Places, Plots, Zones & Areas

Places, Plots, Zones & Areas
Places and streets are single entries in the street database that have a name and a co-ordinate.  Navigator uses Plots, Zones and Areas to define groups of streets or places within your local area.  A Zone may contain one or more Plots, whilst an Area may contain one or more Zone.  Small plots are used to accurately calculate pricing and journey times, whilst large zones (that contain many plots) are used to accurately define the drivers’ positions on “ranks” to facilitate fairer distribution of work.  Areas can be defined for controllers controlling different areas of town or used to define areas covered by satellite offices.
Glossery of terms
Before we start there are four words to learn that you’ll come across a lot – Places, Plots, Zones and Areas.  An understanding of their meaning within Navigator is the key to organising your business.  Each of these is covered in more detail later in this document.
Places are single database entries and have a name and a coordinate, e.g. “Style Hall Gardens” is a place. It has a co-ordinate of 519403N 178100E in plot W4.   
A street may be represented by more than one place – for example, it may be a long street that would be more appropriate represented as two places.
Plots are exclusive collections of places.  By “exclusive” we mean that any place included in a plot cannot exist in any other plot.  For example, if we configured a plot to include all the streets and places in London postcode area W4, we would probably call it “W4”.
Zones are exclusive collections of plots.  By “exclusive” we mean that any plot included in a zone cannot exist in any other zone.  For example, if we configured a zone to include London plot W4 and plot W3, we might want to call it “Act-Chiswk” (since it contains Acton and Chiswick). What we are effectively doing is creating a Rank.
Places fulfil the role of “Booking Waypoints”
‘Plots’ fulfil the role of pricing and journey times.
Zones fulfil the role of ranking the drivers.

Areas are a non-exclusive collection of Zones and are used for display purposes only.
By “non-exclusive” we mean that zones can be included in other areas, in other words there can be an overlap in adjacent areas.  For example, we could configure an area called “West London” and we could include in it all the zones that we deemed to be in West London.  We could do the same for East London but we could deliberately create an overlap of Central London zones that exist in BOTH areas.
Controllers can customise their view of the despatch screen to only show one specific area. This is a great way to allow one controller to concentrate on West London Jobs while another controller concentrates on East London BUT they BOTH share in dealing with Central London.
As mentioned in the glossery above, a Place is a sinlge entry in the street database, it has a name and co-ordinates so that it can be shown on a map.  It could be a street, pub, restaurant, supermarket, doctors surgery or road junction.
Primary uses
A place is selected from the street database when a booking is made.  Both the From field and the To field on the booking screen must have a place name in them before the booking is taken.   
It is not possible to enter data in these fields that does not match data in the street database.  If a non matching text string (in other words a “new place”) is typed in either the From or To field, the only way to complete the booking is to add the “new place” to the street database by pressing the F2 button.  Adding new places to the street database is covered in detail on page 49 of the Telephonists guide in the section called Adding new places to the street database.
There will be between 3,000 and 120,000 places in a typical database ranging from roads, streets and avenues to supermarkets and doctor’s surgeries.
Areas fulfil the role of filtering a Controller’s view of jobs and cars on the system.
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Place Attributes
A place has other useful attributes that can be added or edited. The lead time and the return to base time can be adjusted for a specific place – for example, a place might be difficult to get into but easy to get out of!
Other attributes make it easy to highlight certain places in different colours and to display messages to telephonists or despatchers warning them or informing them about that place.
Edit place
Changing details of a place’s attributes is simple…
1. Click on the Plot menu and choose Edit Plots
2. In the left-hand window click on the plot that contains the place you wish to change
3. When you’ve selected the plot, the right-hand window will show all the places within this plot.  Right-mouse click on the street/place name and choose Edit Place from the shortcut menu
4. The Edit Street window will appear…
Right-mouse click on the street name and choose Edit place
“Stile Hall Gardens” is a place in the street database and when entered into the From field it’s location is shown the the map
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Lead Time vs. Return To Base Time (RTB)  
You probably noticed on the Edit Place window two fields called Lead Time and RTB Time.  What are these used for and what’s the difference?
Lead Time is the time it takes for the vehicle to get to the pick-up place – this is generally the time taken from Base but may be the time taken from a place where vehicles are regularly ranked.  Whilst Return to Base Time is the time it takes for the vehicle to return to a place where it can be given another booking.
For example, let’s say the lead time for Macdonald’s Restaurant in town is 5 minutes, the return to base time may be zero because the vehicle would probably stay there after dropping off.
If however, a nearby town had a lead time of 30 minutes, the return to base time may also be 30 minutes because the driver would probably return to your own town after dropping off.
Lead Times and Return to Base Times are vital for the accuracy and efficiency of despatch and any time spent updating these figures will be time well spent.  Please refer to Journey Times for more information about setting plot Lead and RTB times.
Telephonist and despatcher pop-up messages
Messages that automatically pop-up on the operators’ screens can be added as a place attribute, for example this place may be a block of flats and you can pop-up a message to prompt the telephonist to ask for the flat number.   
Comments you type in the Telephonist Comment box will appear at the time of booking Comments you type in the Despatcher Comment box will appear at the time of despatch
Use the Lead Time box to specify an individual lead time to this place over-riding the default lead or journey times for the plot
Click on the Post Code tab to view the house numbers included in this post code
You can specify colours on certain places to make them really stand out on the Despatch screen
Use the RTB Time (Return to Base Time) to specify the length of time it takes for the vehicle to be ready to accept another booking
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In addition to this you can also decide if the pop-up displays when the booking is from this place, to this place, both from and to or neither by selecting the message type under each message field.
A similar popup message can automatically pop up for the despatcher if you want.  Type the appropriate text into the Despatcher Comment box and specify when the pop-up should appear.  These messages can help the despatcher to inform the driver of something specific about this address when the job is despatched.
Paper Maps
The page numbers and grid references of places can also be stored as an attribute.  Please refer to Paper Maps for more detailed information.
Ticket Numbers
Ticket numbers have recently been introduced to Navigator and can be turned on for particular places.  When the Ticket Number option is turned on for a place, it will create a different “ticket number” for each job for identification purposes.  This is commonly used for airports, supermarkets, nightclubs etc. to identify each job, so a passenger will know which taxi is for them by the ticket number that was issued to both the passenger and driver.
To turn on the ticket number feature, place a tick in the Use Ticket Number field
Enter the messages in either the Telephonist Comment or Despatcher Comment box
Use the message type options to choose under which circumstances the message is displayed
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Colour on despatch screen
The colour of the place as displayed on the despatch screen can be different if the place is used in either the From field, the To field or Both. You can change both the foreground and the background colour to make some places really stand out.
Graphical Map
A graphical map accurately shows the location of the place being edited…
Co-ordinate adjustment
Look along the tabs at the top of this window and you’ll see postcode matches for the street.  Click on one of the tabs to see the co-ordinates that Navigator reckons to use based on Ordinance Survey data or the ‘nearest street/place’ if this is a new place just added.