Creating a Map of Member Locations by Zip Code

Overview #

Sometimes it is helpful to be able to create a visualization of where the members in an organizational unit are located.  This is particularly useful if you are trying to organize in-person meetups in a large geographical area.

This became an issue as we tried to organize meetups for the 179 member Tucson Section Life Member Affinity Group.

Fortunately, the OU Analytics app can provide member data in the format we need, and there are free tools on the web to produce a map from that data.

Organizing the Data #

To map the data you first need to “geocode” it, which means to tie the data elements to a specific location.  For an overview map, member counts by zip code gives us a good high-level overview of the distribution of members, and the zip code gives us a rough location for mapping.

The data from OU Analytics is in the form of a CSV file, but it easiest to manipulate if you load it into a spreadsheet like Excel or equivalent.  It looks like this (note this is a subsection of the entire spreadsheet containing the stuff of interest):

(Click on the images for full-size versions)

The two columns of interest are circled, Postal Code and Member Count.  At this point, you should delete all the extraneous columns and save the result as a CSV file.  It should look something like this:

Note, it’s important to have the headings at the top of the file.

Making Your Map #

There are many tools for making maps, but one easy and free one that works well with this data is easymapmaker.com.

As noted, you can either cut and paste or drag and drop your data onto the web page.

Part of your data will appear, and then you should click Set Options.

Scroll down the options list and select Show Numbered Pins, then select the Count field from the drop down box.

You should get something that looks like this:

Then click on the Launch Map Save button.  You should see a dialog like this:

After you save the map, you will get an email like this:

If you click on the view link, you will get a full page map that you can manipulate for the view you want.

Any screenshot tool will give you a file you can use on a website, or, if your webhost allows it, you can embed it using the <iframe> code shown in the email.

There are many other customizable options available even in the free version of easymapmaker.com, so feel free to experiment.

If you happen to have a Microsoft 365 subscription, Excel has some great 3D map options for this kind of data.  Here is one example:

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