples of Top Tens below.

Top Ten projected 2013 median household income for ZIP Codes in Colorado:


 Top Ten largest counties (square miles) west of the Mississippi:


Top Ten television and radio markets (DMAs) with highest concentrations of people aged 25-29 years old.



So there’s a few random examples.  Hope this sparks some interest on how to apply this concept to your business.  If not, we’ll have Dave consider some Business Analyst-inspired Stupid Pet Tricks skits.  So tune in next week…

Stay classy,


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Beefed up tools in ArcGIS Business Analyst

 by Kyle Watson

Same great tools, more functionality.  We’ve beefed up some existing ArcGIS Business Analyst tools with additional feature – at the request of users like you.

Here’s what we did in Business Analyst 9.3…

Mean Store Center analysis – added ability to find multiple potential site locations based on high concentration of customers.  Why is this relevant?  Here’s a scenario:  You are a bank looking to add ATMs based on your customer residences. The multiple mean store center tool is perfect for analyzing where those ATMs should go.  In 9.2, only one mean store center could be located at a time.  Learn more here.

Threshold Trade Areas – added ability to determine a capacity by drive time.  Why is this relevant?  Here’s a scenario:  You know your franchises need a minimum of 150,000 people living within 10 minutes – not 10 miles – but 10 minutes.  In 9.2 you could determine a threshold area by ring only which may not accurately reflect the landscape, in 9.3 we’ve added a more real-world approach with drive times.  Learn more here.


Here’s a further breakdown, where your humble blogger breaks out the smelly markers…

So if  you have an “I like this Business Analyst feature, but want it to also _____” wish list…I want to hear about them.

Stay classy,



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The ArcGIS Business Analyst Product Cycle

  by Kyle Watson

How does the ArcGIS Business Analyst product cycle work?  Well, let’s review…

(1) We’re dependent on core ArcGIS.  When core ArcGIS is complete (e.g. once 9.3.1 is shipping), we start finalizing our stuff on top of it (e.g. Business Analyst 9.3.1 is now coming to your doorstep!).

(2) Business Analyst ships two releases yearly, we don’t tie them together (made customers mad as one always held up the other)…

  • Software Update…these are for the folks that want all the new Business Analyst functionality and tools that work with their new version of ArcGIS.
  • Data Update…these are for the folks who want the updated data and demographics.

(3) Then we release service packs and patches throughout the year to fix all the little things in between major releases.  Just download ‘em or or install them automatically.  Some are basic maintenance fixes, some are client driven issues.  So if you need stuff fixed to do your job…tell us about it!

So to recap.  (1) has to happen first, then (2) gets built, followed by (3)..until (1) starts the cycle all over again…



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ArcGIS Business Analyst 9.3 Report tools 4 U

 by Kyle Watson

We’ve added a couple new report related features to ArcGIS Business Analyst 9.3 to speed up your workflows. 

Those being:

(1) Create a map book

Think if you had 50 franchise locations and needed a map of each…in an hour…how would you do this?  At 9.3 we’ve added the ability to quickly create a series of maps.  If you have multiple trade areas, you can instantly create a map of each of them (instead of zooming and panning to each trade area, zoom, pan, export, save – zoom, pan, export, save, etc. – this is BORING and TAKES TIME).  The end result is a PDF book of report style pages or individual images.  Learn more here.

(2) Produce your favorite report directly from the Project Explorer

Instead of having to open the Business Analyst menu and drill down to the Reports dialogs (again…BORING and TAKES TIME), you can simply produce a demographic report with one right-click.  With the Project Explorer open, just right-click on a trade area and select Create Report.  That’s it. Your favorite demographic report is instantly created all the while bypassing the Business Analyst menu.  Learn more here.

Still thirsty for more?  Then watch your humble blogger explain these in more detail here:

Stay classy,


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Business Analyst Custom Tool Sample – Batch Reports and Email PDF Output

 by Garry Burgess

I had a request over the New Year’s holiday to create a custom tool to batch create reports for a trade area layer. The idea behind this custom tool is to create an individual report for each feature in a trade area layer. For example, an analyst creates a separate demographic trade area report for each of their N number of stores. The reports would then be sent out to each store so that the management team could get a demographic snapshot of the households around their stores.

Because each report needed to be sent out to a manager after it was created, I thought it would be very useful to integrate email with the custom tool.  In this example, I use Python to connect to Outlook-based MAPI email to mail each report to an email address included in the trade area layer. This is a really good illustration of how ArcGIS Business Analyst tools can be used to improve productivity using Python scripts. I tested this with a sample of 50 stores and was able to generate and email reports to 50 email addresses in a few minutes.

You can download the Python script and custom Geoprocessing tool here:

Follow the instructions in the readme.txt file and you will have a brand new fancy-schmancy tool that looks like this:

Check out the BatchTradeAreaRpt.py script to see how Business Analyst Geoprocessing tools can be scripted with Python.

This is my first Business Analyst Blog entry. I will continue to add samples like these that illustrate how you can get the most out of Business Analyst. Let me know if you find this sample useful and I would greatly welcome any ideas for other samples in the future.

Cheers – Garry

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