Alex Arifuzzaman teaches several analytics courses at the MBA Marketing Department in the Schulich School of Business and at the Ryerson University Marketing and Geography Departments. The Geography department provides student access to several common GIS platforms. The Marketing Departments do not. Maptitude has graciously provided the full version of Maptitude to these students (~300 per year) at no charge.
There were two key issues which Maptitude has solved. It allows for first-time GIS users to create advanced GIS maps with minimal upfront instruction. The key benefit is that all of the census data and maps are built in by default. Students have access to a rich set of data and correctly formatted maps at all levels of geography right out of the box. It is my experience with other systems that getting to this point requires extensive time and training.
In addition, Maptitude provides for automated calculations of buffers and trade areas for a set of locations with maps and their corresponding demographic summaries. With this feature, students can calculate drive time, voronoi or buffer trade areas with rich demographic summaries in a matter of minutes. They can then focus on the "so what" and analyse the features of the trade areas in order to gain valuable insights and develop predictive models.
A feature that is unique to Maptitude, and particularly useful, is the "Drive Time Influence Areas" mapping. This feature is similar to Voronoi trade areas ("Straight Line Influence Areas") but it uses drive times instead of straight line distances to determine the boundaries for each location. This calculation is orders of magnitude more complex than Voronoi calculations and I have not seen this capability for multiple locations in any other GIS.
The trade areas that it generates have been shown to be much more reflective of the real world as it takes into account physical barriers and the road network. By having students do this type of analysis, their models have been demonstrated to be reflective of true trading patterns when compared with real world data. It is very useful for understanding the dynamics of a competitive network.
Another feature which Maptitude is great at is draping live raster maps in the background with the "Map – Imagery" feature. It allows for cloud based raster map to be in the background of any set of vector or point layers. This feature allows Google maps to be enhanced with any set of vector and point layers in a matter of minutes. The integration with open street maps allows for the same for anywhere in the world. It also has high resolution satellite images (Google, USGS or Virtual Earth) which can be used in the same manner, without the need of importing or orthorectification. Much, much faster and global coverage! We have used this data to develop income by household maps which are simple to generate and have national coverage with the data Maptitude provides right out of the box.
Overall, Maptitude's simplicity allows for non-GIS students to use a GIS to perform complex analyses with only a brief (1-2 hour) training period. They will then produce maps of similar or better quality to those produced by students with weeks of training. It is for that reason that I strongly recommend Maptitude for both Geography and Non-Geography university students alike.
Caliper Corporation develops state-of-the-art Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and transportation software. Caliper is a privately-held corporation and is a leading developer of mapping, redistricting, transportation, and GIS software. Caliper is also a highly regarded consulting and R&D provider, offering professional services in quantitative management consulting, transportation, and decision support systems development. Caliper software products are supported with extensive technical services in GIS applications and training, database development, and software customization.
The Schulich School of Business is the business school of York University in Canada. Global, innovative and diverse, the Schulich School of Business is rated among the world’s leading business schools, being the top-ranked business school in Canada by The Economist, Forbes, CNN Expansion & Corporate Knights.
Maptitude includes numerous tools for creating trade areas. Simple ring analysis tools allow you to determine the population within any chosen distance of a location. In addition, drive-time analysis tools allow you to determine the population within any chosen drive time of a location. Trade area tools also allow for different levels of detail, with Maptitude supporting both Voronoi and drive-time catchment areas around any number of origin locations.
With its focus on usability, Maptitude is an ideal solution for post-secondary education. The software includes a comprehensive help system that includes many tutorials that allow students to put GIS concepts to use in a matter of minutes.