Color-Coded Maps toolbar


Color-Coded Maps is a toolbar included with Business Analyst that provides fast and easy display of demographic variables in ArcMap. Data ranges and color schemes can be updated instantly to create thematic maps. This is ideal for visualizing trends and investigating area patterns during presentations or ad hoc analyses. The toolbar can also utilize online data stored on Esri servers.

Accessing the Color-Coded Maps toolbar

The toolbar is on by default when Business Analyst starts. You can add or remove the toolbar by clicking Customize > Toolbars > Color-Coded Maps. You can also add the toolbar from the Business Analyst window > Tools.

Color-Coded Map features

Layer: Drop-down menu that selects the layer to thematically map.

  1. The Online Data section allows you to access data hosted in the cloud by Esri. The USA branch gives you access to Esri data in 2000 geography. The USACensus2010 branch gives you access to Esri data in 2010 geography.

    <None> removes the Color-Coded Maps functionality from the map.

    Data ranges are updated dynamically as you pan across the map. This functionality can be turned off by selecting <None>. This could result in empty geographies if zooming out or panning away from the previous area used in your analysis because min and max values are recalculated dynamically for each map view.

  2. The <Auto Select> option works exclusively with the standard Business Analyst data levels included with the product. Selecting <Auto Select> allows the software to choose the most appropriate level to display as you zoom in and out. Selected Layers are automatically expanded in the table of contents.
  3. Some levels will be deactivated based on zoom level.
  4. Any polygon layer included in the ArcMap table of contents is available for use in Color-Coded Maps. Any variable in the selected layer's attribute table is available for thematic mapping using Color-Coded Maps. For example, you can choose your custom BDS layer loaded in the table of contents then select one of its variables from the Variable menu. The selected variable appears on the map.
  5. Make sure the selected layer you are using in Color-Coded Maps is checked in the table of contents.
Color-Coded Maps layer drop-down menu

Variable: Drop-down menu that selects the variable for thematic mapping.

  • The Variables by Groups pane lists all variables from the selected layer in the Layer menu. The variables are grouped by categories, such as households and population, when using standard Business Analyst Data. You can use the search box to filter and find any entry listed in the Variable by Groups pane.
  • The Most Used Variables pane lists the most recently selected variables used in Color-Coded Maps.
  • The Recently Used Variables pane lists variables that were recently selected in Color-Coded Maps.

Colors: Drop-down menu that selects the color combinations used to display variables.

  • Each color ramp uses the entries in To view this style or add new styles, click Customize > Style Manager > > Color Ramps.
  • Change the number of classes and classification methods from the More Options menu.

Transparency: Slider bar that alters the polygon transparency for selected variables.

  • Layer transparencies are zero by default. Transparencies are shown on the slider from 1 to 100. 100 is completely transparent (invisible).

More Options: Menu that contains additional options to customize Color-Coded Maps.

  • Click % to automatically show statistical ranges as percents.

Percents are not available for base variables such as Total Population.

  • Click # to automatically show statistical ranges as whole number counts.
  • The Method menu contains different statistical classification methods for styling maps. Quantile, Equal Interval, and Natural Breaks are used.
  • The Classes menu allows you to display your data ranges in different class sizes. For example, click three classes to display income variables in High, Medium, and Low ranges.
  • The Border Thickness menu allows you to display the geographic boundaries with different point thicknesses. A point thickness of 1 is the default.
  • The Border Color menu allows you to display the borders in a variety of custom colors.
  • The Restore Original Symbology returns the selected layer in the Layer menu to its original data ranges, colors, and settings before altered using Color-Coded Maps. Only one selected layer at a time can be returned.

For speed considerations, Color-Coded Maps is scale dependent by geography level. For example, Block Groups are disabled at the national level. You must click zoom in to enable certain levels.


If a blank MXD or an MXD without any Business Analyst Data is opened, provided that Business Analyst is installed on the machine, Color-Coded Maps automatically imports the standard Business Analyst Data layers for analysis. The standard Business Analyst Data layers appear in the Color-Coded Maps Layer menu whether they are loaded into ArcMap or not.


For more advanced options use the Symbology tab on the Layer Properties dialog box.