Let’s Build a Map!

Inspired by a viz from Klaus Schulte, Sean Miller set this week’s challenge to recreate a hex map with state shapes using Superstore.

Building the data model

I referenced this Tableau blog post and downloaded the HexmapPlots excel file included. I then used a relationship to ‘join’ the Sample – Superstore excel file I was using with the HexmapPlots file, joining on State/Province = State

Since I had the other blog post already open, I then followed the steps included to start building the map.

Building the hex map

Add Column to Columns and aggregate to AVG, and add Row to Rows and also aggregate to AVG. Add State/Province to Detail. Edit the Rows axis and set to be Reversed.

Note – it’s possible you may have extra States showing. As I’m writing I’ve realised I’m rebuilding against an extracted data source that has a filter I originally applied as a global filter, which has now been included in the extract. So you may need to add State/Province to the Filter shelf, and set to exclude NULL and District of Colombia. This filter will need to be applied to all sheets you build.

Change the mark type to Shape and select a Hex shape. I already have a palette full of Hex shapes, but the blog post provides a shape to use and add as a custom shape if you haven’t got one. Increase the size of the marks.

Create a new field

Profit Ratio

SUM([Profit]) / Sum([Sales])

format this to % with 1 dp, and then add to the Colour shelf.

Now add a second instance of Row to the Rows shelf and set to AVG again. Set the mark type of this marks card to Map. Remove the Profit Ratio field from Colour on this card too. Assuming your Map location is set to USA, you should have State outlines depicted (Map -> Edit Location).

Set the chart to be dual axis and synchronise the axis. The State shape axis should now be inverted. Independently adjust the sizes of the Hex shape and the state shapes, so the states sit inside the hexagons.

Right click on the right axis and move marks to back. The adjust the Colour of the hex shapes so its around 85% transparent.

Now adjust the Tooltip on the hex marks to match the requirement.

To fill-out the available area, I also chose to fix both the axis (right click axis -> edit axis). The Column x-axis I set to range from 1 – 12, and the Row y-axis, I set to range from -0.9 – 9. Then hide all axis, and remove all row/column gridlines, divider lines, axis lines and zero lines. Hide the 10 unknown indicator, and set the background colour of the whole worksheet to a pale grey.

Building the Line Chart

This is super simple, Tableau 101 🙂

Add Order Date to Columns and set to be a continuous month (green pill showing month-year). Add Sales to Rows. Change the colour of the line to grey. Hide the x-axis and remove all gridlines, dividers, axis lines and zero lines. Set the background colour of the worksheet to None (ie transparent). Update the tooltip.

Building the Scatter Plot

Add Sales to Columns, and Profit to Rows. Add State/Province to Detail shelf and add Profit Ratio to Colour. Change the mark type to circle. Remove all gridlines, row column dividers and axis rulers. Only the zero lines should remain. Adjust the tooltip and set the worksheet background to None (transparent).

Putting it all together

Create a dashboard and set the size as stated. Set the background of the dashboard to pale grey (Dashboard – > Format).

Add the Hex map, and hide the title. Click on the Profit Ratio legend object and set to be floating. Then remove the right hand vertical container. Move the Profit Ratio legend to a suitable location.

Then add a text box as a floating object and use it to create the title. Add both the trend line and the scatter plot charts as floating objects without titles. Just position them as required. You can always use gridlines (Dashboard -> Show Grid) to help you line things up.

Finally add the interactivity.

Add a highlight dashboard action which highlights the hex map and the scatter plot when either of the other is selected ‘on hover’, and just targets the State/Province field.

Then add a Filter action which on hover of the Trend chart, targets the remaining charts.

And hopefully that’s it. My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’!



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