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How to fix issues with county names by using ANSI/ FIPS codes

The Maptitude Mapping software provides tools and data that can assist users with creating many kinds of maps using county level data in the US.  Users can create maps that locate their data within counties (point maps with size themes, e.g.), shade the county boundaries with user or included data (choropleth maps), or territory layers for franchise or sales territory mapping.

One issue that often comes up with any of these types of maps is getting user county data to correctly match the county data provided with the Maptitude Mapping software.  This is often due to misspellings or mismatches with how county names are spelled or identified.  Common errors include the various Dekalb or De Kalb counties, La Salle or Lasalle, Parishes in Louisiana and city/ counties in Virginia just to name a few.

The following information will help users to standardize their county data for more effective mapping in the Maptitude Mapping software.

County Names

To import a list of county names into Maptitude, the list must have both the county name and the state name or abbreviation.  This information can be in the same column or a separate column.  Since county names often repeat from state to state it is important to include the state name or abbreviation.

Another option is to use the county ANSI/ FIPS code to map user data.  This is a more effective method as the code is a unique numeric identifier that is easier to match and can avoid the spelling errors listed above. 

The instructions provided here are for US data only.

Adding the County FIPS Code to user data

There are some different approaches available to users to help rectify discrepancies with the names of counties.  This approach uses the tools in Maptitude to first locate the data by county and then identify those that don’t match.

To get the county names in user data to match those provided in Maptitude, the first step will be to get the list of county names from Maptitude.  This will be used as a reference to ensure that the correct name is used for mapping:

  1. From any open map, right-click on the County layer and choose New Dataview
  2. From the dataview, the “Show/ Hide fields” tool can be used to only include the county names and ANSI codes. This could also be done in Excel after the export.
  3. In the Show/Hide fields dialog, click Clear and then add the County (this is the ANSI code) and Name (which includes the state abbreviation).
  4. Choose File > Export > Table and save to an Excel file

 

Locate by County name

The tools in Maptitude can help users identify the county names that don’t match and then add the ANSI code for future use. See the video at this link for more general information about locating. (https://www.caliper.com/learning/media/creating-a-pin-map-by-locating-your-data-on-a-maptitude-map/)  

 Follow the steps below:

  1. From the Home screen choose “New map of data/table/ spreadsheet and choose the file with County names and click ok
  2. Make sure the county/ state columns are correctly matched and click next
  3. Choose the option to “Locate records in your file by County Name” and click Next.
  4. Choose to import the data being mapped and click Finish.
  5. This will create a new layer with the user’s data represented as points within the county specified.

Once this completes, a “Results” dialogue will open showing how many of the records were located.  If all the records were located, then nothing else is required.  If there are some records that are not located, then proceed to the next steps.  Click OK to close the Results dialogue and the map will open.

Fix naming errors to relocate

By following the previous steps, a new layer will have been added from the imported data. 

  1. Right-click on the layer name and choose “New Dataview” to open a dataview
  2. The dataview shows all the fields from the imported data. The Maptitude software has added three new columns:  Latitude, Longitude and Geocoding Precision.  The Geocoding Precision column indicates how each record was located.  Those records not located will have no values in these new columns and will have been added to a Selection Set called “County Not Found”
  3. Use the selection drop down to show only the records in the County Not Found selection set and review the county names for these records.
  4. The county names list created above can be used a reference to correct / match the values from user data with data in Maptitude.
  5. After the county names in the user’s data have been corrected, then the steps to Locate by County Name should be repeated until all the records locate.

Tag with ANSI Code

The next set of steps describe how to get the ANSI code from Maptitude associated with the user data.

  1. From the map with all the user data located, make sure that the new point layer is the working layer.
  2. Choose Tools > Analysis > Tag points by area and choose the following settings:
    1. Tag Points in should be “All Features”.
    2. Layer should be “County”.
    3. Using Areas in should be “All Features”.
    4. Tag with should be “County”.
    5. Click OK.
  3. This will add a new column to the dataview of the layer that includes the County ANSI code.
  4. From the opened dataview choose File > Export > Table and save to an Excel file.

This Excel file can now be used to create county boundary maps or Territories.

Create boundary maps or territories

Up on completion of the above steps, the revised county name/ ANSI data should more easily be used the Maptitude Mapping Software.

See this video for general territory creation

Creating Territories in Maptitude

See this video for locating by county or showing county boundaries with user data

Mapping County Data