Can you use map layers to show profit at state and city levels?

It was Sean Miller’s turn to present this week’s #WOW2021 challenge, and one of the common features of Sean’s challenges is to utilise new features of Tableau. So for this challenge, you’re going to need v2020.4 (or higher if you’re reading this in a few months time 🙂 )

The core components of this challenge are relatively basic, and I am therefore making assumptions you know how to build a map and a bar chart. The focus for this will be on

  • Create the layered map
  • Sizing the circles (cities)
  • Colouring the circles (cities)
  • Removing interactivity on the states
  • Colouring the Profit on the Tooltip
  • Hover action from bar to cities

Create the layered map

Start by building out a basic filled map (double click State, then double click Profit and move Profit to the Colour shelf – if a map of the US doesn’t appear, you’ll need to edit locations via the Map -> Edit Locations option). Change the Profit colour legend to be red-black diverging, and set the centre point to 0. Remove all the map ‘features’, via the Map -> Map Layers option.

Then drag the City field onto the map, and when the Add a Marks Layer option appears, drop the field onto the ‘layer’ icon.

This will create a marks card for each field on the layers – one for City and one for State

Note if you get an indicator on the lower right of the map that suggests there’s multiple ‘unknown’ cities, click on the indicator to Edit Locations and make sure the State field is mapped to State.

Sizing the circles (cities)

The City layer needs to be sized based on Profit, so drag this field to the Size shelf of the City marks card. By default this will size from small to large with the smallest value being the lowest Profit value

But in the solution, you’ll see Profit is sized based on its ‘absolute’ value, ie -13,000 should be the same size as +13,000.

This was the last thing I actually resolved when building this viz, as it isn’t anything I’ve seen before. I knew it couldn’t be something too tricky, due to the nature of the current set of challenges, so I had a bit of google and discovered it’s just a case of setting the Sizes vary option to be From zero. You might need to the adjust the slider on the Size shelf itself to get the circles at an appropriate size

Colouring the circles (cities)

Create a calculated field

Profit is +ve?


which will return true or false and add this to the Colour shelf of the City marks card. Colour accordingly, and add a grey border to the circles (setting on the Colour shelf).

Removing interactivity on the states

As you move your mouse over the map, you’ll see the borders of the states are ‘selected’. To remove this, click the arrow next to the title of the State marks card, and choose Disable Selection.

As an additional step, remove the tooltips from showing on the State marks card.

Colouring the Profit on the Tooltip

The tooltip displays +ve profit in black and -ve profit in red. For this you’ll need two calculated fields, one to store the profit value only when it’s positive, and one to store the profit value only when it’s negative.

+ve Profit

IF [Profit +ve?] THEN SUM([Profit]) END

-ve Profit

IF NOT([Profit +ve?]) THEN SUM([Profit]) END

Add both these fields to the Tooltip shelf of the City marks card, then ensure they sit side by side in the tooltip text. Colour the text accordingly.

Hover action from bar to cities

When the 2 charts are on the dashboard, add a dashboard Highlight action to run on Hover from the Bar sheet to the Map sheet

Hopefully this has covered all the key points of this challenge. My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’! Stay Safe!