12 Replies Latest reply on Apr 13, 2018 8:34 AM by Daniel Fernandez

    Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau

    Amanda Boyle

      In recent and upcoming releases, Tableau has significantly improved its support for working with spatial data and performing geospatial analysis. This session of Dev Office Hours will review the important spatial features released in the last year and a look at what is coming soon to a Tableau release near you.


      During the session, there will be plenty of time for discussion and feedback. The Maps team is hoping to learn more about how you use spatial data in Tableau and what issue(s) or limitations you run into today, and to hear what enhancements are most important to you.


      For the next week, Kent Marten, Sarah Battersby, Ashwin Kumar & team will be reading this thread and responding to your questions. Next Wednesday, March 14th, at 9am PDT, we will be hosting a live "office hours" event where you can call in and chat with us as well. This live event will cover questions plus a short demo.


      Please register for the webinar at this link: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau | Tableau Software


      In case you can't make it the session will be recorded and will be uploaded to this thread.


      :: Update 3/14/18 ::


      Thank you everyone who was able to attend the webinar!


      Here is a recording on YouTube from Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau.

      Responses to questions from the chat thread, along with additional resources will be posted in the thread below soon.


      Your Community Team




        • 1. Re: Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau
          Peter Fakan

          Hi Kent and team,


          We are heavy users of maps within Tableau dashboards as one of the primary mechanisms of conveying data about Australia/Australians. In a lot of cases this is simply a matter of dropping a geography on a map and applying a measure as a colour. We tend to place this in the top left hand side of our dashboards, giving it the largest importance and prime real estate for our visualisations. We also tend to use this as a navigation element, thus state and territory information that is derived through the rest of the visualisation is only accessible by clicking on the map.


          More recently we have been working on conveying the same data, but at different geographies - we have ABS geographies (Statistical Area 1 through 4), Aged Care Planning Regions, Primary Health Networks, State and Territory, Postcodes, the list goes on. The key element underpinning each of these geographies usually ends up being the location of the viz user more or less, but what we would like to offer is the ability to show them each of these geographies and how they apply to the users.


          Developing that thought though, we would also like the ability to convey different layers of information (i.e. smoking rates, hospitalisations, education levels) overlaid, so that for example you might be able to visually discern a link between education levels leading to higher smoking rates and then hospitalisations by looking at overlaid geographic data.


          While we have the ability to change geographies like this - Data + Science, there are limitations between my description above of what we would like to do and what we currently can do.


          Another key constraint we have been dealing with recently is our ability to manipulate what is on the screen with the map when we are using them in this way. If we head down the sheet-swapping path, and we want to have a legend for each map, each legend for each sheet demands space on the dashboard, where we would like to only see the relevant legend.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau
            Amanda Boyle

            Thanks for sharing this Peter Fakan! I am tagging Kent Marten and Sarah Battersby for visibility.


            We hope you can join the webinar on Wednesday!

            Register at this link

            • 3. Re: Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau
              Ali Motion



              I work with a variety of Emergency Services clients in the UK, all of which have their own custom geographies with different hierarchies and shapes - in fact even within the same industry such as Police or Fire there is no standard as to the level of geographies that a specific force would used.


              For me, the ability to bring in your own spatial files has been a game changer and has allowed me to utilise the power of Tableau in map building. Before this breakthrough, I'd have to create lots of static maps in other software, which were good but didn't allow the 'on-the-go' flexibility that Tableau has.


              As for what I'd like to see, I'd echo the points made above the ability to have layers that can be turned on / off within the visualisation. This would truly be a game changer for us. At the moment I do find myself cheating somewhat and creating additional layers by reading icons for fixed shapes like buildings into Mapbox, and then using the Mapbox map background within the map. Obviously this isn't ideal but is used as currently as a 'work around'


              I got very excited when watching the webcast from Devs on Stage in Vegas for the forthcoming Density mapping feature. I can already imagine some really useful user cases for this type of functionality.




              • 4. Re: Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau
                Mike Mainzer

                Literally everything Ali said, times a billion.


                Being able to add your own layers and toggle them on and off, just like you can with the standard tableau map, would be huge. I would never have a reason to use ArcMap or QGIS anymore if that were the case.

                • 5. Re: Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau
                  Daniel Fernandez



                  Thanks, great webinar, really enjoyed it!


                  • Would you mind sharing the tableau files as well as the datasets in their raw format (shapefiles, csv files, etc.) used for each of the visualizations shown in the office hour?
                  • Can I try the spatialJoin tableau version as a beta tester? Please refer me where to subscribe to that.





                  • 6. Re: Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau
                    Łukasz Majewski

                    Hi and thanks for a very informative webinar. I can't wait for the new spatial data features.


                    What I tried to ask about I presented here. In other words: will we be able to use tableau internal geo db to create groups out of known geographic elements without all this hassle? e.g. select the 26 countries that constitute EU and display as one polygon when my data uses 'EU' dimension and is not broken down to individual countries.





                    • 7. Re: Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau
                      Sarah Battersby

                      Hi Everyone -


                      I wanted to share some additional resources to follow up on the Mappy Dev Office Hours this morning.  I'll add new resources as I collect them from the team.


                      From the mappy demos and conversations this morning:

                      • Sarah's blog on the Tableau Community: Sarah Battersby's Blog .  A few posts that directly relate to topics from this morning (with how-to instructions):
                        • Dot density maps (Tableau + PostgreSQL) - this includes instructions on data sources and how-to for dynamic querying from Postgres using custom SQL in Tableau
                        • Firefly maps - includes a firefly symbol set, how to use the symbols for mapping in Tableau, and instructions on making your own custom symbols
                        • Dual axis mapping - various ways to combine different spatial and text files in Tableau for dual axis maps.  This does not include the great copy LatLon that Ashwin demoed, but the blog post may be updated when the feature releases.



                      An additional useful map resource is the Tableau Community FAQ: Maps  We update a collection of interesting blog posts, resources, questions from the forums, ideas, and videos related to maps.



                      • 8. Re: Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau
                        Peter Fakan

                        Hi Lukasz,


                        This is a slightly reverse-engineer of your situation (but should work with shapefiles), but I'm hoping you will find it works for your use case. Just replace 'Australia' with EU, and the States and Territories with EU Countries


                        Note - this solution will only work when the sum of states and territories adds up to the Australia figure. If your sum for Australia is a different number this solution will not work.


                        Step 1 - create State Parameter, note the value All with the Display As title of 'Australia'


                        Step 2 - create calculated field - note the value 1=1 for Australia


                        Step 3 - build your viz and expose parameter control


                        What occurs is when each state and territory is selected, the calculated field will select it and highlight it. When Australia is selected, Tableau defaults to 'nothing is selected' mode, and displays everything.





                        • 9. Re: Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau
                          Don Wise

                          Amanda, Kent, Sarah and Team,

                          These new features are going to be EXTREMELY helpful for those of us in Public-Safety and developing out custom dashboards with custom geometry (i.e., Fire District polygons and Fire/EMS incident points). So, THANK YOU for all the hard work and continued development with the mapping and spatial analysis side of things in Tableau!!  Much, much, much appreciated!


                          P.S. - Also, what Ali said prior

                          • 10. Re: Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau
                            Ashwin Kumar

                            Hi Everyone -


                            Thanks again for joining us on the webinar a few weeks ago. A number of viewers posted questions in the chat so I thought I'd take a second to answer some of them:


                            Q: Why wouldn't custom Latitude & Longitude work as dual axis with generated ones in rows and columns?

                            A: If I’m reading the question correctly, you are asking why custom Latitude & custom Longitude could not be added to Rows and Columns and combined via dual axis with Latitude (generated) and Longitude (generated). The most specific answer I can give is that this is a byproduct of the way our code for map detection and creation is implemented. Attempting to do this today would create a scatterplot that is likely unhelpful for your needs (several of the panels would be empty or give nonsensical results).




                            Q: I used to link two data sets by joining a common field, but the problem is when data have hierarchical relationship (1 to many relationship), there will be duplicates. Is it possible to get more information on why you used 0=1 for the full outer join? What is the rationale behind the join? I think the way you demonstrated does not create duplicates as I used to do, does it?

                            A: The 0=1 join is a trick I picked up from this blog post by Sarah Battersby. In this case, we’re joining two different data sets that share no common fields. Essentially we’re creating a union between the datasets so that every rows from both sets is included. Since you can’t union spatial files directly you can cheat the union with the full outer join on non-matching fields – the easiest way to do this is explicitly set them to be 0 and 1.




                            Q: So you wouldn't need Lat and Lon in each data set?As long as you have something geo, like city or state?

                            A: Correct. You wouldn't need to have Lat and Lon in either data set for this to work.



                            • 12. Re: Dev Office Hours: Mappy Hour – Working with Spatial Data in Tableau
                              Daniel Fernandez



                              I want to add multiple custom layers (10+ shapefiles) on a map on tableau.


                              1. It seems the only way to do this currently is by using my own custom maps. Is this correct?
                              2. Let us say 1 is true, I am using mapbox to create my own map styles that then I can render in tableau.  The problem arises when I try to also put information into these layers that are easily accessible to the user, i.e., popup info on hover/click.  So for example if one add a custom layer with zipcodes then if one clicks on a given zipcode it'll popup the zipcode number.  Is this possible?  Note: zipcode is just as an example, I will be using my own shapefiles.