More is more: data, legends and maps!

For a while now, you have been able to use our mapBuilder tool to create color-coded maps using ZIP Codes, counties and points. We love all the creative ways our users have leveraged mapBuilder! And we also knew we could make some things more flexible for you to map more of your data in the ways that you want.

More data columns

It used to be that you could only map one data column from your Google sheet: ZIP Code, a data column and a color. Or County, State, a data column and a color. Or latitude, longitude, a data column and a color. With this latest version of mapBuilder, now you can show multiple data columns on your maps. Here’s how: When you create your Google Sheet, the data column will be the one that gets shown in your map legend, and now you can add additional columns with more information, including clickable website links. Here is just one example of what your sheet can look like:

So here is the map based on the spreadsheet above:

Nice, but it may not be very meaningful since it’s all green! So, let’s rearrange our spreadsheet to color by speciality instead:

Cool, now the map conveys a little bit more information with the colors!

OK, wait, so what exactly is the data column? Look inside mapBuilder’s “Create custom areas from ZIP Codes or Counties” module or “Add custom points and lines to the map” module. You’ll find easy step by step instructions. But here is a summary of what we mean by data column:

What about my other data columns? When you build your map and click on one of the areas or points, you will see the “more” button next to the data column information shown in the blue panel above the map. Hovering over this “more” button reveals your additional data columns, including a working hyperlink (url) to any website addresses you have in your sheet:

use the more button to see additional data columns

More legend options

The key to an effective map, if you’ll excuse the pun, is an effective legend. We recognized that one size (or placement) does not fit all. Maybe your legend was so large, the default location blocked part of the map. Or maybe the font size was too big or too small. We’ve added a few new features that give you control over where your legend is placed, its height and width, the font size, or even if you want a legend at all. When you move your mouse over the legend, you will see four symbols:

  • The “resize” symbol in the upper left hand corner of the map legend lets you resize the map horizontally and vertically, larger and smaller, by clicking and dragging that corner. You can even automatically change the legend from one column to multiple columns by making the legend wider but shorter!
  • The “move” symbol in the top middle lets you move the legend to anywhere within the map window
  • The “Aa” font button in the bottom middle lets you resize the fonts by clicking through a number of font sizes
  • And the “X” button in the upper right…well, I think you know what a close button does! When you close the legend, you will see a small white box in the lower right corner of the map that you can click in order to restore the legend. (If you don’t want a legend to appear at all in your mapBuilder map, choose “Hide map legend” in the “Set map title & display options” module.)

Here is an example where the legend has been moved and resized:

More map

And here’s a bonus for reading all the way to the end! Did you notice how some of the screenshots above had a cleaner map window without all of the buttons? Well you too can do that! Just click the “print” button in the upper right corner of the map and you will be taken into print and screenshot mode, where you will be able to enjoy a larger (almost fullscreen!) de-cluttered map window without all of the buttons, and you can still manipulate the map legend as described above before taking your screenshot!

Happy mapping!

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