Chapter 6Maps

From subway networks to weather forecasts to tourist guides, we are used to seeing maps conveying geographic information. When you want to display geographic data, you can utilize this familiarity to draw the end user into your data visualization. Furthermore, maps also help you see regional patterns that might be difficult to spot in a table.

Three basic map types in Tableau can be used to display geographic data in map form: symbol maps, filled maps, and density maps. With symbol maps, specific geographic locations are marked with circles, squares, or custom shapes. The form, size, or color of these marks can vary according to a measure or dimension.

With filled maps, also called choropleth maps, geographic areas are shaded according to a measure or dimension.

With density maps, also called heatmaps, areas of relative concentration are colored intensely, while those with sparse occurrences of the dimension in question are colored lightly. They are a good alternative to symbol maps when high concentrations of marks make it impossible to gauge the spatial distribution of individual marks.

Some of these map types can also be combined with each other, and sometimes it can make sense to add secondary information via a pop‐up chart in the tooltips (a feature called Viz in tooltip).

Many commonly used geographic entities such as country, state, or city names are recognized by Tableau automatically. But you can also import spatial data to visualize more specialized geographic ...

Get Visual Analytics with Tableau now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.