Geographic maps are very intuitive, visually appealing, and crucial for representing geo-spatial data in data analysis. There can be various uses of geographical maps such as analyzing and showing :

  • population distribution
  • sales and/or profits by region, country, states, or cities
  • logistics requirements
  • paths
  • store locations, etc

In Tableau maps are the most effective way of showing geographical data. For example, if I show sales for each state on a map using color gradient, I will get an overview of which states are experiencing high sales and which are not. This allows me to think in direction of how to provide more stocks for these states and further drilldown for states which are selling poorly and why.

Now if we consider showing different or same attributes on same map at same or different geographical hierarchy, is it even possible? Answer is yes, it is possible. We need to use Tableau’s extremely useful functionality of map layers. Using map layers, we can show multiple measures on same geographical hierarchy level or same measure at different geographical hierarchy level by adding layers to same map.

To demonstrate this let us use superstore data and try and show profit at both region and state level.

We can use layer control to see map at selected layer.

Profit at Region level layer:

Profit at State level layer:

This can boost our geographical analysis by allowing us to use different layers in context of one another without the use of any background maps. The ability to toggle between all the layers allows more interactivity.

Hope this motivates you to start building insightful maps using maps layers. Happy vizing!

The Data School
Author: The Data School