In my role as the performance analyst for the Digital Marketplace I often need to show the locations of suppliers and buyers.
In this post, I want to share some free tools that I use to convert postcode data into useful maps. My example shows sample data of football stadiums in Great Britain.
This Google Sheets add-on allows me to plot postcodes onto a Google Map. When I put the data into a Google Sheet and select the relevant columns, I can create a map with pins to show the locations of the football stadiums.
These are the columns selected for the sample data:
From this, I can generate this map:
The ability to filter the data and click on pins to open up more information is a useful feature.
I used Mapsdata when I want to show concentrations of locations and have less than 1,000 postcodes. The data needs to be uploaded as an Excel spreadsheet.
This is an example of the clustering feature. The marks show how many stadiums there are in the area. Controls on the left allow the geographical distances to be adjusted.
When I have large numbers of postcodes I found the Mapsdata heatmapping feature really useful. This shows the same data as a heatmap.
Mapsdata also had a feature that allows me to show bubbles based on a particular column’s values. Here I’ve set the tool to show the size of bubble as the capacity of each of the stadiums.
Mapsdata also provided several useful tools to convert data such as postcodes to longitudes and latitudes. Unfortunately, the Mapsdata service is no longer available (as at October 18).
Over to you
We’ll keep experimenting with different tools and will continue to share our experiences. If you use any free tools for mapping postcodes we’d love to hear about it in the comments section.
Ashraf Chohan is a senior performance analyst in GDS.