Tableau Maps

In the latest Times, every business organisation is meeting and attaining its deliverables at the right time based on the information. We are living in the technological world, which ultimately deals with the information within it. We have often entered into an age called information age, that is leading to the development within a short span of time. The data consists of the insights of the organisation that would help in making precise decisions and best possible actions. It is tough for us to analyse and understand the trends of the huge amount of data. Hence, the visualisation tools and data processing tools have made their way in diagnosing and managing the data efficiently. Tableau is one of the top business intelligence tools that will help in visualisation and managing of the data by making use of tableau maps. In this blog, you will gain an understanding of what a tableau map is, its types and when and why it has to be used.

What is a Tableau Maps?

Tableau maps are the way of Representation of the data in Tableau. Tableau maps are called data visualisation components that help us in understanding the data quickly and efficiently. It looks interesting, attractive and appealing when the information is represented in the form of maps. They are usually used to show demographic data like housing, income, population, household rates etc.

Maps are found to be highly interactive and advantageous over the other charts available in Tableau when you want to plot some democratic or Geographic data on a plot. Though information is represented in the form of tables efficiently, it is hard for us to understand and analyse the trends to make some precise decisions. In such scenarios, Maps play a vital role in Tableau over the other available charts.

Why do you put the data on a map?

Till now, we have understood that maps help us in understanding and performing the data analysis. But have you ever thought why do we actually put the data on the map or represent the data on the map? There are many reasons why the data has to be represented on the map. It could be related to some location data, or it could be some possible scenario wherein a map could make your data pop up etc.

Maps in Tableau also have the capability to provide the resolution or answers for the spatial questions. You might not be aware of their spacial questions. Let me give you a few examples of spatial questions.

1. Which state has more number of farmer market in the US?
2. Where did storms move over a period of time?
3. Which country or state has the highest literacy rate in India?
4. Where are the people checking out and returning bikes from their local bike share program?
5. Which metro station is highly crowded with the people in my city?

For the questions above, tableau maps provide the best possible answers. These answers help us to analyse the trends quickly.

When should you use a map to represent the data?

As of now, every business organisation is keenly running using some business intelligence tools and data visualisation tools. Tableau is a platform that provides the users and business organisations to run the analytics efficiently on a real-time basis. Tableau is the only business intelligence tool that provides the answers for the spatial questions which has brought up the popularity and uniqueness towards it.

If you have to answer the spatial question, a map view would be a great way of representing and getting an answer from it. However, it would not be the same scenario or the same case always.

Let us take an example of the spatial question to represent in above: Which state has the most farmer markets? In such scenarios, it could be challenging to identify the number of farmer markets and bar charts would be more flexible, easy to understand and provide the resolution of the answer to the question.

When you need an answer to a question, you need first to think whether you could answer your question faster and easier with another visualisation. If you believe the answer is yes, then a map you would not be the best visualisation for the data that you are using. If the answer is no, then map view will be the best visualisation component that you would choose to get the answer. This is one of the Thumb Rules followed when performing analytics and understanding business analytics or trends.

The map view or the maps in Tableau have to be beautiful and appealing, without any data interpretation. It is imperative to focus during the map creation that will help in representing the data accurately and attractively.

Types of maps in Tableau:

Tableau has come up with the feature of Data Analytics in the form of maps. Tab also offers different types of maps that can be created when you are trying to retrieve the answers for your questions. There are six types of maps in Tableau. They are listed below. 

1. Point distribution maps
2. Proportional symbol maps
3. Heat maps for density maps
4. Flow maps or path maps
5. Spider-Maps or origin-destination maps
6. Choropleth maps or filled maps

Let us have a quick review of the different maps available in Tableau.

Point distribution maps:

The point distribution maps are the types of maps in a tableau that can be used to determine the answer whenever you want to show some approximate locations. It also helps you to provide the exact answer when you are looking for the various clusters of data.

Let us take an example of a question, where were the hailStorms in the US last year?

For the answer to the above question, you can create a point distribution map that will help you to spot any clusters. The below diagram represents the point distribution map.


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Proportional symbol maps:

Proportional simple maths are the type of maths available in a tableau that help you in showing the quantitative data for individual locations. Let us take an example of a question, where were the earthquakes taking place around the world?

For the answer to the above question, it would be great if the proportional symbol maps are created to identify and spot the areas where the earthquakes took place. The below diagram represents the proportional symbol maps.


Heat maps:

Heat maps are also called density maps. Heat maps are another type of maps available in a tableau that will help you in understanding or showing a trend for visual clusters of data. Let us take an example of a question, in which areas of Manhattan do we find more cab or taxi pickups?

To answer the above question, a visually represented map or heat map should be created to retrieve the correct answer or spot the right answer. Using the density map for the heat map, the highest cab pickup area can be identified easily. The below diagram represents the heat maps.


Flow maps:

The flow maps are also called the path maps. The flow maps are being used to connect the parts across a map to see or identify where something went over time. Let us take an example of a question, track the path of major storms across the world over a period of time.

To answer the above question, you will need to create a flow map or a path map. The below diagram represents the flow map.


Spider Maps:

Spider Maps are also called origin-destination maps. A spider map is used to identify or show how and origin location and one or more destination locations interact with each other. Let us take an example of a question, how can you track the path between the metro station on the map or how can you track the bike share rides from origin or one or more destinations.

To answer the above question, a Spider map has to be created to help you determine the path between one origin to the other. The below diagram helps you to understand how spider maps help in analysing the data.


Choropleth Maps:

The Choropleth Maps are also called as filled maps in Tableau. Choropleth Maps are used to show the ratio data. Let's take an example of a question, can you determine the obesity rates of every country across the United States?

To answer the above question, a Choropleth Map should be created and it will be great to see if you can spot any spatial trends. The below diagram represents the Choropleth Maps and its spotting in Tableau.


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Ways to make magnificent maps in Tableau:

Maps in the Tableau are found to be useful as they help us in decoding the latitude and longitude combinations instantly, allowing us to review the patterns between the Geographic locations. The maps in the Tableau are easy to create as Tableau comes up pre-packaged with thousands of Geographic coordinates all over the world. There are tips to be followed or ways to be followed to make magnification maps in Tableau.
Following are the three ways to create magnificent maps in Tableau.

1. Using a dual-axis to format marks.
2. Unlock the 14 additional map styles by integrating Mapbox
3. Create a dual Axis map with the combination of generated and custom lat-long coordinates

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Tableau is one of the best business intelligence platforms that help in performing the analytics and leading to the development of the organisation. Hence it has been identified as a great tool in the business intelligence industry. It's visualisation techniques, and unique features have got a way to represent the data more undoubtedly. I hope the above information is helpful for you. I think it is highly recommended to get trained and certified in tableau or business intelligence tools as every organisation is looking for professionals or the individuals who have a piece of in-depth knowledge on it. Learn more and develop an advanced career.

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Research Analyst
As a senior Technical Content Writer for HKR Trainings, Gayathri has a good comprehension of the present technical innovations, which incorporates perspectives like Business Intelligence and Analytics. She conveys advanced technical ideas precisely and vividly, as conceivable to the target group, guaranteeing that the content is available to clients. She writes qualitative content in the field of Data Warehousing & ETL, Big Data Analytics, and ERP Tools. Connect me on LinkedIn.