9 Replies Latest reply on Aug 8, 2016 5:42 AM by Nicholas Hura

    Design Help for Filled Map with a Summary

    Susan Martucci

      I want to show some summarized information on a map.  I have written before asking for help to get the information on the map, but the question this time is more about aesthetics and using good design principles to get this information out to our audience.


      To Pie or Not to Pie – I have read all the terrible things about using Pie charts and I understand how difficult they are to process for comparison -  however, they give a good overview of the data I want to share.


      The data is registered teams in FIRST (a k-12 program to get kids interested and engaged in STEM). There are four different team types and each has a distinctive branded color.  I am working on the Washington State data.  Washington is divided into 8 regions based on counties.  For each registered team, I have the program (1 of 4 types), the region, county, city, zip code.

      My goal is to show the number of teams registered in each of the four programs in each of the 8 regions.


      This example is last year’s data (my first effort) using Excel Powermap and Word to place boxes. This graphic was intended as a tool for internal use, but ended up getting printed and shared outside the organization (ugh, I was a bit embarrassed).

      WA Teams 2014-15 by Region.png

      This year, I have updated data and more knowledge using Tableau and reading about design principles, but I am unable to wrap my head around alternatives to show the data.

      To make things easier for me, I have created a Mapbox map with the regions shaded so this map lays on the background and I don’t have to use up an axis just to get the counties and regions shaded properly.  I'm not sure which colors to use to keep the region data in the background and not emphasized but still differentiate the regions.


      One other piece of data that I use is called a Rollup County. I was having trouble mapping my regions which are just groups of counties.  I ended up with information on each county, so I assigned each region to have a single county (the Rollup County) where the data for the entire region can be summarized.


      I would love for the community to take a look at this project and help me with ideas about how to share this information in manner that follows good graphic design principles and gets the information out in a format that is useful and understandable.


      Examples of what I have tried so far… (unfortunately, my workbook was created in the 10 beta version, so probably is not readable to most people).  I have included the data file here though.

      Map wPie.png

      Map with Pie Charts.  Each Pie could have 1-4 slices representing the number of teams in each program.

      Map with Lollipops.png

      Dots showing concentration of teams and 'small multiples' showing number of teams in each program.

      Map Plus Team Info Dashboard.png

      Dashboard showing a map with the region names and then separate summary charts showing number of teams in each region as well as number of teams in each program.


      Thank you in advance for sharing your ideas.


        • 1. Re: Design Help for Filled Map with a Summary
          Susan Martucci

          I have continued to try various options for this project.  One feature I think is very important is the map location of the various regions.  This summary of location in Washington is not standard and up to now has mostly been used internally.  We are trying to get our audience used to looking at the data by region instead of statewide.  The King County data (Seattle area) skews the results for many things that we do because of population density.


          What does the community think of this option to show registered teams by program in the eight regions?


          Another question is whether I should do anything different with the red bar for King County which is 3-4 times larger than any other bar and makes the entire graph very wide.


          Thanks for your feedback,


          2 of 2 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Design Help for Filled Map with a Summary
            Susan Martucci

            I had this question in the regular forum, but moved it to Viz Talk to see if I could get any responses.


            I looked at a Viz by Nicholas Hura here: Are the Kids Alright? | Tableau Public


            This concept of a box with bar chart above areas is intriguing to me for my regions in Washington state.  I have downloaded the viz from tableau public, but have not been able to recreate it exactly.  Nicholas Hura, could you give me some assistance.  I am able to get the individual data points in the right place on the page, but the bars and boxes with labels are not working for me and I don't understand what step I am missing.


            Unfortunately, I opened the Workbook in Tableau 10 beta and then saved it.  I have included it here and also a screenshot showing how far I have been able to reproduce the Viz.




            • 3. Re: Design Help for Filled Map with a Summary
              Shawn Wallwork

              I think this version (lollipop chart)  is a great solution. You could probably lose the axis to de-clutter it since you are labeling all the marks anyway. Otherwise looks good. Oh and I don't think the King county skew is too much. You can still read everything. I think it works fine as a wide chart.



              • 4. Re: Design Help for Filled Map with a Summary
                Shawn Wallwork

                This one (boxes on a map) doesn't work very well. I think you should use a similar technique the one for washington. Most of us don't recognize counties but almost all of us recognize state. So instead of doing a 'map' you can do something like this instead:


                Just drop state onto the row shelf, then change the mark type to Filled Map and you'll get the viz above. Then you can add in the lollipop chart to the right like you did in the other viz.





                2 of 3 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Design Help for Filled Map with a Summary
                  Nicholas Hura

                  Hi Susan,


                  Thanks for reaching out as I did not see the original post in the forums. It's pretty fun to see that one of my creations may actually be implemented in a real business process as I was attempting to push the limits of my creativity in Tableau. With that being said, be aware that this visualization does not follow the "Best Practices" for every aspect. While it is beautiful to look at, I will admit that it may not be the most practical method for comparing state rankings as the bars are quite small. I created it more for just a general overview. But with that being said, it is definitely something different that could be improved upon. I was hoping someone like you would come along and put their personal touch on it, and I love what you have so far. Also, I've included the steps needed to finish the viz below.


                  When trying to re-create my viz, I noticed a few things that may be causing your issues. I picked up where you left off to try and make sure I didn't miss anything.


                  1. Select the Measure Values mark (the bars) and drag Measure Values to text. You will then set the Alignment to Horizontal: Auto, Direction: Normal, Vertical: Middle, Wrap: Auto. Also make sure to select Highlighted for Marks to Label. (This part is fussy sometimes so you may need to try it a few times).

                  2. For the Label Box, you have Measure Values as the detail. You want to replace Measure Values with the State field.

                  3. Also, remove Label Box from the list of Measure Values so that way it will highlight the entire box and not display 0 above it.

                  4. The only thing left to do is formatting, hiding headers and such, which you can do however you would like.


                  If you have any other questions or concerns feel free to reach out as I'd be glad to help.




                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Design Help for Filled Map with a Summary
                    Kim Wayman

                    I tried this Shawn and never rec'd the drop down menu of States.  Yikes, what did I do wrong?

                    • 7. Re: Design Help for Filled Map with a Summary
                      Shawn Wallwork

                      So it really is as simple as I described. In Superstore:

                      1. Drag State field to the row shelf. (You'll see the names of all the states listed.)
                      2. Change the mark type from 'Automatic' to 'Filled Map'


                      This produces the screenshot I showed. The only two reasons I can think of that it might not be working for your is:

                      1. You're using an old version of Tableau (what version are you using?)
                      2. You are trying this on a Mac.


                      Otherwise it really should work.





                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Design Help for Filled Map with a Summary
                        Susan Martucci

                        Nicholas Hura - Thank you for taking the time to give me more information on how to construct this viz.  I have not been able to spend any time on the project recently, but I want to get back to it and I really appreciate your help.