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View How to Configure Visual Routing Grids in HWeb Dispatcher

Category:HWeb Dispatcher

How to Configure Visual Routing Grids in HWeb Dispatcher


Visual Routing is the process of being able to display on a map, within HWeb Dispatcher (version 1.89c) grids and desktops, the pickup and drop-off locations for one to many reservations. Displaying these locations on a map makes the decision making process of determining which reservations should be combined together (routing) in a shared ride service fast and easy.  The result is a quicker and more efficient dispatching process.

With the ability to display maps inside of Dispatcher grids, the amount of detailed knowledge of local geography required of the dispatch staff can be greatly reduced. This will make the process of training new dispatch staff much easier.

Dont’ be intimidated by the length of this article, the process of adding Visual Routing to your grids and desktops is fairly straightforward if you already have some basic grid building skills, and are comfortable building HotKeys.  This article will step you through the process.

Microsoft MapPoint is the mapping engine in Visual Routing and each workstation that will use Visual Routing must have a licensed copy of Microsoft MapPoint installed.

Configuring of Visual Routing grids is a 3 step process:

  1. Build custom reservation grids
  2. Advanced Configuration of reservation grids
  3. HotKey configuration

Building custom reservation grids

You will most likely build one set of Visual Routing grids to focus on your arrival reservations, so that you may combine passengers arriving at approximately the same time, and travelling to the same general drop-off areas.  You will then build a second set of Visual Routine grids to focus on your outbound or departure reservations for clients that are heading toward the same airport at about the same time, and from the same general location.
You will need to begin either of the above processes by constructing a custom reservation grid. In addition to any other fields you "wish" to display, you will as a minimum, need to include the following fields:
(for departure reservations)
PickupAddress
PickupCity
PickupState
PickupZip

(for arrival reservations)
DropoffAddress
DropoffCity
DropoffState
DropoffZip

**NOTE: It is not necessary for you to actually display these fields in the grid, but they must be included. The easiest way to accomplish this is to place a check mark in the column: "Override Optimization" within Grid Layout, for each of these fields.  When you later optimize your grids in Grid Properties, these fields and values will still be loaded from the database for each reservation, even if they are not being displayed in your grid.

The remaining fields displayed and most likely included could include but not necessarily be limited to:
ServiceType
Operation
Direction
ID
PickupTOD
FlightType
FlightNumber
Terminal
Name
PickupLocation
PickupKey
PickupSector
DropoffLocation
DropoffKey
DropoffSector
PAX
BagCount

Once you have the fields selected and formatted the way you wish them to be, save the new grid to the HWeb Templates directory on your server, with a name that will make it easy to locate, e.g. Visual_Routing_Grids  or something like that.

If you are looking for the quick and easy way out of this (you are forgiven), or are unfamiliar with GridBuilding, you can download the sample grid, attached to this article:  Create a new folder in your HWeb Tempaltes directory on your server named "Visual_ Routing" or similar, and then save the gdf file attachment to this folder.  You can then open HWeb Dispatcher application, select File > Open, and browse to the gdf file named: VisualRouting_ArrivalReservations. Most of the fields identified above have been pre selected for you.

Advanced Configuration of Reservation Grids

Now that your custom grid is built, it is time to do some advanced configuration that will allow the map(s) to display in the grid.

Using HWeb Dispatcher, open the Visual Routing reservations grid completed in the first step above. If you downloaded the attached gdf file from this article, you should follow along so that you see how this is achieved, though the steps have already been taken for you!

Right click on any of the grid column headers and select Grid Properties.
Select the tab labeled: "Advanced II"
In the Form type field, select: "Single grid w/Map" from the drop list
Map auto update: REMOVE the check mark (if present)

Select the tab labeled: "Advanced"
Set the Split type to: "Vertical w/splitter" (places the map ABOVE the reservations)##
Set the Split (0-.99): "50" (higher numbers will result in larger maps)
Click "OK"

##Using the "w/Splitter" option allows the dispatcher to inrease / decrease the map size, on-the-fly, by ‘dragging’ the border between the map and reservation records with the mouse. Also note, that use of the "splitter" options will only work in grids that do not have "Buttons" displayed or enabled. If you are unsure of what a button is, you can read more about what they are here, or how to build and configure them here.

HotKey Configuration

Once the above steps are completed, you need to add three hotkeys to your system so that you can control the map display functions within the grid. You will want to be able to:
  • select reservation(s) and display on a new map
  • add a reservation to an existing map
  • clear the map of all locations
You have a choice now - you can perform the above functions by using a HotKey (F1, F2, CTRL + F1),  or a Dispatcher Action Menu - a drop list menu of options that is opened by right clicking on a reservation or group of selected reservations.  In reality, depending on how many HotKeys you already have configured, your options may be reduced or limited. If you need assistance in making this determination, Hudson Tech Support is willing to help. Before following the directions below, ensure that these key combinations are not already in use!

Option: HotKeys

Tools > Configuration > HotKeys / FastInfo
Press F1 to start a new HotKey
System Profile: Default
RecordType:  Dispatcher Hot Keys
Shift / Control type:  Shift
Function key: F1
Function: Map records
Function parameters: mode=1
Description: Clears map and displays new selected records
Click UPDATE

Press F1 to start a new HotKey

System Profile: Default

RecordType:  Dispatcher Hot Keys

Shift / Control type:  Shift

Function key: F2

Function: Map records

Function parameters: mode=2

Description: Add new record to current map
Click UPDATE

Press F1 to start a new HotKey

System Profile: Default

RecordType:  Dispatcher Hot Keys

Shift / Control type:  Shift

Function key: F3

Function: Map records

Function parameters: mode=-1

Description: Clears map of all records
Click UPDATE
Click Save Changes to DB
Press F11 to refresh your configuration

If you selected the HotKey option, you should be able to return to your Dispatcher application and reload your Visual routing grid.  A map of the US (if this is your version of MS MapPoint) will display in the top of your grid.  We will review use of the HotKeys below.

Option: Dispatcher Action Menu

Tools > Configuration > HotKeys / FastInfo

Press F1 to start a new HotKey

System Profile: Default

RecordType:  Dispatcher action menu
Group name: VisualRouting, Mapping, or similar (you will have to type it the first time)
Caption: Clear and Add New
Priority: 1

Function: Map records

Function parameters: mode=1

Description: Clears map and displays new selected records

Click UPDATE

Press F1 to start a new HotKey

System Profile: Default

RecordType:  Dispatcher action menu

Group name: Select name from list as entered in first one above

Caption: Add New

Priority: 2

Function: Map records

Function parameters: mode=2

Description: Adds new record to current map

Click UPDATE

Press F1 to start a new HotKey

System Profile: Default

RecordType:  Dispatcher action menu

Group name: Select name from list as entered in first one above

Caption: Clear Map

Priority: 3

Function: Map records

Function parameters: mode=-1

Description: Clears map of all records

Click UPDATE
Click Save Changes to DB
Press F11 to refresh your configuration

If you have opted to use the Dispatcher Action Menu to map your locations, you have one additional step:

In HWeb Dispatcher, open the VisualRouting grid you built above.
Right click on any of the grid column headers and select Grid Properties.
Select the tab labeled: "Custom Menus"
Click the down arrow across from "Normal" and select from the drop down list, the Dispatcher Action Menu Group Name built above (e.g. VisualRouting, Mapping…).
Click OK
Save changes to the Grid.

Mapping Your Reservation Records
You should now be able to open HWeb Dispatcher and then open your VisualRouting_ArrivalReservations grid.  The reservation records will display on the lower part of the screen and the map will display above.

Press and hold the CTRL Key while using the mouse to click on one or more reservations.
When selected, a reservation will normally be highlighted in dark blue.
Now press F1 Key (if that was option selected above)
OR Right click on one of the highlighted reservations and select Clear and Add New.
If you have been successful in configuring your system, the highlighted reservations should be displayed on the map in the top part of the grid. The map will automatically resize or scale itself in order to accommodate all of the selected records.

Note that the (dropoff) location will display as a colored triangle or similar icon, along with a pull-quote style balloon containing the Reservation Number (ID) and the address, city, state, zip of the location.  If you can stand to do a last bit of configuration, look below the next instruction to Final Configuration Options, for information on how to configure the displayed information as well as the icon used to mark the location on the map.

Press the F3 key OR
Right click one of the highlighted reservations and select Clear All.
This action should remove the mapped locations from the map.

Final Configuration Options

You can adjust the symbol or icons used to mark a location on the map. MS MapPoint has several standard symbols that may be used. Hudson has not tested all of the symbols, so if you have any trouble with a symbol, try resetting back to one of the basic symbols.
You can browse to the following website as one source for the code numbers that correspond to the MapPoint symbols: Click Here to visit this website.

Once you have your desired Icon selected:
Right Click on one of the column headers in your Visual Routing Grid.
Select Grid Properties
Locate and select the Colors & Font tab
Browse to the descriptions: Map Symbol and Map Symbol Selected
In the Value fields, opposite these descriptions, insert the code number for the symbol(s) you have selected.

Directly above the Map symnbols, you may determine how much information is displayed on the map by looking to the description labeled: Map Balloon type
Your options here are:
  • None - displays Icon only
  • Full - displays ID, Address, City, State, Postal Code
  • ID - displays the reservation ID only

Once your options have been set, click OK to exit the configuration window.  Save your grid once again.

TROUBLESHOOTING:
If you followed the lengthy (our apologies) instructions above, you should be good to go. One of the common issues that can occur is that a location will display quite distant from its expected location. For Example:  a location in Massachusetts will appear in Texas. Typically this is due to a problem with MS MapPoint reading or correctly interpreting the address of the location specified in the reservation. Open the reservation in HWeb Agent and ensure that the address is entered correctly, in the customary fashion (as used by the postal service) without abbreviations, stray punctuation etc.  If this continues to be a problem even after addresses have been rechecked, please consult with Hudson Tech Support.



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