4 Replies Latest reply on Nov 28, 2016 11:12 PM by Ed Specht

    How flexible is it to create custom icons for scatter plots based on data field?

    Ed Specht

      Wow!  Simply blown away by the capabilities of Tableau.  But not quite convinced it is the tool i am looking for.

      Before i take the plunge and expend lots of time doing a deeper dive into Tableau i hope someone might be so kind as to review my objective below and confirm that Tableau has the capabilities i seek.  Please understand, i am not seeking help to get started with this project, I realize that would be a big ask.  I am asking if it appears that the feature list below is something that Tableau has the capability to support, which is a big enough request.

      I am specifically looking for a mapping tool and went thru the getting started and most of the mapping training videos.

      The "Expanding Tableau's Mapping Capabilities" headed in the direction I am looking for (Bank of China branches w manager and employee details) .  I am seeking a mapping tool that will allow me to build a map of US Restaurants that have been favorably reviewed on TV, locations from shows like Diners Drive-ins and Dives or Man V Food.  I have been able to build a single axis map in Google My Maps but would like to be able to have additional axes available to filter by.

      A picture is worth 1K words so if interested you can see a small sample here:

      Philly & S NJ to Visit

      This map has an icon on the map for each mapped location.  The icon is a custom image and varies according to a single column in the data table(show that featured the location).  It is possible to have layers with a unique shows locations in each layer and filter the layers to only display locations from the show(s) you are interested in.  I would like to build the same capability in Tableau with the added ability to have multiple axes / columns on which to filter, such as only places that serve hamburgers, or pizza or only places i have not yet visited, or places with Monday hours or any combination of the above.

      It appears to me that Tableau has the capability to do most of this.  The questions that are not easily identifiable from the training videos i reviewed are:

           A.  Confirmation that specific locations can be readily mapped with details about that location available by clicking on the point.

           B.  Is there any limit on the number of individual locations that can be mapped on a single map, for example Google Maps only allows 5 layers with a limit of 2,000 points per layer for a total of 10,000 locations.

           C.  Can the scatter plot points be different according to different characteristics of the data?  So a different icon would appear at locations where a specified field contains "Show A", while a different icon would appear if that field contains "Show B" (as in the example link).

           D.  Can those different icons be custom image files or only limited to the existing Tableau icon choices (circle, X, etc.)

           E.  If item C is possible, is it also possible to have the icon vary according to a calculation of multiple fields rather than just the entry in one field.

           F.  Is there any limit to the number of fields / data elements that can be attached to and or displayed for each location? (eg. Google has a limit of 50 data elements per map point)

       

      Greatly appreciate any input on the above.  Looking forward in anticipation to being able to use this marvelous tool to implement my project.

      Thanks

      ed

        • 1. Re: How flexible is it to create custom icons for scatter plots based on data field?
          Bora Beran

          The answer is yes to all but here is some detail that night help you figure out how to achieve them.

           

          You can put your own images in a folder under Tableau Repository > Shapes to use them as custom icons. You will see that Tableau already has folders with some custom image examples there. You can use PNGs with transparency as well so it is pretty flexible. I have used 360 icons before so I don't think you will run into any issues with limits.

           

          You can put millions of data points without any problems.

           

          You need to put the field(s) that differentiate different types of locations on the Shape shelf to show different icons based on their properties.

           

          Shape shelf doesn't allow multiple fields but you can combine fields (Combine Fields) or manually concatenate them in a calculated field and than drag that. E.g. if you have location type and subtype. You can either use the method shown in Combine Fields link or do a Type+Subtype in a calculated field and use the resulting field on shape shelf.

           

          You can put as many data elements as you want. If you don't want to put all of them in the tooltip (on hover) you can also create a dashboard and break it into two sheets and create an action that filters the second sheet based on the selections in the first. E.g. if user clicks on site A, then show the 100 line table about site A.

          2 of 2 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: How flexible is it to create custom icons for scatter plots based on data field?
            Ed Specht

            Wonderful thorough response.  Thanks so much for taking the time.

            ed

            • 3. Re: How flexible is it to create custom icons for scatter plots based on data field?
              Simon Runc

              hi Ed,

               

              So I will do my best to answer your questions...but we may need a bit of "to and fro" so I understand your requirements fully...

               

                   A.  Confirmation that specific locations can be readily mapped with details about that location available by clicking on the point.

              Yes. You can either bring in Long/Lat as fields, and Tableau will plot them. It also has some inbuilt geography (which is richest for the US), so if you have a ZipCode, City...etc. in you data Tableau will automatically pick this up and generate the Long/Lat fields to plot them on a map. If the details for that location are in the data (say as you have in your KML...Address, Website, rating...etc.)  then yes you can create something very similar to your Google slide out panel (on select/hover), or you can add them to the tool-tip, so they show on hover.

               

              B.  Is there any limit on the number of individual locations that can be mapped on a single map, for example Google Maps only allows 5 layers with a limit of 2,000 points per layer for a total of 10,000 locations.

              In Tableau each point/mark, be that a scatter plot, map...etc. doesn't have a limit (it will let you plot millions of marks if you want...you may start getting performance issues if the number is crazy-high...but this is just the sheer rendering of that many points on map)...you may like to look at this test vs Power BI (3danim8's Blog - Test 1 of Tableau Vs Power BI: Topographic Mapping ...this is a crazy number of marks!). In terms of layers, it depends what you mean by layers? In Tableau a map is really just a scatter plot with a map layer on the canvas, and for any Tableau chart we can only have 2 Axis (which we can Dual, to overlay). So you could have population as a Choropleth (area filled) map on one layer, and then restaurants (as points) plotted on the other. If you do want more layers (using the GIS type layers) you can use something like MapBox (or for free, but more work, WMS/Geoserver is supported). Here you can build up the layers, as in traditional GIS, and then use that map in Tableau (however you won't have access to theses layers....in that the map is "flattened" and that image becomes the base)...If you can let me know what you mean in terms of layers, I can let you know if that's possible

               

              C.  Can the scatter plot points be different according to different characteristics of the data?  So a different icon would appear at locations where a specified field contains "Show A", while a different icon would appear if that field contains "Show B" (as in the example link).

              Absolutely...and only a few drag and drops

                D.  Can those different icons be custom image files or only limited to the existing Tableau icon choices (circle, X, etc.)

              Yes you can import any icons you want (and as many)...just save any icons you want to use into you Repository/Shapes folder and they are there to use

               

              E.  If item C is possible, is it also possible to have the icon vary according to a calculation of multiple fields rather than just the entry in one field.

              Absolutely...you can either drag a calculated field (continuous or discrete) onto the colour or size shelf and the icons would be sized/coloured by that measure (btw the icons need to be .png to have transparent backgrounds and to "take" colour). Again just a couple of drag and drops

               

                 F.  Is there any limit to the number of fields / data elements that can be attached to and or displayed for each location? (eg. Google has a limit of 50 data elements per map point)

              Not that I'm aware of...You can keep dragging dimensions onto the ToolTop and they will display on hover. You can add as many filters as you want. Again this is theoretical...how practical is it for the end user to have 90 drop-down filters?

               

              In short...the map from the link you sent...assuming that all the data in you KLM/XML was organised into headers and columns, would take about 20-30 mins to do in Tableau (and that's including downloading and assigning the custom images). Now not my fave Viz in the world (to be fair, this Viz is the starting point of a presentation on how to "Pimp your Viz"...final version is cool)...but this Pokemon Go viz shows many of the elements you've described (Map Layer has been customised in MapBox, so it looks like Pokemon-style; custom icons for Pokemon characters...and if you hover over the Pokemon on the map you'll see the tooltip with lots of fields in)

              Tableau Public

               

              and this one here, demonstrating nearly every element you want

               

              Tableau Public

               

              I'd also add that the forthcoming Tableau Beta has Shapefile support (just load you shapefiles directly into Tableau)...We've not had the Beta yet (due very very soon), and so will be a few months until it's fully released)

               

              Hope that helps