Drill down maps are a great way of encouraging interactivity with geographic data. For example, if you’re creating a sales dashboard for a large retailer, you could break down sales by country, then by state, then by city, allowing your user to click down to deeper levels of detail as they go.

Enabling this type of exploratory analysis is one of the key components of good dashboard design – and a place where you can shine as a Tableau developer.

I recently used this functionality to create a dashboard showing building accessibility ratings throughout the City of Melbourne – first showing how each suburb is performing, then the individual blocks within the suburb, then the individual buildings.

Breaking it down in this way shows the areas where accessibility is better and worse, and allows users to explore why certain locations are less accessible than others.

Click to view on Tableau Public


Creating A Three Tier Drill Down Map Using Tableau

In this tutorial I demonstrate how to create a three tier drill down map using parameter actions and filters – allowing users to change their view from from a higher to lower levels of geographic granularity using the Sample Superstore dataset.

This is a versatile technique that builds on Timea Demeter‘s excellent tutorial on doing the same thing with a two level filter – and something that could be adapted to create further drill down tiers (just keep an eye on how your parameters change at each level).

Craig Dewar also has an excellent video on doing the same thing using Sets actions – however, I found that this didn’t work as well when using custom spatial objects (like those used in the Viz above). I’d recommend watching both tutorials to understand which method to use in different situations.




_Drill Down_Region to State
[Selected Region Parameter] = [Region]

_Drill Down_State to City
[Selected States Parameter]=[State]

_Drill Up_To Region
[Selected Region Parameter] = “All”

_Drill Up_To State
[Selected State Parameter] = “All”

Related Tutorials:

Creating A Dynamic Bar Chart With Set Actions
Another video tutorial using Set actions to create drill down bar charts.

Tableau GIF Tutorial: Add Drill Down To Your Chart Using Set Actions
A great tutorial from Jamie Reyes on applying drill down features to scatter plots.

3 Tier Map Drill-downs with Tableau Set Actions
An advanced tutorial from Craig Dewar on creating three layer drill down maps using Sets.

8 ways to bring powerful new comparisons to viz audiences with Tableau set actions
Bethany Lyons original blog introducing the power set actions  to create interactive dashboards.

Kieran Adair
Author: Kieran Adair