US state map using extended colors

We encourage you to read this blog post fully, as there is a link to a free US State Map at the end!

ZeeMaps has more than doubled the colors available to users with an Enterprise Plan. It means you can group markers into 75 different colors instead of just 32. This comes in handy when you are coloring a US state map, or other maps with multiple regions. The six palettes contain shades from teal to princess perfume, sunglow to cyber grape.

You can view the different color palettes in the tabs at the top of this page. All ZeeMaps users have access to the Classic palette. Only users who have signed up for the Enterprise plan have access to the next five palettes (Red; Yellow-Orange; Green; Blue; and Violet).

Color your US state map with extended color palettes
Color your US state map with extended color palettes

Use the extended palette on your US state map

To use the extended palette, you must set it up for each map. How? Go to Map > Settings and select the ‘Markers Display’ tab. Set the option for ‘Use Extended 75 Colors’ and hit ‘Save Changes.’ This will enable you to see the extended colors on that particular map.

For additions, go to Additions > Add Marker (Simple) or Add Marker (Detailed). Whether you select Simple or Detailed, both will show the color options based on the map settings. With extended colors, you’ll be able to chose from among 75 colors.

Upload a spreadsheet with multiple colors

To upload a spreadsheet with multiple colors, set a column for ‘Color’ or ‘Category’ on your spreadsheet. If you use ‘Color’, choose the color names listed on this page. If you set a column for ‘Category’, you can specify different values in the rows and ZeeMaps will assign a different color to each different value –  starting with the shade that you select for ‘Default Color.’ Once you have finished your spreadsheet, go to Additions > Add (Upload) Multiple Markers.

As an illustration, we will use the following spreadsheet to create a multi-colored US state map:

Spreadsheet for US State Map
Spreadsheet for US state map

US State Map with 50 Colors

Based on a well known mathematical four color theorem, you need only four different colors for coloring a map, in order that no two adjacent regions have the same color. Although it is technically feasible to limit ourselves to four colors, that is not necessarily appealing  – especially if different shades are used to indicate variations in some indicator, e.g., population density. Here’s an interactive map that we created with 50 colors for US states.

You can use the ZeeMaps Print or Share capability to get an image of your map. In the Print or Share menu, select the option for PDF/PNG Image. In the resulting dialog, use the setting ‘US Map’ for Geography and make sure it is a ‘Simple’ US map and not a ‘Colored’ one.

US State Map
US state map with extended colors

We are giving away a high-resolution poster-sized image of this US state map, so if you like what you see you can download it here for free. This image was created with ZeeMaps, by setting the size of the image to poster and resolution to 300 DPI.

We hope you enjoy using your more colorful ZeeMaps!

 

 

Counties: Map with Name or FIPS code

ZeeMaps provides easy mechanisms to highlight various geographies (e.g., countries, states, cities, zip codes) and geometries (polygons, circles) on a map. These highlighted areas or “regions” are helpful in marking out territories or service areas. One of the areas that is specially useful to highlight is US Counties, a first level administrative sub-division in the United States after the state. County boundaries can be useful to analyze customer or sales data.

ZeeMaps allows you to highlight counties in two ways:

  1. You can highlight a county one at a time, using the Additions -> Highlight Regions -> Counties on your map, and
  2. Upload a list of counties contained in an Excel spreadsheet or CSV file, using the Additions -> Add (Upload) Multiple markers menu item on your map.

The second option is helpful if you have hundreds or thousands of counties to highlight. This blog post reports on a new development for the second option of highlighting counties.

Improving the user experience

We are always looking for ways to improve the user experience – whether we are implementing changes we think would be useful or responding to feedback from our users. We are constantly working to improve existing user functions and to add new ones. That’s why we’ve been busy making US counties easier to work with.

One of the improvements has made highlighting US counties through spreadsheet upload far easier. Users can use a county name or FIPS code instead of specifying an address.

Highlight the top 10 and lowest populated Counties in the US

Previously, users had to specify an address or location to highlight a county. Let’s use our office in Cupertino, CA, Santa Clara, as an example. Earlier, we’d need a column for ‘City’ and ‘State’, or Zip Code in our spreadsheet, to identify a location within the county. So, even if you knew the county name, in this case Santa Clara, it was not usable. You had to figure out a location within the county and use that as input to identify the Santa Clara county, instead of giving its name. Now it’s possible to:

  • have a column called ‘County’ and specify ‘Santa Clara’, or
  • use ‘06085’ – the FIPS code for Santa Clara county

In the rest of this post, we’ll use the following map as an example. The purple colored counties are the ten most populated counties in the US, and the orange ones are the least. You can click on a highlighted county to get the population for that county and its name.

Formatting your spreadsheet

The following table shows the spreadsheet that we used to create this map. It contains five columns: County, State, Color, Population, and County Name. Here’s a bit more about them:

  1. County: we use this column to identify the county to be highlighted.
  2. State: we use this column to disambiguate counties with the same name. If you are using just FIPS codes, or if your county names are unique, then this may not be necessary.
  3. Color: we use this column for the color of the highlighted area. ZeeMaps supports up to 32 different colors for most users, and up to 75 colors for our Enterprise users. A complete list of supported colors can be found on our Colors page.
  4. Population: The last two columns will be used as information to be shown when a user clicks on one of the highlighted county regions. Since this spreadsheet is for the ten most and ten least populated counties in the US, we show the population count from a 2017 estimate.
  5. County Name: we use this column so that some of the counties that have the FIPS code can be easily identified by a regular user who may or may not be aware of FIPS codes.
Counties spreadsheet
Counties spreadsheet

You’ll see that the ‘County’ column (A) mixes county names and FIPS codes. To show the county name in the information bubble, there is a ‘County Name’ column (E) as well.

Uploading your spreadsheet

To upload your spreadsheet, open your map and select Additions > Add (Upload) Multiple Markers. In the dialog box that follows, select the ‘US Counties’ option for Upload As.

Counties spreadsheet upload - step 1
Counties spreadsheet upload – step 1

Then, submit your spreadsheet. ZeeMaps will read your spreadsheet and make an initial pass at understanding which column to use for what information, based on the column names that you specified in the spreadsheet. Double-check the column assignments in the confirmation step and make any changes as necessary. In the following image, we have highlighted some of the assignments that needed adjustments for this spreadsheet:

Counties spreadsheet upload - step 2
Counties spreadsheet upload – step 2

If you have any suggestions for improvements to ZeeMaps, please get in touch.

Spatial Data Aggregation

Use highlighted regions and data uploads in ZeeMaps to conduct quick spatial data aggregation. For example, you can analyze data for the different territories you have marked on your map.

Spatial Regions Highlighting

You can highlight areas on your map by zip codes, counties, cities, states or geometrical areas like circles and rectangles. An area of interest will often comprise of several smaller areas. For example, a sales territory map might divide the country into several regions, each containing multiple states.

The fastest way to highlight large number of US zip code areas or counties on your map is by uploading a spreadsheet with address and color information. This is far quicker than highlighting regions on your map one at a time. This blog post explains how to do that. When you upload a spreadsheet to highlight zip codes or counties, your spreadsheet can contain additional columns of data that will be taken as “fields” for that zip code or county.

For other areas like US States, or countries, you’ll need to highlight the areas using the Additions -> Highlight Regions menu on your map, and then upload your data using the Additions -> Add (Upload) Multiple markers, separately.

Spatial Analysis

Now that you have different territories marked on your map, you can access the spatial aggregate data feature.

As an example, we are using the map of Las Vegas zip codes divided into five colored regions. Each highlighted zip code has population fields that describe populations in 2011 and 2012, and the median income. The map is shown below. Click on any of the highlighted zip code to see the details for that zip code.

When visiting the map on the ZeeMaps site, we select ‘View’ and ‘Aggregate data by region’ from your map menu.

Spatial Data Aggregate Map Menu

Spatial Data Aggregate Map Menu

In the resulting dialog, choose your field values and whether you’d like to see results presented as sum, average or count.

Spatial Aggregate of Marker Field Data
Edit Marker Field Data

Hit ‘Submit’ to see your aggregate data results that will give you the sum of populations for 2011 and 2012, and the average of the median income in each of the five colored regions that we have defined on the map.

Spatial Aggregation Data Results

Aggregated data results

This example shows the 2011 and 2012 population and median household incomes for zip codes in Las Vegas, NV. ZeeMaps allows you to define your own marker fields, so you can perform this spatial analysis on any of your fields.

At present, you can only spatially aggregate marker data by highlighted colours. In the future, we will be extending this so you can also aggregate data by geographical areas, e.g., get spatial analysis by countries, states, and so forth.

If you’d like to try out the aggregate data by regions feature, you can use this sample map – the zip codes in Las Vegas, NV that we’ve been using as an example in this post. Let us know what you think.

Group Highlighted Regions by Color

ZeeMaps allows you to highlight geographical areas, e.g., zip codes, counties, cities, states, or geometrical areas like circles, rectangles on your map. You can use such highlighted areas to mark out sales territories, or show service areas on a map. Often, your “region” will comprise of several smaller “geographical” areas. For example, a pizza delivery service might consist of an area composed of several zip codes. Or, a sales territory map might divide the country into several regions comprising of several states each.

Group Highlighted Regions

We’ve added a capability to “group” highlighted areas by color. Use the View > Group Regions menu to combine the borders of your highlighted areas. Once you do this, boundaries will be removed from all contiguous highlighted areas of the same color.

 

combine highlighted regions
Menu item to combine regions

While the highlighted areas are grouped, you cannot add or make changes to existing areas. To do that, un-group the areas, make the changes, and then group the areas again.

Grouping and un-grouping of regions requires an active Enterprise plan subscription.

For example, here’s a map that has several US Zip Codes highlighted grouped together. Following it is a the same map without the grouped highlighted regions.

Interactive Map with several highlighted zip codes grouped together by color

Interactive Map with highlighted zip codes and other areas