Spatial analytics can be useful for understanding patterns and relationships in data that are geographically based, such as crime rates, population data, etc. In this blog, I am to focus on Alteryx’s capability to solve geographical problems by covering:

  • The Poly-Build and Poly-Split tools and;
  • Alteryx challenges #6 and #27.

 

Spatial Fundamentals in Alteryx

Working with spatial data, it is important to be able to create and manipulate polygons. In Alteryx, this is where the Poly-Build and Poly-Split tools come in.

The Poly-Build tool allows users to create custom polygons or polylines by combining points, which is based on a specific criteria defined by build methods (defined below), source, group and sequence fields. The following shows the description of each build method sourced from the Alteryx example provided.

Figure 1: Poly-Build Configuration Descriptions

On the other hand, the Poly-Split tool allows users to divide an existing polygon into its points or regions. The following shows the description of each split method sourced from the Alteryx example provided.

Figure 2: Poly-Split Configuration Descriptions

In short, the Poly-Build and Poly-Split tools are essential for users and analysts who are working with spatial tasks. Let’s give these tools a try to help us solve Alteryx challenges! If you want to give these challenges a go before reading on, here are the links again for Alteryx challenges #6 and #27 for you to try before comparing solutions. For each of my walk-throughs, most of the details will be covered in the spatial tool configurations, followed by a high-level overview of my entire solution.

 

Alteryx Challenge #6: Spatial Route

The Problem:

Sales reps are travelling all over the US. The data contained in the workflow details the travel paths for 7 Reps to 7 different cities. The travel route is detailed as well.

The objective is to determine which Rep has logged the most miles. Please include the route traveled as a spatial object in the output.

My Solution:

Step 1: Understand the data. The Centroid field contains a spatial object – a point defined by coordinates (longitude, latitude) which can be viewed via a Browse tool.

Figure 3: Input Dataset

The following illustrates the points produced from a Browse tool.

Figure 4: Map View of the Centroids

Step 2: Connect the data to the input anchor of the Poly-Build tool with the following configuration.

Figure 5: Poly-Build Configuration

To translate, this configuration is commanding to build a sequenced polyline using the spatial objects from the Centroid field for each representative (REP) in order of the TripOrder field. The following illustrates the polylines produced from a Browse tool.

Figure 6: Map View of the Polylines

Steps 3 – N: The following set of tools (annotations attached) represent the workflow of my solution.

Figure 7: My Solution to Alteryx Challenge #6

If you want to view my solution, you can download my solution from the Alteryx community here.

 

Alteryx Challenge #27: Spatial Telco Coverage Smoothing

The Problem:

A wireless telecommunications company wants to remove holes and splatter from their coverages for simple map display. Splatter can be define as unnecessary pieces of the whole polygon.

Objective: Remove all splatter less than 2 square miles and holes from the coverage area.

This exercise can generate varying answers based on the configuration of the spatial tools used for the process. As a result the exercise does not contain an output.

My Solution:

Step 1: Understand the data. The dataset contains one record and a SpatialObj field which represents a polygon.

Figure 8: Input Dataset

The following illustrates the polygon produced from a Browse tool.

Figure 9: Map View of Polygon

Step 2: To remove splatter (holes) with an area of less than 2 square miles, connect the data to the input anchor of the Poly-Split tool with the following configuration.

Figure 10: Poly-Split Configuration

Splitting into Detailed Regions outputs all spatial objects, including holes. The following illustrates the polygons produced from a Browse tool, as well as a results window to show which polygons are holes.

Figure 11: Map View of the Detail Regions

Figure 12: Flagging Holes

Steps 3 – N: The following set of tools (annotations attached) represent the workflow of my solution.

Figure 13: My Solution to Alteryx Challenge #27

If you want to view my solution, you can download my solution from the Alteryx community here.

 

Overall, both the Poly-Build and Poly-Split tools are useful for anyone who are analysing spatial data and producing visualisations of data in a geographic context. Give them (and the other spatial tools) a try and see how they can help you with your data!