It’s day 3 into the dashboard week, and as expected we are given a new kind of challenge to tackle. That is, spatial. Yes, spatial! spatial analysis has become a huge thing nowadays as many companies begin to analyse location-based data about their customers. Thus, we are expected to be proficient in working with shape files in Tableau and create customized maps to convey insights.


The Task


Tableau has the capability to read data directly from Esri ArcGIS Server, so our task for today is to find and visualize a data of interest on, which lists a variety of data sets supporting Esri REST API. Unfortunately, when we tried to load the API link into Tableau, the majority of them did not work property. As a result, we almost all ended up using a data set about environmental planning in NSW, which contains tables like land zoning, heritage, height of building, etc.


The Analysis Process


My initial plan was to combine the land zoning table with heritage table, to see if the presence of heritage will affect land planning.  So I used the Spatial Match tool in Alteryx to match the spatial objects from the two tables. The following is the workflow I created:



Unfortunately, when I examined the output in Tableau, I wasn’t able to discover any meaningful relationship and had to gave up this initial plan. I also attempted to look at if there is any relationship between land zoning and height of buildings. But likewise, this inspection didn’t yield any meaningful correlation either. All these explorations took up quite a big chunk of my time as every time I join the tables, Tableau had to run a new query from the ArcGIS Server, which was pretty time-consuming.

In the end, due to time constraints, I decided to just look at the land zoning table by itself and compare how the land planning varies across different parts of NSW. The regions I have selected for comparison are, from North to South, Newcastle, Central Coast, Northern Beaches, Metro Sydney, Wollongong, and Shoalhaven.


Creating the Visualization


After deciding what I want to show on my dashboard, I started reading some blogs on the Internet, especially on the topic of maps, to get new inspirations on how to create more beautiful maps. I stumbled upon a blog that talks about 10 different ways to add value to your dashboard using maps. It is quite a helpful blog and certainly inspired the way I built my dashboard. I strongly recommend you check it out by following this link here.

Essentially, for my dashboard, I created six mini maps, with each one zooming into one specific region. I have disabled pan and zoom so that the views remain fixed. To add more context to the map, I take advantage of Tableau’s viz in tooltip function. Thus, when the user hover on any map, he/she will be able to see the number of land zones by category, as well as a timeline for when the land zones commenced.

This is how my eventual dashboard looks like. You can also check out the interactive version on my Tableau Public via this link.



The Insights


The speed of land zoning has significantly dropped since a few years ago. Newcastle is notably different from the other 5 regions as it has a huge area dedicated for special purposes. Excluding Newcastle and Metro Sydney, all of the remaining four regions have large expanse of land reserved for environmental purpose. It’s interesting to see there’s actually an industrial region in the Northern Beaches area.


Romy Li
Author: Romy Li

Data Consultant DSAU6