6 Tableau Map Examples And How to Create Them From Scratch

Maps have a long and storied history and are still used in our everyday routines to help us navigate on-road journeys or comprehend the proximity of two locations.

Until lately, maps were fixed and printable, limiting the number of business applications.

As information monitoring and presentation became more sophisticated, information on maps became more digital, collaborative, and appealing.

Viewing location tracking mapped and used in visualizations has increased audience understanding while also providing crucial new context.

The article will explain different Tableau map examples visualizations along with steps to create each of them. If you have recently started learning about Tableau, check out this guide on what is Tableau used for and the difference between Tableau vs Minitab.

Creating Maps On Tableau

Tableau has features that allow people to create a variety of maps and graphics for their geographical study.

You can make a filled (polygon) or a simple point map similar to the examples below if you’re new to maps or merely want to reap the benefits of Tableau’s built-in mapping features.

What are the basic requirements for creating maps in Tableau?

Your information source must have location data such as location names or GPS coordinates in order to create a simple map.

Understanding Tableau’s basic features for map creation

Tableau’s primary features include the following:

Sources of Information:

Tableau integrates with a wide range of data storage platforms, including

  • Cloud-based systems
  • Relational databases
  • File systems

Visualizations that appeal:

Tableau enables users to build various types of data visualizations. Users may quickly build simple visualizations like a Pie Chart or a Bar Chart and more complicated visualizations like a Bullet Chart, Boxplot, or Gantt Chart.

Cross-data merge and wildcard coalition:

Tableau allows users to execute Cross-Data Join and Union operations. This reduces the hurdles and time-consuming workarounds that were previously required due to the extensive use of several data sources.

Filtering across data sources:

Tableau allows users to run the filter operation across many data sources simultaneously for data with common dimensions.

How to Create a Tableau Point Map in 10 Steps

The procedures for creating a point map on Tableau are as follows.

  1. Go to one of the worksheets.
  2. Double-click State in the Data pane’s Dimensions section.
  3. Since the State field is a geographical field, a map view is created automatically.
  4. Move the Sales card from Measures to the Marks card.
  5. The data points on the map are updated to represent the proportional amount of sales.
  6. Choose Maps, then Map Layers.
  7. Do the following now:
  8. Select Normal from the Style drop-down menu.
  9. Clear Country/Region Names under Map Layers.
  10. With the new settings, the background map is updated.

Tableau Point Map

Source: Tableau

How to Make a Simple (Polygon) Filled Map in 6 Steps

  1. Go to a different worksheet.
  2. Double-click State in the Data pane’s Dimensions section.
  3. A map view is built automatically.
  4. Select map from the Mark Type drop-down on the Marks card. A filled (polygon) map appears in the map view.
  5. Drag Sales to Color on the Marks card from Dimensions.
  6. The map’s polygons change color to reflect the number of sales.

Polygon Filled Map

Source: Tableau

6 Examples of Different Types of Tableau Maps

Depending on your business goals and visualization requirements, Tableau Desktop allows you to create the following types of maps. The following are the various types of customized maps that Tableau can create:

  1. Custom Choropleth or Filled Tableau maps

    Choropleth, also known as filled maps, is great for visualizing ratio data or statistical data on specific geographic locations in various shading patterns or symbols.

    Data for polygons is best visualized using choropleth maps. Polygons can represent countries, states, regions, or places that Tableau can geocode. One example showing the obesity rate in the US is as follows:

    1. Select New Worksheet from the drop-down list or press CTRL+M on the Worksheet Tab. A new sheet will be shown.
    2. Select the State option from the State, Country dimension and navigate to the sheet.
    3. Now, choose Alaska, the United States, as your data point for example.
    4. Hover your mouse over it and select Exclude.
    5. Follow the same procedure for Hawaii. An improved version of the map will appear.
    6. To get information about all countries, click the + symbol next to State.
    7. Hover your mouse over Percent- 2012 and select the color option.
    8. From the Color icon, click Edit Colors to acquire the obesity percentage range.
    9. Click Apply after selecting the Purple color.
    10. From the Color icon, select the Effect option.
    11. From the Border drop-down menu, choose None. The Choropleth’s result will be displayed on your screen.
    12. Tableau chooses the default color distribution for the map. If you want to make changes, go back to the Edit Color option. Enter 8 for the Stepped color. Close the window by clicking the Apply button.
    13. Follow the same steps as before, except choose 5.
    14. For 4 Stepped Color, you’ll receive a map view.

    You will see that obesity rates are greater in the South if you choose four instead of 5.

    On the other hand, Prior Maps show an equitable distribution of colors or obesity rates across the United States (US).

    While all of the maps are useful for displaying aggregate statistics, each also provides detailed information on obesity prevalence in other countries.

    Custom Choropleth or Filled Tableau maps

    Source: Tableau

    Remove the County from the Marks chart if you wish to plot the map for a State Level detail. You can see that Texas and Georgia have the highest obesity rates.

  2. Path or Flow custom maps in Tableau

    In Tableau, flow maps are also known as path maps. Tableau frequently employs these maps to depict a Path through time.

    Flow is ideal for depicting a specific object’s travel from one location to another over time, such as the route of a storm.

    Thunder stores are the perfect example; you can get the location of where a storm began and concluded.

    An example is as follows:

    1. Open Tableau on a desktop.
    2. Create a new workbook.
    3. Move the Latitude and Longitude coordinates using the drag-and-drop method.
    4. In the Marks window, choose the Storm Name and drag it over the Details icon.
    5. To apply filters, go to the Data pane and drag the Date to the Filters box.
    6. Pick a year, like 2012.
    7. Close the window by clicking Apply.
    8. Repeat for Bhasin, but choose the West Pacific region this time for example.
    9. From the Map tab, choose Normal Background.
    10. From the Marks pane in the finished map, choose a Line.
    11. From the Data pane, drag the Date icon over the Path icon. Due to the lack of an accurate date, this will erase the line.
    12. Select an Exact Date option from the Date parameter.
    13. From the Data window, drag the Wind Speed (kt) icon over the Size icon.
    14. Select the Average parameter by right-clicking on the Wind Speed (kt).

    Path or Flow custom maps in Tableau

    Source: Tableau

    To finish the Flow Map, place Storm Name above the Colors symbol.

  3. Proportional Symbol Tableau custom maps

    Individual location quantitative data can be visualized using proportional symbol maps. It displays data for one or two numerical values per place. (One value is encoded with color, while the other is encoded with size.)

    Let’s take a look at the magnitudes of Earthquakes that occurred between 1981 and 2014 worldwide. For further information, Tableau allows you to color the data point locations by magnitude. Download the Example Workbook first.

    1. Open Tableau Desktop.
    2. Create a new workbook.
    3. Drag the Latitude and Longitude coordinates onto the sheet.
    4. From the Data pane, choose the ID and drag it over the Details.
    5. Select Add All Members from the dialogue box that appears.
    6. Go to Size in Marks and select Magnitude 10.
    7. Select the Color by Magnitude option.
    8. From the Color icon, select Edit Colors.
    9. Choose your favorite color, opacity (70%), and border.
    10. Select 8 from the Stepped Color menu.
    11. Select Reversed from the drop-down menu.
    12. Select Advanced, then Center, and then enter 7.
    13. Select the Sort option by right-clicking on the ID.
    14. For Sort Order, select Descending.
    15. Select Fields from the Sort By menu, then Magnitude.
    16. Click the OK button.
    17. Choose a suitable background for your map. Your final map will arrive.

    Proportional Symbol Tableau custom maps

    Source: Tableau

  4. Custom Tableau maps for Point Distribution

    Organizations can use point distribution maps to visualize how the locations of specific data points are shared.

    Point distribution maps are frequently used to display approximate locations and hunt for data clusters that can be represented.

    Your data source should provide Latitude and Longitude coordinates if you want to construct a data distribution map in Tableau.

    1. Select a New Worksheet in Tableau Desktop.
    2. Select the Latitude dimension from the drop-down menu.
    3. Choose a geographical role.
    4. Select the Latitude option.
    5. Select the Longitude dimension from the drop-down menu.
    6. Choose a geographical role.
    7. Select the Longitude option.
    8. Select both the Longitude and Latitude dimensions with a double-click.
    9. Select Dimension from the AVG(Longitude) menu.
    10. Select Dimension from the AVG(Latitude) menu.
    11. Select the Size option.
    12. Slide the bar over to the left.
    13. To see the complete picture, zoom in on the graph.

    Custom Tableau maps for Point Distribution

    Source: Tableau

  5. Tableau custom maps for Heat or Density

    In Tableau, heat maps are also known as density maps. Heat maps are an effective way to make enormous amounts of data understandable.

    One of the best ways to notice trends and figure out what to do next is to use heat maps. In comparison to other maps, heat maps are self-explanatory and intuitive.

    The Heat map can be used to determine user activity on a website.

    If you want to know which area or content on a page has received the most and least clicks on a website, use a heat map that highlights the area where users have clicked the most with black color and gives light color to areas where users have paid no or little attention.

    1. Go to the Marks pane first.
    2. Select Automatic from the drop-down menu.
    3. From the drop-down option, choose Density.
    4. When the data points in a small geographic region are larger, Tableau Desktop allows you to generate more effective heat maps.

      However, your data source must provide Longitude and Latitude coordinates to generate heat maps.

    5. Open Tableau Desktop.
    6. Create a new sheet.
    7. Assign PickupLatitude the Latitude Geographical Role.
    8. Assign PickupLongitude to the Geographical Role of Longitude.
    9. Select Pickuplongitude with a double-click.
    10. Select Pickuplatitude with a double-click.
    11. Drag the ID dimension to Sheet from the Data pane.
    12. In the Marks pane, select the Density option to generate simple heat.
    13. Change the map’s appearance by selecting color options from the Color parameter.
    14. Reduce the intensity level to 50% and examine the map.
    15. Select the Maps option.
    16. Select the Background Maps.
    17. Instead of Light, choose Dark.

    Tableau custom maps for Heat or Density

    Source: Tableau

  6. Tableau Spider or Origin-Destination custom maps

    Tableau frequently employs spider maps to depict connectedness between distinct points.

    It is the most effective means of displaying the route between a single point of origin and many destinations or locations. There are various techniques to construct spider maps in Tableau.

    For example, map population migration between counties, storm tracks, or the relationship between your office and your suppliers, customers, and other sites.

    1. Download the Example Workbook first.
    2. Create a new workbook.
    3. From Measures, drag Longitude and Latitude to Sheet.
    4. Drag and drop the Line Group (Path ID) over the Details area.
    5. In the Marks pane, choose Line instead of Automatic.
    6. From Measures, choose Point Order and drag it over the Path area.
    7. Select the Dimension from the drop-down menu by right-clicking over Point Order.
    8. Place Line Group (Path ID) over the Color area.
    9. Go to the Column shelf and select Longitude.
    10. Select Automatic from the AVG(Longitude) drop-down menu.
    11. From the column shelf, select AVG(Longitude) and Dual Axis.
    12. Choose Traffic and drag it over the AVG Size (Longitude).
    13. Select Size and drag the slider to the right.
    14. Select the Border color from the Mark sheet’s Edit Color option.

    Tableau Spider or Origin-Destination custom maps

    Source: Tableau

Personalize and Customize Maps

Tableau is extremely flexible, allowing you to design any sort of map and construct bespoke apps to meet your specific business requirements.

In Tableau, you can make a simple geographic map. Customization of maps would aid us in distinguishing your reports and establishing a brand for your maps.

  • Let’s go over the different steps in modifying the maps in Tableau:
  • Choose a Tableau map style for the background.
  • Add your own background image.
  • Include a static image as a background.
  • Map layers can be shown or hidden.
  • Add layers for demographic data by country or region.
  • Change the type of mark.
  • Increase the amount of detail.
  • Add some color.
  • Create labels.
  • You can make your data points bigger or smaller.
  • Make your own tooltips.

The map search symbol and the toolbar in the top left corner vanish, and a scale appears in the bottom right corner. Using keyboard shortcuts, you can still pan and zoom.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Differences Between Heat Maps and Treemaps?

A heat map can be described not only by color but also by size. We define the size by sale here by dragging the Sales tab to Size beneath the marks card and comparing profit and sales by color and size.

Hierarchical data is represented using a Treemap. The view is separated into rectangles, each of which is sized and arranged by a measure.

What is the distinction between a Tableau Worksheet, Tableau Dashboard, Tableau Story, and Tableau Workbook?

Tableau follows Microsoft Excel’s workbook and sheet file structure:

  • A workbook is made up of sheets, which could be worksheets, dashboards, or stories.
  • A worksheet has only one view, as well as shelves, legends, and the Data pane.
  • A dashboard is a visual representation of numerous worksheet views.
  • A tale is made up of a series of worksheets or dashboards that provide information.

When you have to use Map View, what will you do if some nations (or any other geological entity) are absent and reflect a null?

The indication in the bottom right corner of the screen identifies unfamiliar or ambiguous locations while interacting with maps and geological fields.

Select one of the following options by clicking the indicator:

  • Correct the location of your data by mapping it to recognized locations.
  • Filter Data – Using a filter, remove the unidentified locations from the view. The computations will not include the locations.
  • Show Data at Logical Position – displays the values on the map at their default setting of (0, 0).

Start Creating Your Custom Tableau Map Examples

To interpret spatial features, map visualizations are important. As explained in this article, Tableau Desktop allows you to create basic and spatial files.

The Choropleth Map, Proportional Symbol Map, Heat Map, Flow Map, Point Distribution Map, and Spider Map are examples of Tableau Custom Maps that help you visualize and depict geographical data comprehensively.

Gaurang Bhatt

Written by

Gaurang Bhatt

Gaurang has 15+ years of experience solving complex business problems and enabling businesses with data-driven decisions using data analysis and predictive modeling tools like Tableau, Power BI, Looker, and Google Data Studio. His expertise lies in data visualization, reporting, and creating ETL pipelines. In addition, he is passionate about exploring different technologies like machine learning and AI. He shares his knowledge and learnings on the LabsMedia platform.