How to Build Custom Map Visualization in Tableau


Sometime last year, I got fascinated on bubble charts when I saw a data visualization video, Han’s Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats from BBC.

Data Visualization used as an effective communication tool! Awesome!

What are bubble charts?

“A bubble chart is a type of chart that displays three dimensions of data. Each entity with its triplet of associated data is plotted as a disk that expresses two of the vᵢ values through the disk’s xy location and the third through its size.” Wikipedia

An example of Bubble Chart

Last January 2019, I was checking Tableau Desktop, a data visualization software, and their basic tutorials included a heat map of United States.

What are heat maps?

“A heat map is a graphical representation of data where the individual values contained in a matrix are represented as colors. “Heat map” is a newer term but shading matrices have existed for over a century.”Wikipedia

While going through the Tableau tutorial, I remembered the bubble charts and started looking for an inspiration. I was googling for image silhouettes and got the result below:

This led to my short data visualization experiment. I looked for a dataset and found NBA Injuries from 2010-2018, on Kaggle . I modified the dataset to make it simple to use.

I ended up giving up on using Tableau and creating my own data visualization in Microsoft Powerpoint. Still, my friends were amazed and thought that I used a data visualization tool.

Created with Microsoft Powerpoint

Fast track to August 2019, I returned to studying the Tableu tutorial and look at the result below! =)

Created with Tableau

How did I do it?

Feel free to follow along and create the same dataset and visualization.

Steps

  1. Create an Excel file. Column B and Column C would serve as a location on the X-axis and Y-axis of an item in Tableau. Count represents how many player had the injury from 2010 to 2018.

2. Download Tableau Desktop here.

3. Open the Tableau Desktop App

4. Click Connect To a File >  Microsoft Excel

4. Drag a Sheet from the left pane to the right pane

5. At the bottom, click the Sheet.

6. At the menu, click Background Images > Sheet

7 . Click Add Image

8. Browse for an image and set X Field: Right to 500 and Y Field: Top to 500.

9. In the Columns and Rows, add SUM(X) and SUM(Y), respectively.

10. For Marks, add SUM(COUNT) in Color, SUM(Count) in Size, and Position in Label.

Tableau would then generate this visualization for you:

One of the super powers of data visualization processing the data and understanding it by just looking at the image. With this visualization, I can communicate to you clearly and easily that ankle and knee are the most common sports injuries for an NBA player and dizziness and nose injuries are the least common.

Voila! hope you enjoyed this simple experiment =)



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