Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mapping Consumer Spend

Identifying locations with the greatest potential for your product or service is a challenge for any business regardless of the scale of operations.

Conducting large scale customer research can be time consuming, not to mention costly, and buying expert reports may not necessarily provide the level of detail required to identify specific locations to focus your sales efforts on.

However, there is a quick and inexpensive way to evaluate market potential and to locate the most promising places for business expansion using information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and some clever tools. Surprisingly, these tools can yield very accurate results with very little effort.

As a demonstration, let’s consider a supplier of haircare products who intends to tap into the Sydney market. Using Mapdeck’s Thematic Mapper application it only takes a few mouse clicks to create a map with all the essential information for analysis:

[Household expenditure on haircare products by postcode]

The map clearly demonstrates that locations around Parramatta, Blacktown or Liverpool offer much bigger potential for haircare products than Sydney city and Eastern Suburbs (i.e. high concentration of dark red polygons indicating higher consumer spend).

With a few additional mouse clicks, it is easy to determine the estimated value of total haircare product sales in these 3 locations - for example, by defining a 5 km radius around the main retail precinct as a catchment area. It would yield the following result:

Estimated Market Size for Haircare Products:

Parramatta: $17.8M p.a.
Blacktown: $6.8M p.a. (excluding locations within 5km radius from Parramatta)
Liverpool: $15M p.a.

And how big is the overall market for haircare products in Australia? A few more mouse clicks are required to download the data and to open the csv file to reveal the big number:

Estimated market size for haircare products in Australia is almost $1 billion p.a. (lower bound is $950 million and upper bound is $1,035 million p.a.)

Not bad for 5 minutes work.

There are over 600 product and service categories to choose from to conduct your analysis and information can be mapped down to Statistical Area 1 (SA1) level, which means you can examine data over areas as small as just a few neighbourhoods.

Whether you are evaluating overall market potential or just investigating opportunities in specific catchment areas, the information available via Mapdeck can get you answers quickly. Ultimately, this will help save time and money so you can concentrate on exploring any identified market opportunities and not on chasing the data required to conduct the initial analysis.

For more information on this and other cost effective market intelligence solutions for business of all sizes please contact us via enquiry form on site.

Related Posts:
How maps can improve sales

Thursday, September 25, 2014

State postcode maps

Postcodes are the most widely used and accepted reference to locations across Australia. Postcodes are considered more manageable spatial unit than localities and offer more detailed breakdown than Local Government Areas and hence, are favoured for many business applications, ranging from sales area and franchise territory delineation or service delivery determination, to profiling customers and competition.

However, localising postcode extents on the ground was always a challenge since the numbering system does not follow strict conventions.

The most practical to use version of postcodes are Postal Areas created by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as they cover consistently the entire Australian continent and allow matching company data to vast amount of statistical information, including socio-demographic data from Census.

Postcode Finder, published by, is a free online reference map allowing quick lookup of the location and boundary extents of any postcode within Australia.

We are also offering the information in a pdf format, suitable for printing in up to A1 size. There are two types of postcode maps available for immediate delivery:

Capital city maps (which include suburb boundaries):

. Greater Melbourne
. Greater Sydney
. Brisbane and Gold Coast

State/Territory maps (which include population counts per postcode):

. Queensland
. New South Wales
. Victoria
. Tasmania
. Northern Territory
. South Australia
. Western Australia

Individual maps are $30 each and the full set can be purchased for just $150 (10 maps in total).

As with all our products, these maps can be customised to meet specific requirements. For further information or to purchase the set, please email us on

Related information:
Map of Australian Postcodes

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

National Map

A few weeks ago Australian government launched new spatial data initiative called the National Map. It is a cooperative effort of NICTA and several federal government agencies, and another attempt to catalogue, present and make accessible to the public vast amounts of spatial data created and maintained by public sector organisations.

Hopefully, this initiative will be more successful and more permanent creation than previous versions so business, as well as Australian public, can take full advantage of the investment for many years to come.

The concept of a “single online map” - the National Map, is not unique and this is not what will make this project a success. After all, there is nothing exciting anymore about “viewing things on maps” - especially within walled gardens of proprietary applications (State governments Google Globes initiatives come to mind as an example).

Rather, the value of this and, hopefully soon, State and Territory government initiatives is in exposing the data via web services for others to utilise - without constraints and within a variety of custom made applications.

Full data interoperability is the ultimate prize for the nation. Yet, this concept is so elusive and hard to achieve despite over a decade of concerted efforts of many individuals and quite a significant investment by government authorities to make it happen. Let us hope that the National Map initiative is the new beginning...

Thematic Mapper is one of many applications on the market which can readily make use of all those new data services. It is well capable of not only displaying National Map data layers but also allowing to “mash” them with a variety of other open source as well as proprietary information.

Take for example this set of maps depicting Internet availability and quality of signal in Australia. It is created with free and readily accessible Census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics as well as information served by the Department of Communications:

You don’t have to be a GIS expert to make useful, informative and beautiful maps with Thematic Mapper. Contact team to arrange a demonstration with your own data.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Presenting spatial data with Thematic Mapper

Attractive, eye catching colours and interesting graphics help to draw attention of the audience to key information presented on a map. Data presentation capabilities of Thematic Mapper are best demonstrated on the following examples:

  • Base maps – Thematic Mapper comes with a wide selection of base map layers, open source as well as commercial, to suit various presentation objectives:

  • Overlays - users are able to mix and match various overlay layers for the best visual effect and/or to enhance clarity of presented information:

  • Custom data – registered users can create fully customised choropleth (thematic) maps with standard geometry layers (eg. postcodes) and own attribute data, or any of thousands of demographic statistics (ie. Census  data) readily available for use in Thematic Mapper:

  • Point data – Thematic Mapper allows creating complex markers comprising variety of background shapes, sizes and colours, symbols (glyphs) and images; markers are interactive and can be as complex or as simple as required to convey the message:

Contact Mapdeck Team for a demonstration of Thematic Mapper capabilities with your own data.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Property market analysis with Thematic Mapper

One distinctive advantage of presenting information on maps rather than in tables is the ability to visualise geographic distribution of phenomena under investigation. In other words, choropleth (thematic) maps are a perfect tool for highlighting differences or similarities between areas, or for presenting spatial patterns.

Thematic Mapper has recently been used in the analysis of changes in median prices over time for Local Government Areas in the Sydney Greater Metropolitan Region.

The map clearly shows spatial pattern that median prices of properties located closer to the city centre grew faster than those located further away and also that the growth rate was dependant on the distance to the city centre (that is, the further away the property was located, the slower the growth was). 

This simple visualisation technique allowed drawing a conclusion that properties located close to the city centre offer the best capital return in the long term. Ultimately, it allowed resolving decisively the dilemma of every prospective property purchaser as to “where to buy”.

Read full article on Property Observer website.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

Introducing Thematic Mapper

Thematic Mapper is an online tool that allows visualisation of information that can be matched to administrative boundaries, like postcodes or suburb, or to point locations like cities, towns or individual addresses.

[Thematic map depicting proportions of persons aged 5 to 14 per postcode - one of 7,942 available Census data layers]

Unlike traditional GIS tools, Thematic Mapper allows creating choropleth maps as well as displaying categorised point information on-the fly. In other words, polygons are assigned colours and points are assigned markers and colours dynamically, according to rules defined by the user and are not preconfigured in advance by the system administrator. This capability empowers users to create maps according to their individual requirements and aesthetics.

The key advantage of Thematic Mapper is ease of creation and publication of maps online. Users do not have to be experts in GIS and spatial analytics to make comprehensive, visually attractive and meaningful thematic maps. However, experienced analysts will also find Thematic Mapper very useful since it allows quick visualisation of a large number of analytical scenarios.

Thematic Mapper is provided as Software-as- a-Service. Hence, users do not need expensive infrastructure to deploy the software, nor do they need to employ technical staff to maintain it.

Key Features

Thematic Mapper has several distinguished features that are not offered by other online mapping tools, or even desktop applications. In particular:

1. Ability to preview the histogram of mapped data - which helps in determining data distribution characteristics and hence, in selecting the most appropriate method for categorisation of data (that is, whether data is normally distributed or not, and therefore, whether quantile, equal range or standard deviation methodology is the most appropriate to define data ranges for colouring).

2. Fully customisable colour schemas for polygons as well as markers, including multi- colour blending for the best visual effect (eg.  colour ranges can be generated based on 2, 3 or more interim colours, and not only based on the “start” and “end” colour; and each colour can be further adjusted manually, as required).

3. Ability to create complex markers - comprising variety of background shapes, sizes and colours, symbols (glyphs) and images, and any combination of these. Users can define two display modes for markers which will change at a predefined zoom level - plus there is the third highlight mode for mouse-over events.

[Example: custom markers and annotations for properties in Toorak, VIC]

4. Ability to create folders (decks) and saving specific map “views” for further reuse. Furthermore, decks can be public - to share with others, or private, for internal use only: example of public folder demonstrating Thematic Mapper in action

All in all, Thematic Mapper v1.0 allows fully customised visualisation and sharing of large volumes of spatially attributed information with just a few mouse clicks.

Please contact Australian distributor to arrange a free preview of Thematic Mapper in its full capability.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Map of Australian postcodes

Postcodes are the most widely recognised spatial unit.  They have application in a variety of operational, analytical and planning activities and are used equally frequently by small as well as large business in Australia.

The most practical to use version of postcodes are Postal Areas created by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Postal Areas allow matching company data to vast amount of statistical data, including socio-demographic information from Census.

At we have been helping business to make the most of all that information by providing free online tools, like Postcode Finder or Census 2011 Maps, but also by building more advanced solutions to help in complex tasks of defining and managing sales areas or undertaking spatial analysis to gain business insights for a competitive advantage.

Now we bring to the market a set of reference wall maps in pdf format which are ready for printing, either in small size or in pieces on a local printer, or in big format at commercial establishments.The maps are designed on A2 canvas but can be effectively printed in A3 as well as A0 size. 

We have available for immediate delivery postcode maps in pdf format for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane/ Gold Coast for as little as $30.

[closeup of Sydney map of postal areas with suburbs]

As with all our products, these maps can be customised to meet specific requirements. For further information or to purchase the set, please email us on

Related Information:
State postcode maps