Geo Filtering Step by Step

We have mentioned before that Business2Go v3 will have a very powerful search and filtering tool – Advanced Filter. It will be available in such modules as Customers, Vendors, Invoices etc. It allows instant ad-hoc selection retrieval and will save you a lot of time and effort in case you want to get a specific one-time selection without creating a report in reporting system. We have also mentioned that Advanced Filter supports geo filtering. Let us have a closer look at what it is, how it works and how you can use it.

Geo filtering is available for data sets that contain postal addresses in such modules as Accounts, Customers, Vendors, Manufacturers and so on. An address itself cannot be used for geo filtering – it is necessary to calculate its geographic values (latitude and longitude) which can be easily done with Find and Update Geographic Point Coordinates command.

This will update Latitude and Longitude fields for the selected address and fill them with calculated values. Internet connection is necessary for this operation.

Multiple addresses can be processed instantly by clicking them with CTRL key depressed (Multi Select mode must be activated) and applying the same command (Find and Update Geographic Point Coordinates).

In order to check the addresses with blank latitude/longitude values for all the companies you can make the following inquiry in Advanced Filter:

Then select all the companies with Multi Select Mode on and apply Find and Update Geographic Point Coordinates.

You should keep in mind that this option only works for company’s primary address. In case a company has any additional addresses, make an Advanced Filter inquiry using Addresses related entity. It will show you all the companies that have several addresses, some of which may not have geo coordinates calculated. You can update additional address geo coordinates only by entering company details and applying Find and Update Geographic Point Coordinates individually for each address. Doing this for every company profile can be quite time-consuming, therefore we recommend to calculate the coordinates right after you add a company address.

Once company address coordinates are calculated, let’s search for these companies and use some geo filtering operators. An important note is that address geographic values are represented in Advanced Filter by Geographic Point (Lat/Lng) field and this very field is used to make inquiries while Latitude and Longitude fields are used to enter coordinates and geo filtering operations are not available for them.

Let’s assume we need to find all the companies located in Lower Manhattan as far as Central Park. First step would be to select Geographic Point (Lat/Lng) field in Advanced Filter and launch inside polygon data selection.

Then click the "…" button to select an area on the map.

It will open a window:

Where we draw a polygon around the target area:

Next click OK and the polygon vortex coordinates will be sent to filter.

In the filter window click Apply and the results will be showed:

The picture above shows a list of companies located inside our polygon. We can see company locations on the map if we select them and choose Tools > Find Location on Map from ribbon menu.

All these actions take less than 5 minutes. Completing a task like this with any manual method would be extremely difficult and require a lot of effort. Now it’s just another ordinary operation.
We have showed you how to use the most helpful filtering operator – inside polygon. There are other operators you can use for geo filtering:

  • Equals – equal to a certain geo point, is set in latitude longitude format (i.e. 40.698861 -74.018326) or address;
  • Does not equal – not equal to a certain geo point or address;
  • Is blank – a blank geo point with no coordinates;
  • Is not blank – geo point contains coordinates
  • In – uses a geo point sequence in latitude – longitude format and the company address coordinates must match at least one of the points in the sequence
  • Not in – company address coordinates must not match any of the points in the sequence (geo point format is latitude – longitude)
  • Inside polygon – company address coordinates must be located inside of a polygon, vortexes of which are set as points on the map;
  • Not inside polygon – company address coordinates must be located outside the polygon;
  • Within a radius of – company address coordinates must be located within a certain radius from a point on the map (radius is set in meters)
  • Not within a radius of – company address coordinates must be located outside the area defined as a radius from certain point on the map.
Let’s look at another helpful geo filtering operator – within a radius of. It allows searching for coordinates within a certain radius around a point on the map. The point can be set by coordinates or an address. Radius is set in meters. Let’s assume we’d like to find all the companies within a radius of 2,000 m from 136 MulberryStreet, NewYork, NY 10013, USA.

In order to see how it looks on the map or select another address, click the "…" button and the following window will open:

You can move the marker to any place or change the radius. Hovering cursor over the edge of circle (where the arrows are located) you can check the radius length in meters and approximate time required to cover this distance on foot via shortest possible route.

Now let’s click OK in this window, then Apply in the filter window and see what companies match our area.

We can also check their location on the map.

Now you have a simple, direct and very fast way of geo filtering your data. You can use it in marketing to estimate your current and potential customers. Or in advertising to estimate how attractive your advertising banners would look at certain locations or how worthwhile would be to open stores at those locations etc.