CDXGeodata - Apps and Web Services for Location Analysis

We’ve just introduced CDXGeodata to expand our offering of location analytics software.  CDXGeodata is a set of spreadsheets apps and web service APIs that work with a variety of software platforms including Windows, the Apple Mac and Linux.  We’ve designed this product so it can be used by standard business professionals as well as programmers to develop custom desktop or web based applications.   Currently our CDXZipStream and CDXStreamer products only work with Windows versions of Microsoft Excel.  CDXGeodata dramatically expands this coverage

Our initial release includes API web services that support address correction, Zip and Zip+4 lookup, distance, lists and radius calculations.   The CDXGeoData Web Services API uses REST (REpresentational State Transfer), which is used to build web services that are lightweight, easy to maintain, and scalable.  We’ve also created a set of 7 Excel spreadsheet apps that work with these services.   The apps automate bulk requests to the services and can create reports such as filtering an address list by radius distance and analyzing demographics within a radius.  These templates have been designed to work both with Excel for the Mac and well as Excel for Windows.  Just enter your key and paste in your data to get the reports you need.

CDXGeodata is not licensed on a per user basis like CDXZipStream.   Any number of users can access the CDXGeodata service with a single API key.  Tokens are used to access CDXGeoData with different levels for each service request.  Simple requests may only require 1 token while more complex analysis like radius analysis will require more.  A free account is available that supports up to 1000 tokens each month for development, evaluation and non-profit use.   Additional requests can be purchased in blocks that start at $29.95 for 5000 requests.  These tokens remain available for up to 1 year.

If you have one of our current products you might ask why you might need this service.  Not all customers have every feature available and might need to do a one-time radius analysis or demographic report.  CDXGeodata allows you to purchase this data at a much lower price when compared to upgrading your software.  That being said, CDXZipStream and CDXStreamer provide an unlimited number of request for users who regularly produce such reports.   You might also want to distribute a radius analysis to a wide variety of users in your company.  CDXGeodata would allow you to produce a custom Excel template or intranet site that could be distributed without requiring any additional software to be deployed.  Using CDXZipStream would require each user to own and install a license, CDXGeodata would not.  You just pay for the number of token requests you need.

You can develop custom apps yourself using the geodata.cdxtech.com portal or contact us to do the work for you at customsolutions@cdxtech.com.   If you are familiar with VBA, an excellent resource for developing with REST based services is to use a template called VBA-Web.  Both the documentation and the template itself are available at the link given.  The template is available for use under MIT license. 

Both programmers and business users can also interface with the service thru a portal we’ve developed at geodata.cdxtech.com.  You log in with your username (usually your email address) and the API key that received when setting up your account.   With this portal you can track usage, create and download example reports and view programming examples in C#, Javascript and VB.  Programming examples using the VBA-web template are also available at geodata.cdxtech.com.

Here is a screenshot of the  portal interface.

 

We think that you will find CDXGeodata a powerful and flexible environment for all your location analytics needs.  It’s free to get started with a development account so we encourage you to take advantage of the service.

Free ZIP Code Lookup for City, County, State, and More

Do you ever need to do a ZIP Code lookup to find the correspondent city, county, or state? CDX Technologies now offers a free ZIP Code lookup tool on our website that allows you to input a U. S. ZIP Code and retrieve general data about it. Just press “Generate Report” to get the following output:


Data include congressional district information, elevation, land area and water area, latitude and longitude, as well as the latest population estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau. Click on the printer icon to print, or press “Data Definitions” to get information about each data item.

If you need to do ZIP Code lookup for an extensive list of ZIPs, we also offer a Microsoft Excel add-in, CDXZipStream, that can work with large amounts of data in Excel. CDXZipStream is a multi-purpose tool that can not only perform ZIP Code lookup, but can also calculate distance between ZIP Codes, find driving distance and driving time, perform address and ZIP Code radius analysis, create maps, and do other analysis of location-based data. It also comes in several versions to fit your particular needs. Here is a short tutorial showing how it works:


Pricing begins at $69.95, which includes a one-year subscription to our U.S. ZIP Code database. A free 30-day trial is also available.

Learning Resources for CDXZipStream

CDXZipStream, our Microsoft Excel add-in for location-based and ZIP Code analysis, is a powerful yet easy-to-use tool you can access straight from your worksheet. Here’s some of the functionality it can provide for your Excel data: 

- ZIP Code lookup
- Calculate the distance between ZIP Codes
- Calculate driving time and driving distance
- Address and ZIP Code radius analysis
- Route optimization
- Mapping
- ZIP Code demographics (as well as other geographies such as state, county, city, and census tract)
- Geocode and reverse-geocode

 If you’re new to CDXZipStream or even if you’re an experienced user who wants to explore all of its functionality, we offer a number of learning resources that are available both from within the software and on the web:

Data Feed Examples: After installation of CDXZipStream, a file of data feed examples opens. This covers all CDXZipstream functions, and includes examples of these functions in Excel formulas. This file can be found in the "C:\Users\Public\Documents\CDXTechnologies\CDXZipStream\" folder on your computer, or you can download it directly from the CDXTech.com website.

QuickStart Guide: A good place to start, this is a short video tutorial providing an overview of CDXZipStream capabilities. You can access it on our website directly from the CDXZipStream commandbar, from the CDXTech website under “General” tutorials, or from our YouTube channel here.

Help File: A comprehensive guide to all functions, including examples and common troubleshooting issues. It is also accessible directly from the CDXZipStream commandbar, or from the resources area of the website.

Website FAQ: The section for CDXZipStream Frequently Asked Questions covers common questions on how to use the software, from how to get a Bing Maps license key to how to optimize driving routes.

In the CDXZipStream Support area of CDXTech.com we also offer

Video Tutorials: Tutorials are available from the website and on our Youtube channel. If you have a Youtube account, you can subscribe to our channel to receive notifications when new tutorials are posted.

Resources: The CDXTech.com Resources area for CDXZipStream includes a variety of articles and other information sources, including examples of how CDXZipStream can support the various needs of your business or organization.  Need to find the data source or data fields definition of demographic data provided with CDXZipStream? You can download it from the Resources page under "CDXZipStream Data Fields File PDF File".

Troubleshooting: Troubleshoot installation and operational issues for the current and past versions of CDXZipStream here.  There is also an abbreviated troubleshooting guide in the help file.

Still have questions about CDXZipStream that aren’t answered by any of the above? Contact support@cdxtech.com or give us a call at 973-895-5542.

Finding the Closest ZIP Code Using an Excel Template

CDXZipStream, our Microsoft Excel add-in for location and ZIP Code analysis, includes a function called CDXClosestZIP, which can find the first, second, or third-closest ZIP code to a target ZIP.  It quickly and easily finds the closest stores to customers, the closest hospitals to patients, the closest distribution centers to delivery points, and so on.  It also calculates the straight-line distance between the target and closest ZIP Codes. A detailed description of how to use this function is included in the post How to Get the Closest, Second- and Third-Closest ZIP Codes.

We now also offer a free Excel template that completely automates the use of this function. (Please see here for a list of all downloadable templates.) The template can optionally check the validity of all ZIP Codes included in the analysis, and includes the ability to automatically retrieve data associated with each closest ZIP Code. For instance, if searching for stores closest to a customer, it will identify the store ZIP Code as well as information such as store number, city, state, or any other information provided within the template. Here’s a short tutorial showing how it works:

The template can work with large sets of data, covering thousands of target locations. It is compatible with the CDXZipStream Lite, Basic, and Premium Demographic versions.

Distance calculations for CDXClosestZip are based on the latitude and longitude coordinates of the centroid point of each ZIP Code. If a more accurate analysis is required using coordinates of a specific address, for example, we also offer a Geographic Access Analysis template shown here:

 

Route Optimization in Excel using Bing Maps

CDXZipStream, our Microsoft Excel add-in for location-based data, now offers a route optimization function that uses mapping data from Bing Maps. Up to 25 destinations (waypoints) can be optimized, resulting in the most efficient order of destinations; you have the option to choose the route based on either the shortest distance or quickest time of travel, with or without traffic taken into account.

When Microsoft decided to discontinue its desktop software MapPoint in favor of the web-based Bing Maps, they unfortunately did not include route optimization capability as a built-in function. As a result, we decided to build that functionality into CDXZipStream using ant colony optimization algorithms. These are modeled on how ants in nature search out and find optimal paths to food sources, and can be applied to solving vehicle routing problems. The end result is that basic mapping and routing data are provided by Bing, but the computational algorithms for finding the optimal route reside in CDXZipStream. This results in a fast and efficient routing analysis.

CDXZIPStream route optimization output calculates travel time, distance, provides the optimized list of waypoints, directions, and can provide a route map as well. And it’s easy to use from within your Excel worksheet. To get started, right–click on an empty worksheet cell, and under the “CDXZipStream Functions” menu, select “Insert CDXRouteBing function”. You’ll see the following dialog:

The address range in the first text box represents the range of cells that contain the list of destinations to be optimized. These should be in a single line format (all in one worksheet cell) such as “123 Main Street, Springfield, USA 55555”, or can also be in latitude|longitude format, such as “39.994245|-75.082304”. Also select the route option (quickest, shortest, quickest with traffic), the desired route calculation output, and travel type.

Now click on the “Bing Maps Settings” button above to ensure route optimization is enabled, by checking the box “Optimize Routes (3 or more stops)”:

Here you also select avoidance options (such as highways and tolls), the output and route map style, whether the waypoints are validated (found in Bing Maps) before routing, and whether a map and waypoint list is included in any trip summary output. If an end point for the route is fixed, the optimized route will both begin and end with the same locations provided in the original list. If the endpoint is not fixed, optimization will select an endpoint that generally facilitates return to the beginning of the route. Once all the desired options have been selected, click “OK” to get back to the original dialog. All of these settings will be saved for future use.

When you are returned to the original dialog, click “OK” once more to start the optimization process. Once completed, the requested route calculation data will be returned to the worksheet. Here is an example of an optimized trip summary:

 Here is a short tutorial on how to perform route optimization with Bing Maps:

Using the Bing Maps route optimization feature requires a Bing Maps license key that is entered into CDXZipStream from the “Settings” option on the main CDXZipStream commandbar.   Please see the blog post How to Get a Bing Maps License Key for instructions on getting a free basic key directly from the Microsoft website, or an enterprise key from Microsoft partners.

We also offer a free Microsoft Excel template for performing route optimization with CDXZipStream, which completely automates the process for you.  It works with either Bing Maps or Microsoft MapPoint.  Here’s a quick look at how it works:

 

On a final note, CDXZipStream continues to support the desktop software Microsoft MapPoint, which does have built-in functionality to optimize 100+ destinations.  Since MapPoint was discontinued in 2013 and its data has not been updated since, it will eventually become outmoded for many applications.  But Microsoft still does provide access to the MapPoint free trial here, and for more information about how to use it with CDXZipStream, please view the short tutorial Route Optimization in Excel.