Spatial analytics using maps is an important tool to help uncover relationships between different locations. However, Tableau’s default maps when used repeatedly can look quite boring and can make it hard to effectively tell a good story. Custom maps can be used to match the colour scheme of a specific theme or even for a client. In this blog post, I will guide you through how to create custom maps using Mapbox Studio and import them into Tableau using a Christmas inspired theme.

 

Default vs Custom Map

Before (Default Tableau Map) and After (Custom Mapbox Map) mapping in Tableau.

 

Create a Mapbox Account

The first step is to create a Mapbox account. If you don’t already have a Mapbox account, you can sign up for a free account here. Otherwise, sign in here.

 

Create Custom Map

Next, create a custom map by going to Mapbox Studio and click on “New style“.

New Style

 

Next, you will be prompted to select a template. For this tutorial, we will select “Monochrome” and “Light“.

Template

 

To customise the map to have a minimal look, we can remove the labels (Country and State Labels). Do this by clicking “Place labels” in the top left and click the delete button.

Labels

 

 

To customise the colour of elements on the map, select “Manage colours” in the bottom left section. This section allows you to change various parts of the map including the colour of greenspace, hospitals, road, schools, water etc. For this tutorial, we will edit the colour of the ocean by scrolling down, clicking on “Water” and selecting a red colour.

Water Change

 

Use Custom Map in Tableau

To use this custom map we have created, we need the URL for the map. To get the URL, first publish your style using the “Publish” button in the top right and then click “Share“. Then copy the “Preview only” URL.

Share

Next, open Tableau and add the custom map to your workbook by selecting Map > Background Maps > Add Mapbox map. Then give the custom map an appropriate name and paste the URL into the URL field. Finally, select the custom map you just created to apply it.

Tableau Map

Connect to Data

The last step is to connect to a data source and plot your data on top of the map and finish the dashboard.

Custom Map

 

 

Ricky Cai
Author: Ricky Cai