FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is SpatialXL?

A PrimeThought Software Solutions product that gives spatial capability (in the form of a map and other features) to Microsoft Excel. It allows to you to map your data, create layers, theme your data, analyse information, create dashboards and so much more.

Why use SpatialXL?

SpatialXL is highly beneficial for clients who are comfortable working in an Excel environment, and don’t have formal training in GIS.  Even for those with formal training, it is a simpler and faster way to work.

It can integrate between various datasets.

SpatialXL is able to import & reference client specific data such as customer data –locations, values, and link directly to external datasets such as population demographics and other and even directly to databases. There are instant map updates as data is added or changed, filtered or queried.

SpatialXL is simple and easy to use.

SpatialXL provides much of the advanced functionality that fully fledged GIS products offer e.g. heat mapping, spatial analysis, thematics and routing, but is still simple enough for any user to manipulate.

What is RouteXL?

An add-in to SpatialXL.  There are two versions of RouteXL.

RouteXL and RouteXL Plus (which is inclusive of the basic RouteXL version.)

RouteXL – Drive Time or Distance analysis, Travelling Salesman, Set-to-Set Routing allocations, Point-to-Point routing, Matrix route calculations

RouteXL Plus –also known as QVR (Quantitative Vehicle Routing) –Optimized fleet planning and routing with different truck sizes, demands per point, shift times, time at depot, delay time and time windows.  Optimized by time, distance or cost.

What is LocateXL?

An add-in to SpatialXL is an open extensible Geocoder that works within Microsoft Excel or as a standalone application if you need to process hundreds of thousands or even a million records at a time.

What is the difference between SpatialXL and RouteXL?

SpatialXL delivers spatial analytics and spatial capability in Microsoft Excel. This is an add-in to Microsoft Excel.

RouteXL is optimized routing and transportation scheduling. This is an add-in to SpatialXL. Your routes can be viewed on your map with all sorts of theming etc.

What is the difference between SpatialXL and LocateXL?

SpatialXL delivers spatial analytics and spatial capability in Microsoft Excel. This is an add-in to Microsoft Excel.

LocateXL is a Geocoder that works within Microsoft Excel or as a standalone application.

What are the different packages offered when buying SpatialXL?

SpatialXL Plus – Grants access to all SpatialXL features.

Spatial Publisher – This provides and referes to a publish button inside SpatialXL and is an add-on to SpatialXL – this unlocks a feature to publish spatial briefcase files. The spatial briefcase files are often referred to as ‘Reader’ files. (Spatial Publisher is also called the Publisher version.)

Do you offer an evaluation license?

We do not offer evaluation licenses. But we do assist in doing very fast proof of concepts to show a client what value a client can get out of SpatialXL with their own data.

What machine specs will I need to use SpatialXL?

SpatialXL will run on most modern machines. It is recommended for advanced use to have a:

  • 64-bit Operating System
  • Windows 10 or above
  • Microsoft Office 2016 (or above recommended)  (64-bit version)
  • Core i5 processor (or above recommended)
  • 16Gb of RAM (or above)

What is the amount of training needed to use SpatialXL?

Owing to the fact that we at PrimeThought are concerned with simplicity as well as efficiency and reliability in our products the training time is approximately 40 hours to get a user up and running with our software with advanced training videos to come thereafter.  For a user that is already trained in both Excel and Mapping software this time might be less.

Can SpatialXL work offline?

SpatialXL works on a desktop machine, it is not an internet web-based application.  For the licensing, SpatialXL has to call out to the internet from time to time to verify the validity of the license.

Does your map update automatically when filters are used, and changes are made in Microsoft Excel?

Yes.

Can SpatialXL workbooks be transferred to other computers?

Yes. Workbooks and worksheets alike are transferable. However, the end user will need SpatialXL to open or edit these on his computer.

What support is offered with the purchase of SpatialXL?

There is official training with User Guides and instruction videos with one or more of our Delivery staff.

If there are any technical issues and you can’t correct this using our ‘Help’ feature or User Guides, our technical team will gladly assist.

Can I transfer my data directly from one workbook to another?

Yes. This is done the same way you would transfer Excel workbooks.

When should we consider buying Spatial Publisher?

If you are looking to use SpatialXL to provide maps to other users, who need to view the data, not change or add to it, you should certainly get Publisher. This allows you to create maps in a reader format which are not editable. The user of such will not need a SpatialXL license or SpatialXL to open this reader file, as these are free.  You only pay for the Publish button when you purchase Spatial Publisher.  All published maps are free.

What file types are supported by SpatialXL?

SpatialXL has been designed to support almost every kind of spatial file such as Shape files, Image files, Engineering files, and also connects to databases. It supports over 30 different file formats.

How do I report SpatialXL user problems?

You may contact one of our technical support teams and we will gladly assist you with anything that is needed.  We provide an email address and a support telephone number and will allocate a support person to you.

Is there a way to secure my data when using SpatialXL?

Your data is as secure as the data in your original spreadsheet or database is. SpatialXL also allows you to use some formats that are not widely published if you need additional security.Spatial Reader files can be published with passwords, expiry dates and set to not allow data to be copiable which provides additional security of Reader files.

Do you offer developer customization options for SpatialXL?

We do not usually offer developer customization options for SpatialXL however if there is such a need you are welcome to get in contact with our technical experts to discuss this.

Can I use a single license on several computers in the work area?

Usually SpatialXL is sold as one license per computer. To get more computers with SpatialXL separate licenses will need to be purchased.

However, clients can also purchase server licenses. These are licenses controlled from a license server. They specify a fixed number of licenses so that only that fixed number of client machines can use the software at any particular time. This allows a large number of people to use the software, but limits to how many can use it at once.  This licensing scheme is called Concurrent Licensing.

How large a file can I upload into SpatialXL?

The size of the file isn’t an issue. The limitation is what your computer memory allows you to do and what hardware specifications you have.  Also Excel itself has limitations which would apply to SpatialXL.  Some of the shape files we load are 200 MB or more, and some of the databases can be many Terabytes as a query, that will run and pull the data out of it, however not all of it is loaded in memory.

How large can a workbook be?

A workbook can contain several Gigabytes of information.

Is SpatialXL compatible on Numbers from Apple Macbook?

No. To use SpatialXL on a Mac you would have to install a windows environment and install Microsoft Excel.

How is SpatialXL different to Esri’s ArcGIS?

The answer to this lies in simplicity. With SpatialXL the user has an ability to learn and do most of the features Esri’s ArcGIS can do in fraction of the time.

How is SpatialXL different to PowerBI?

There are 3 key differences which set SpatialXL and PowerBI apart.

a) PowerBI is very complex: There’s the Power BI Gateway, Power BI desktop, Power BI Services, and the list continues to go on. Since there are huge numbers of moving parts to this product, you will invest a huge amount of time making sense what each part does. This additionally implies that there are more parts to the product that can possibly break, making the software harder to troubleshoot and get corrected.

SpatialXL is easy to use, learn and is generally very simple.

b) PowerBI doesn’t deal with big data sources well.  When attempting to connect and import big datasets, Microsoft Power BI clients can encounter a lot of time-outs and reduced performance. 

SpatialXL handles large data sources very easily.

c) PowerBI doesn’t have a solution for the quality of data its given. Microsoft Power BI assumes that the data you’re pulling has already been properly quality checked and cleaned. Other solutions need to be found to fix the quality of the data.

SpatialXL can work with and actually clean up faulty data sets.

MAPS

Can I change the default styles in my map?

Yes, when creating map layers you have the ability to customize and theme these quite a bit. There are multiple options that can be used to change the default map style.

What is a layer in SpatialXL?

A layer represents geographic data in SpatialXL, such as a particular theme or type of data. Example of a layer would be one which shows demographic data and another a layer with provincial borders.

What kinds of layers can I add to a map?

As we support almost every kind of spatial file we able to create virtually any kind of layer and add it to a map.

What maps are used in SpatialXL?

There is an option to purchase Offline Background Maps with SpatialXL which you can use offline. These would be of South Africa etc.

Otherwise, you can simply use Bing, or Google Maps from the shortcut ribbon in SpatialXL.

Do I have to separately install maps or is this provided with the SpatialXL license?

If it is the offline maps, it is purchased separately. You will need to save it in a location on your computer and simply load it in SpatialXL.  If it is Google Maps, or Bing maps then you don’t have to separately install it.

Can I take Google or Bing Maps offline?

No, you need an internet connection to use them.

DATASETS

What datasets do we use when we buy SpatialXL?

You don’t get datasets automatically when you purchase SpatialXL.

However, we do provide datasets from other providers such as:

1.BUILDING BASED LAND USE DATASET (All info on all buildings in SA, Classifies every building)

2.ADVANCED POPULATION DATASET (Working population data, Day time population, Migration Data)

3.DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION DATASET (Gender data, Race data, Age data, Using race can get a count of the population in Enumerated Area)

4.NEIGHBOURHOOD LIFESTYLE INDEX (NLI) DATASET (Income and spending data, Gives Dominant NLI, Gives number of households 170)

5.NEW DEVELOPMENTS DATASET (this is broken down into two sections and includes: Monthly updates on ever-changing SA environment, Classifies the Earth works and expansions)

These are sold at a 70% discount to their usual prices because of the usage of these datasets inside SpatialXL.