Mapping data is cool. It is also a very useful tool. And it used to be hard. You had to convert your table of data into longitute and latitude coordinates, you needed specialized GIS (Geographic Information System) software (http://www.esri.com/what-is-gis).
But what if it was even easier than that? Enter Easy Map Maker easymapmaker.com.
With Easy Map Maker, all you need to do is create a spreadsheet and paste it. Well, to get a good map, you need to do a little more but it takes about five minutes.
A spreadsheet of your data. Microsoft Excel, LibreOffice, GoogleDocs or Comma Delimited Text. BUT, it needs to be set up correctly. The Address (123 Main Street); City (Pleasantville); State (Ohio); and ZIP Code (90210) go in separate columns. There are Excel tools that will break a single column up into multiple columns but it better to do it right the first time.
You also need the data to go with the addresses. For this example, tip amount is the only other data. But, you could also use this for other information. Coupon used? Order size? whatever.
Go to Easy Map Maker easymapmaker.com.
It will say: "Click here to paste your data." First click and clear the sample data and then paste the data from you spreadsheet. Make sure to get the column headings.
Click on Set Options. Set the options. My demo map uses the settings as shown below.
The white box on the right will change and show you how your data will look with the map pins. I used tips in the Group setting to color code dollar amounts. Generate your map. I have used Easy Map Maker with several hundred data points. That map took about 15 minutes to process. This 24 point map, about 15 seconds.
Look at your map. Is it what you want? Yes? Good. No? Tweek some more.
When you are happy with your map, save it. DO NOT MAKE YOUR MAP PUBLIC if it contains customer data. You can get fired for that. This map was made with hypithetical data, not actual customer data.
The live map for this demo is available at: http://www.easymapmaker.com/map/735df777aa9393849fc898d80d770191. It will be visible until December 1, 2015.