Guided Tour: Only Reporting the Closest Locations
As well as finding the distances and times to all possible destinations, MileCharter can be told to report only the closest. You can set constraints with a maximum number to report and/or maximum distance or travel time.
Find the Closest Customers
In this example, we have a number of sales offices in Illinois and Indiana (green stars). We also have a number of new customers (purple circles). To help our customers find the closest sales locations, we wish to find the three closest sales offices to each customer. Distances should be measured using route distances, and not straight-line 'as the crow flies' distances which are unrealistic.
This screenshot shows the main MileCharter panel set to perform this calculation.
As well as only finding the three closest customers, we only want to show sales offices that are reasonably close to each customer. We have set the limits to 50 miles and 70 minutes.
Here are the resulting distances and closest sales offices. Note that one of the customers has only one sales office that meets the 50 miles and 70 minutes criteria.
These sales offices can then be quickly listed, in order of proximity.
Finding Competing Stores
MileCharter's 'find closest' functionality can be used to find if a planned store will be too close to your existing stores, and will draw business from them. This might be your own planned store, but MileCharter can also be used to find if competing companies have sales locations within a specified distance of your locations. These might be existing sales locations or planned locations.
You could draw simple circles around your locations to find competing stores. This can be slow and only works with straight line distances. MileCharter can automate the process, and it can also work with route distances. This is particularly useful when geography (e.g. valleys and rivers) influence the road network. For example, a competing store might be half a mile a way in a straight line, but the road distance is five miles due to an intervening river. This could make the difference as to whether the sales location is a significant competitor or not.
Here is the example output where an employee of ABC has used MileCharter to find XYZ stores that represent significant competition (i.e. within 5 miles driving distance). They told MileCharter to only return the closest ABC store. Therefore these results do not show multiple competing stores. Simply tell MileCharter to return two, three, etc closest stores if you are interested in the possibility of multiple competing stores.
Next we look at how to calculate point-to-point routes .