Tag: Business Analyst Desktop

Calling all Business Analyst users – we want your feedback!

 By Lucy Guerra

Esri has launched the Ideas Site to collect information from you, our users, about what you like about Esri products, what you don’t like, what’s giving you trouble, and what you think will solve the problem. Simply click here to go to the Business Analyst section of the Ideas site where you can:

So please… share your ideas, share with friends, and share this link!

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A Brief Overview of Cartography – The First Article in a Series on Cartographic Design and Optimization Methods for the Business Analyst Products

by David Palomino

The following is a brief introduction to cartographic concepts, many of which you may be familiar with. The purpose of this first article in a series on cartography is to bring these concepts to the forefront for those who have a very limited exposure to GIS and cartographic methods.

One of the main roles I play at ESRI is that I am the guy who gets to update, design, and optimize the Business Analyst MXD each year. Not only does this add value to the BA Products, but it’s really fun to do. Because I don’t want to keep all of the fun to myself, I am setting out to write a short series on Cartographic Design and Optimization Methods, and to show how this adds to the overall quality of our Business Analyst Products. The first entry in this series covers a brief introduction to Cartography.

Cartography is Art
Cartography is an art. This is apparent, as there are many colors or shades, hues, and line thicknesses just as there are these elements in many paintings. As is the case with art, cartography also has psychological and social aspects to it. Depending on your level of involvement and experience with GIS, interactive cartography is also exploratory. You may be asking: How is cartography “social”? What is meant by “exploratory” cartography? Let’s dive in and take a look.

We view colors, shades, and hues not just to identify colors and shades, but to see meaning and interpret our world. For example, if you’re viewing a lake from the air, you may notice that some parts of it are light-blue, while other sections are dark-blue. You would perceive that the lighter areas are relatively shallow while the darker waters are deep.

Figure 1 illustrates this point. Most people will view the circle on the right as “popping out”, the left circle as somewhat neutral, and the black circle as a “hole” in the backdrop. Also, it’s common to perceive the red circle as slightly bigger (if the object is closer, it must be bigger too), when, in fact, all of the circles are the same size.

Figure 1

Our brains also interpret certain colors to represent natural features. For example, blue lines or blue polygons are easily interpreted as bodies of water; whereas a gray line may be interpreted as a road.

There are social constructs to cartography as well with the use of color. A Red-Yellow-Green color scheme often is used to depict high density, such as Population Density, with red being the high density spot. Because red is considered a warm or “hot” color, we use the term “hot spot” or “heat maps” to communicate locations for optimal sites to put new stores, locations of endangered species sightings, or areas of low and high crimes rates. However, when it came to monetary type demographic data, such as Median Household Income, Median Home Value, etc. the Red-Yellow-Green color scheme would not do. Since the color of money in the United States is green, I changed the color scheme to White-Green, with the darker green areas being the most affluent.

Figure 2 shows the Median Household Income for the Long Beach/Palos Verdes area of California, with some parts of Long Beach being very poor while Palos Verdes and the beach communities of southern Santa Monica Bay being affluent.

Figure 2

With GIS, cartography is getting ever increasingly exploratory. In years past, static maps were read like books – all of the information was there in front of you to see. The beauty of GIS is that information is “there” in front of you, while simultaneously there is potentially an endless amount of information that can be mined, discovered, manipulated, and used. Thus, the exploratory nature of GIS renders maps as portals of information, rather than static “what you see is what you get” maps. With our Business Analyst products, you can discover relationships between Educational Attainment and Median Household Income levels and how this affects Consumer Spending patterns. You can use historical data to run trend analyses, as well as run predictive analyses with “what if” scenarios (e.g. “What if we closed Store A and opened a store at another site?”). Indeed, the amount of information and discovery at your fingertips (all information that helps you to make better business decisions) is enormous!

Please stay tuned for the next in this series as we look at cartographic optimization methods that were implemented for Business Analyst 9.3.1 and why 9.3.1’s performance was several times faster than 9.2. Thanks.


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Tips & Tricks – Exporting and Importing Business Analyst Projects

by Kyle Watson

Hi there,

Today I wanted chat a bit about Projects in Business Analyst Desktop and how to export and import them.  First off, Projects are a way to automatically save and organize all the work you create in Business Analyst.  Everything from Stores to Customers to Trade Areas are saved to Projects in a standard directory structure.  The great thing about this is, we make it easy to backup and share them through our Export and Import functions.  You can then send a zipped Project to a colleague so they can see your work – and add to it.  Or you can just backup your Projects to an archive for safe keeping.

So let’s walk through a typical scenario:  You are working on a demo for a potential client.  You are setting up all the work, but need to get it to the Sales folks doing the presentation.  You have Business Analyst Desktop, they have Business Analyst Desktop…so just export your Project and email it to them.

To Export a Project, open the Project Explorer (icon is on the Business Analyst toolbar) and right-click the Active Project.  Select Export/Backup Project.

A dialog appears showing you all the contents of the Project.  You can check off any files you don’t intend to send (for ex:  you may have some temp files that aren’t applicable to a demo).  The Export process creates a zip file for you.


When you are ready to import the Project, just open the Project Explorer window again and right-click the Active Project.  Select Import Project. The dialog here is full of “smart” options in case you already have a Project with the same name.  You can override it, rename it, or merge any new files into it.  That’s pretty cool!

So once you’ve successfully imported the Project, it is automatically added to your My Output Data directory.  The contents and settings will be exactly the same as the machine it came from.

Another Tip:  You don’t HAVE to use the Import utility.  In Windows Explorer you can add a Project to Business Analyst by manually copying the main Project folder to your My Output DataProjects folder.  Open ArcMap and the Project will be in there.  You can also do this with individual files like Trade Areas and Reports, etc.  Just copy them into their corresponding folders from Project to Project.


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New Icons – Business Analyst 10 to get Face Lift

  by Kyle Watson

Hi there,

In ArcGIS 10 you will see a big change in the appearance throughout the product.  New, modern icons are plugged in to refresh the existing versions.

For example, here’s how some standard toolbars look like in 9.3.1 vs. 10…


We are also taking on this task in Business Analyst 10 Desktop.  Every single tool now has a distinct icon, this will allow you to open the tools directly…no need to find a tool buried in a wizard (you can think of it like using apps on any smart phone).

Here’s a live look into the Esri Graphics Lab as they are creating each individual symbol…

And here’s some finished icons in the new Favorites section…

Check back in for more Business Analyst 10 Desktop happenings…


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Business Analyst workflow videos

by Jeff Hincy

The Business Analyst suite of products offer a vast variety of tools and reports that allow you dig deep into your current business model and better understand the potential of your business.  Since Business Analyst is designed to appeal to large audience of clients sometimes the sheer number of tools and how they interconnect can be intimidating to some users.  In order to help you better understand what our products can do for you we are going to be producing a series of videos targeting specific workflows.  These workflows are just examples of some standard approaches that have been utilized with our products.

The data and names in the videos are all fictional and do not represent any real life businesses.  Each of these workflows can be easily modified to fit your needs.

The first video is called Determine My Store(s) Trade Area.   This video examines a single approach on how to analyze a stores potential by examining various trade areas.  This analysis shows how with only store location data an analyst can quickly and easily determine the viability of a store.   

The second video is called Determine the Lifestyles of My Customer.  This video shows how to use Business Analyst to learn more about customers even when a customer list is not available. See how this fictitious hardware store learns what items to promote and how to promote them.

You can access these videos from the ArcGIS Resource Center and be sure to check back as we intend on adding new videos on topics such as Determine my Best and Worst Performing Store and Determine Market Penetration.  These workflows are designed to be used with the current version of Business Analyst desktop and we will be updating them later this year when the newest version of Business Analyst is released.

Enjoy and I hope they become a valuable resource for you.


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Service Pack Available for Address Coder 9.3.1 & Segmentation Module 9.3.1

 by Lucy Guerra

Service Pack 1 for Address Coder 9.3.1 has just released. This service pack is recommended for Address Coder 9.3.1 users and Segmentation Module 9.3.1 users.

Click the links below to go to the Esri Support Site to see more info and download the service pack.

Address Coder 9.3.1 (stand-alone) users, click here

Segmentation Module 9.3.1 users, click here

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Are there more tattoo shops than Starbucks in LA?

by Kyle Watson

Someone made this bold declaration last week on our way to get some coffee “I heard there are more tattoo shops than Starbucks here.”  Yeah right, pal.

…the answer is no way, not even close!  There are actually 346 tattoo parlors to 874 Starbucks locations.   

When I heard that I knew this was a job for ESRI Business Analyst desktop.  Here I’ll show you how you can use Business Analyst to analyze your nearby competitors AND how we are improving the experience in Business Analyst 10.  ***yes ArcGIS 9.4 is now called 10, and Business Analyst will follow up with a version 10.

First off let’s take a look at the LA area brewing in Starbucks and tattoo shops.  I established my market by hastily sketching all around the greater Los Angeles area using the Draw Area trade area feature.  As you can see its jagged and doesn’t follow any county or city borders – but hey that’s the idea of “custom.”  I then used the Add Business Listings feature to import my business locations.  This feature is optimized to query the more than 11 million business points bundled with Business Analyst.

Here’s a look at how you would accomplish this in Business Analyst 9.3.1.  You can select businesses by name or industry classifications and define the area (be it a ZIP Code, state, or any boundary – such as 3 miles around all your franchises).


But there were problems with this, namely being able to “see what you’re gonna get” BEFORE you clicked finish to add the permanent results to the map.  For example if you searched for “Target” you might get back “Target Stores” and “Target Pharmacy” and “Super Target” and “Target Practice.”  There was no opportunity to refine the search capabilities.

Well now there will be.

In Business Analyst 10 we are building the capability to search by keywords and quickly see all the possibilities in list view.  From there you can filter and remove the ones you don’t want.  It’s kind of like our Bing Business Search.  For example:  Zoom to Southern California and type “tattoo shops.”  All related tattoo businesses appear in a list view, you can then refine your search.  Don’t want those Huntington Beach tat shops?  Check ‘em off.  Prefer larger shops of more that 5 employees?  Click that filter.  Perfect!  That just how I want it – now let’s export to geodatabase.

So you ask, can I still use the standard old school Add Business Listings and well, why would I even want to?  The answer is yes.  The “Classic View” is still available and will be used for more defined, intricate searches.  It also allows you to use save previous search settings for quick query loading.  So there’s still real value there.

We hope you’ll dig the new business search capabilities coming your way.



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Business Analyst 10 – What's coming…

  by Kyle Watson

In recent weeks you may have seen that the next version of ESRI’s core desktop software “ArcGIS 9.4″ is now beefed up to “ArcGIS 10.”  There are many significant additions and efficiencies in “10″ and I’d like to share we also plan a Business Analyst 10 release.

Here is a quick look at some of the new features we plan on including in BA10:

  • Workflow based toolbars:  Business Analyst and Territory Design toolbars will get facelifts, making them less “tools” based and more focused on solving business problems from start to finish.
  • Business Analyst Window:  This will be a dockable location for all of the common Business Analyst features.  You’ll be able to easily add favorite commands (almost like adding iPhone apps).
  • Revised custom data creation wizard:  We’re making it easier to bring in your own custom data and make BDS layers.
  • Color-Coded Maps:  A new way to easily access data and create thematic maps.
  • Enhanced business search:  A new way to search and filter for competitors to export exactly what you want.
  • Enhanced reports:  New reports and better styled ones too.  Plus we’re adding a way to hit data hosted as a service and include them in reports…so you don’t have to wait for new datasets shipping to you on DVDs.

So check back in regularly for further details on ESRI Business Analyst 10.


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Add map services to Business Analyst desktop – with ease

by Kyle Watson

Hey there,

Did you know that you can quickly and easily add online basemap services to ESRI Business Analyst desktop?  Well, you can do this in ArcGIS by itself, but we provide an extra little feature to make it that much easier. 

You can use the Maps menu on the Business Analyst toolbar to add more map services (or any old layer file) to quickly toggle them on or off.  It’s great for demos and creating better maps.  Yes – we bundle a boatload of vector basemap data with the product – but we’ve seen that many of our users love the flexibility of adding any layer they want for display – instantly.

So let’s walk through how you can do this…

(1) Use the Maps menu to select “More from ArcGIS Online…”  This will kick you out to the “AGOL” webpage.  We add the existing three map services for you by default (imagery, shaded relief, street map).

(2) Select your map layer for download (so you are saving a layer locally that hits a server for streaming).  Did you know you can download the Bing layers?  They are pretty slick.  Search here for all kinds of layers and services.


(3) Move the downloaded map layer to your My Output DataArcGIS Online Maps directory.  This special folder allows Business Analyst to read the layers from the toolbar.


(4) Your new map services and layers are added to the Maps menu for toggling on and off (it can be any old layer that you want to access quickly – for example your franchise locations).


The ArcGIS Online map services are cached locally to make panning and zooming faster.  The cache is built here: C:Documents and Settings<billybob.j.user>Local SettingsTempesrimapcache

Check out ArcGIS Online’s own blog.  Here’s a great entry by Jim Mason about how to create a seamless maps with multiple map services – which I didn’t even know you could do until I read this.

Happy downloading!


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Business Analyst Desktop 9.3.1 Service Pack 1 Released

 by Jeff Hincy

In our continual effort to improve our clients’ experience with Business Analyst, last Friday we released the first service pack for Business Analyst Desktop 9.3.1 with 2009 data.  This service pack contains fixes for everyone from client driven fixes, to a series of report fixes, and even an MSP style install.

Included in the service were the following improvements:

  • MSP Style install allowing users to download an MSP from our Support Center or run it directly from the Update Utility in Business Analyst
  • Approximately 179 bug fixes
  • 19 client driven driven fixes
  • Includes 2 previous hot fixes
  • 53 report based fixes
  • Bugs fixed for three international distributors with a follow up international specific service pack for localization coming soon.

If its been awhile since you have used our built in update utility let me refresh your memory.  Close down all ArcGIS desktop applications and from the Start Menu select All Programs -> ArcGIS -> Business Analyst -> Check for Business Analyst Updates.

This will launch the Business Analyst Update utility and simply click the Check button.

The Business Analyst Update utility will check to see if you have latest service pack installed.  If it detects that you do not have the latest service pack it will alert you that an update is available for download.  Then just click the Download button and the service pack will be downloaded and it will automatically start the installation process for the service pack.  Just follow the on screen instructions to complete the installation.

To verify that this service pack has been installed launch Business Analyst and from the Business Analyst menu select Preferences and then select the General tab and the current version of Business Analyst will be displayed at the bottom of this dialog.  It will read Build#

You can visit our support site for a complete list of all the fixes.  Additionally, if you are having troubles installing the service pack from the Business Analyst Update utility you can download the MSP directly from our support site to run the service pack locally.

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