Author: Brady Anderson

Mapline’s Mock Election Platform Helps Students Cast Their Ballots


At Mapline, we’ve collaborated with New Jersey teachers and schools to help students vote in elections and experience the democratic process. Our interactive mapping software for schools makes it easy for teachers to register their students’ participation and analyze the results once all votes have been counted. For most students, the New Jersey mock election is the first opportunity they’ll have to cast a vote.

What Is a Student Mock Election Map?

The New Jersey mock election began in 2016 when teachers wanted a way to help students experience democracy firsthand. This year, students in grades 4–12 from each congressional district cast 25,000 votes in five categories, including:

  • House of Representatives
  • Senate
  • Do you vote by party loyalty or by the issues?
  • Should the President and Congress be from the same party?
  • Would the nation benefit from the rise of a strong third party?

What Is Different This Year?

Beginning in 2018, New Jersey educators can now submit student votes online using Mapline’s redesigned, digital platform. To sign up, teachers simply register their school with a name and email address. Then, Mapline generates unique codes for each student to use when they cast their ballot. Codes signify a student’s grade and school, but do not collect personally identifying information.

This new method is streamlined, and it gives teachers and students the ability to submit votes right from the classroom, instead of handing ballots off to a district supervisor for bulk submission. Alternately, printable ballots are available for schools that don’t use Chromebooks or wish to tally paper ballot totals and submit the totals online.

Building Maps in School and Analyzing the Results

Once all votes have been cast, Mapline generates maps showing which candidate or issue received the most votes. Mapline tallies results by congressional district and by grade. Students from all 12 New Jersey congressional districts voted with 24,468 students casting votes. Approximately 12,533 students were from grades 4–8 while 11,935 students participated from grades 9–12.

A total of 63 maps are available as PDF downloads showing the results from the 2018 New Jersey mock election, including raw numbers and easy-to-read percentages. Mapline’s territory heat map overlays provide color-coded maps by candidate, issue, grade level, and location that give educators and students the opportunity to analyze and discuss voting patterns in their home state. Critical thinking questions and lesson plan activities are available online for educators to pair with election results.

Learning Civic Responsibility

Mapline stands out from other mock election platforms for its granularity and realistic, inclusive experience. With this year’s revamped platform, Mapline has the power and scale to engage thousands of students in New Jersey elections and help educators promote the importance of civic duty.

To learn more about mock elections, check out the official New Jersey mock election website. Explore how you can use mapping software to make a difference in academia from mock elections to higher education.

YourNews Leverages Mapping Software to Publish Nationwide Local News Online

Daily news platform YourNews brings local news online to audiences across the United States. By partnering with network affiliates and advertisers, the company serves a nationwide audience by Zip Code. The website—an aggregate of city, county, state, regional and international news stories—aims to provide accessible local news to as many readers as possible amid declining print newspaper readership.

To achieve his goal, Sam Anthony, CEO and president of YourNews, needed to find affiliates to help serve news, as well as advertisers to promote it. When a colleague recommended he try a geographic network map, Anthony questioned the idea. Did he need to plot points on a map? How would creating a network map pay off for his business in the end?

A map, his colleague insisted, could improve communication with clients, optimize sales presentations, and simplify Excel spreadsheet data. Anthony found his colleague’s argument persuasive, and he soon realized he needed a visual representation of his data.

Anthony turned to Mapline for a solution he admits he wasn’t aware he needed. However, after trying the mapping software, he discovered it was not only easy to learn and navigate—it transformed how he approached his business and met his goals.

Plotting Points on a Map Visualizes Affiliate Networks

As a Mapline customer, Anthony can easily map his markets to gain a better understanding of opportunities, territories, competition, and more. According to the entrepreneur, conversations with potential affiliates kickoff with a look into his markets. Both affiliates and advertisers can see all Anthony’s current markets represented by plot points on the map, called pins. As YourNews grows, it’s important that Anthony’s clients are accurately and clearly represented in their geographic locations—and thanks to pins, they are.

Color Coding Reveals Competitive Opportunities

As an organization with nationwide coverage, Anthony finds value in Mapline’s boundary mapping tool. For him, this feature gives a high-level snapshot of his geographic territories by state, county, Zip Code, and more. Boundary mapping offers clear visibility into larger geographic patterns and trends, which can help streamline internal processes like insights, analysis and performance reporting.

By creating a geographic network map, Anthony has been able to find the support he needs to funnel much-needed local content to eager online readers. To learn more about how Mapline’s online mapping solutions transformed YourNews from the ground up, explore the full case study.

3 Benefits of Route Planning Software

Planning routes by hand has never been an easy task. Whether your priority is managing a successful sales team or scheduling a large fleet, manual planning can lead to route inaccuracies. And inaccuracies mean unhappy customers, decreased lead generation, and costly delivery blunders.

The solution? Powerful automated route planning not only creates efficient routes in just minutes but also helps identify your best opportunities for growth. Check out three ways route planning software leads to business success.

Route Planning Leads to Increased Sales

Your sales reps’ wish list likely includes faster routes and shorter drive times. With route planning, simply draw a custom shape around a sales territory. Then, the mapping application creates a personalized route with pins, based on start and end points. Route planning software allows sales reps to visualize their daily schedule on a map, decrease drive time, and ultimately add more appointments to their calendar. And when your reps have more time to spend in their territory, they sell faster and smarter.

Delivery Mapping Helps Drivers Plan Efficiently

In addition to serving sales teams, route planning can transform your company’s fleet management and scheduling. Route planning helps prevent delivery delays by routing drivers around congested roads, bridges, and high-traffic areas where tight turns are difficult.

Route planning can also shorten delivery drive time by identifying the routes with the shortest mileage. This means you save on fuel consumption, one of the biggest expenses in transporting goods. Visualizing and mapping your fleet routes can be essential to improving your drivers’ delivery efficiencies—and reducing their stress.

Supply Chain Route Mapping Cuts Transportation Costs

Maps and analyses build better supply chains by streamlining deliveries, improving customer satisfaction, and cutting costs. When supply chains use route planning to inform transportation strategies, they can easily analyze, visualize, and share data at every touchpoint. Managers get increased visibility into planned and completed routes, while strategists can use route mapping software to optimize shipping routes for normal and ad-hoc planning cycles, helping to drive cost savings on the road and throughout the supply chain.

The right route planning software can help you breathe easy with increased efficiency, improved communications and accountability, and growth opportunities for your whole team. From planning a simplified route in minutes, to preventing driver frustration and saving on fuels costs — route planning offers a wide array of benefits.

Learn more about route planning software and how you can leverage it for your own business.

How 3PL Companies Use Geospatial Data

In today’s global society, one product may travel by rail, ship, plane and truck to reach its destination. While globalization creates a more connected world, it also introduces complexities to supply chains. Supply chain managers must orchestrate multiple facilities, and they are responsible for countless interactions and dependencies. As a result, many rely on third party logistics companies for warehousing, monitoring, tracking, and tracing.

Most 3PL providers use GPS and GIS systems for a real-time look into monitoring and managing supply chain deliveries. So, how does this impact operations for decision-makers? Here are a few ways 3PL companies leverage geographic insights through GIS logistics.

GIS: A Modern Tool for Modern Problems

For most supply chains and 3PL providers, geographic data is a tool that underlies all strategic decisions. At its core, a GIS tool is designed to store geographic data for further analysis, reporting, graphing and insight. It supplies a convenient way to manage spatial information visually—and uncover patterns or trends within data. Third party logistics companies use advanced GIS systems to achieve several goals for their supply chain clients, including:

  • Assisting with fleet management
  • Improving transportation communication
  • Tracking vehicle locations
  • Monitoring vehicle performance (e.g. condition of tires, fuel level)
  • Checking routes for driver safety
  • Monitoring inventory levels and shipping times
  • Optimizing on-hand supply levels

Companies that choose to ignore location-based data, or don’t use a 3PL who employs real-time GIS logistics, are risking big consequences. Inventory may go to waste, arrive late or not at all. Weather may cause delays, and without essential monitoring and tracking in place, supervisors can’t swiftly advise drivers on alternate routes. Without GIS logistics driving location-based analyses and decisions, 3PLs struggle to plan schedules and forecast costs.

Skillsets for Successful GIS Execution

It’s true—the right GIS technology helps 3PL professionals analyze the impact of location, weather and natural disasters near distribution hubs, departure and arrival times, and much more. However, efficient use of a geospatial data system requires in-depth knowledge in a variety of areas. To ensure your 3PL business is making the most of your current system or is well-equipped to adopt a new GIS mapping software, it’s important to assess employee readiness.

Third party logistics employees can be trained in key fields to make the best use of a GIS system, such as:

  • Computer programming
  • Cartography
  • Visual design
  • System administration
  • Database management

By using a GIS system to its full potential, decision-makers can manage large datasets and achieve a holistic view that can improve activity and production across nearly every point in the supply chain. Are you interested in GIS mapping for your business?

Learn more about GIS mapping and spatial analysis for supply chain management now.

The Importance of Adopting GIS for Education

Businesses worldwide recognize the usefulness of geography. Geography has applications in many professions, such as business, marketing, criminal justice, public administration and social work. Increasingly, companies want employees with experience in GIS technology. Job candidates can stand out by learning GIS concepts and obtaining valuable geographic skills in college alongside core classes like math and English.

However, sometimes students and faculty members in business school, for example, feel too removed from geography and may misunderstand the value science can have when applied to business concepts. Professors who welcome spatial science into their curricula acknowledge the powerful way geography supports decision-making in the business world—and they impart critical, experiential opportunities on their students.

What Is GIS Used for in College?

With GIS, students learn to be strategic and connect spatial strategies to business principles. Creating maps that show audience demographics, practicing research and analysis, and delving into business information and spatial logistics—these are all essential GIS elements that, when applied in the higher education classroom and carried into a career, help students become strong decision-makers, analyzers, entrepreneurs and leaders.

To support students who want to lay the groundwork for a business career, professors interested in adding GIS technology to their syllabi have endless opportunities for instruction. GIS application in education can start with analyzing demographics, plotting pins and segmenting data. As students advance, instructors can use GIS as a tool for classroom projects that require students to work with a local business on marketing strategies informed by geographic trends—or, perhaps students learn to use GIS to schedule delivery routes for a nearby retail store.

College students can take these classroom experiences beyond graduation and into job interviews and entry-level positions. Similarly, professors in the school of business or technology ultimately build bridges and break down siloed academic verticals for a more integrated, creative and science-based approach to education.

GIS in Education, Planning Curricula and Beyond

In academic institutions, mapping geographic information represents interdisciplinary collaboration. Geography brings together different degree programs and ideas, and it helps student synthesize and present information visually. These invaluable skills can be carefully integrated into the higher education classroom to encourage collaboration and help students learn how to wield geography for a liberal arts degree—and a brighter, more fulfilling career path.

Learn more about GIS mapping and spatial analysis for academics and higher education.

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