It almost seems pointless to even mention the Maps features of TntConnect, because they are so obvious. Yet after 15 years of teaching people to use TNT, I have found that some of the things I do everyday without even thinking are a revolutionary epiphany to someone else. One of my mantras in teaching people about software is, “Even the simplest feature is an Aha! moment if you’ve never seen it before.”
So, real quick, here’s a reminder of the variety of features TNT offers related to maps:
- You can launch Google Maps for the contact you are looking at. This opens a browser window to get to Google Maps, which is handy if you also want to create a travel map, from your location, etc. (unlike the Maps View, below, which plots contacts on a map).
- The Maps View opens a Google Maps view inside your TntConnect software.
This view allows to change the map display in several ways:
- Show only the selected contact (“Individual” link at the top)
- Show the entire Current Group (as shown in the image above)
- Replace the Google pins with the colored Status Dot for each partner’s TNT status (e.g., Green for current, Purple for recent gift, etc.)
- Newsletter icon for each contact
- A teeny, tiny, thumbnail of the picture you have for the contact
Of course the best use for the Maps View is being able to display the contacts clustered on the map. The first time I used this feature (when it was released several years ago), I made the current group only my “newsletter recipients in X city” (it doesn’t do much good to have a map of the entire country). I have about 40 newsletter folks in my home city (roughly 25% of all newsletter people), and it was a delight to see them pop up. What was even more amazing was how many of them lived close together… since I had been building the list for several years from different channels, different referrals, etc.
One time I discovered I had two contacts completely unrelated to each other (different churches, different history with me), and they lived three houses apart.
Technical note: The first time you use the Google Maps feature, TNT tries to pinpoint the exact street location for each contact. There are some it cannot (for example, P.O. Boxes, or if you have an error in the address), but for those it can, TNT will then post the GPS coordinates in their hidden data log, so that future maps will be substantially faster.
It is possible that one reason I love this feature so much is because “Rand McNally is my middle name”. 🙂