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What is The Difference Between Tableau Heat Map and TreeMap.
Updated on 27th Feb, 23 805 Views

Imagine you have a data set containing the geographical attributes and you want to analyze your data geographically, then plotting your data on a Tableau map is the best way for you to visualize the data. In this blog, the topics we are going to discuss are:

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Tableau Maps

Maps in Tableau are used for the geographical analysis of data. Map visualizations are mostly used to answer spatial questions. The instant geocoding in Tableau allows it to automatically turn the location data and all other information to interactive maps with 16 levels of zoom.

One can also use custom geocodes to map the information that is required for the task. There are different variations in the Maps that can be used to represent or analyze different kinds of data.

“Tableau is revolutionizing data analysis and has truly made geographic analysis accessible to everyone.” – BARB WENNINGER, VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AND MARKETING, ADCI.

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How to Create Maps in Tableau?

The datastore used in this example to create a Map is the Sample-Superstore which is built in Tableau.

  • Drag and drop the measures “Latitude” and “Longitude” into the row and column shelves.
  • In the “Marks” card, change the drop down option to “map”.
  • The location “state” and place it in the colors and label field of the “marks” card. The following is the simple Map visualization that is created by following above steps.
Simple Map

Different Types of Tableau Maps

The following are the common map types that can be created in Tableau.

1. Proportional symbol maps
2. Choropleth maps(filled maps)
3. Point distribution maps
4. Heatmaps(density maps)
5. Flow maps(path maps)
6. Spider maps(origin-destination maps)
7. Treemaps

All the maps mentioned above have their own definitions and applications. But, Heatmap and Treemap are two map types that might confuse the learner initially. So, before discussing the implementation let’s study a little about the difference between a Heatmap and a Treemap.

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Difference Between Heat Map and Treemap in Tableau

From a definitive perspective, we have different types of maps as mentioned above in Tableau. But, in a comparison perspective, what are the differences between Heat Map and Treemap in Tableau?

A two-dimensional representation of information with the help of colors is known as the Heatmap. These maps are used to visualize both simple and complex data. Heatmaps are frequently used in analyzing the patterns of consumer purchases.

In a nutshell, Tableau Heat Maps are used to study consumer behavior. In the case of a website, distinct colors can describe the frequent and infrequent clicks on the website. Heatmaps can also be used for other purposes like understanding election results in a region, the intensity of storms in a region, etc.

If you have a large amount of highly structured data, then the best option for visualization is a Treemap. The space in the visualization is split up into rectangles, sized and ordered according to the quantitative measures. The levels in the hierarchy are displayed as nested rectangles.

A column or an expression is represented by the rectangles on the same level in Treemap. The category of each column is represented by each rectangle in the level. For example, if each rectangle represents countries, then the rectangles nested within them represent states and cities respectively.

Now that we are familiar with the differences between Treemap and Heatmap, let’s get into the implementation of different maps in Tableau.

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How to Create a Proportional Symbol Map in Tableau?

Proportional Symbol Maps are the best way to show quantitative data for individual locations. For instance, in the example of a superstore data set, if we want to find out which state is having the highest number of sales and profit, a proportional symbol map can be used to plot the details accurately and interactively.

The steps to be followed to create the said map are as follows:

1. Place Latitude and Longitude measures in the Row and Column fields respectively.
2. In the “marks” card, select automatic.
3. Drag the location “state” and “region” to the details field, then drag sales and profit measures to size and color fields. From the graph thus created we would be able to visualize and analyze which city is having highest sales and profit.

Proportional Symbol Map

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How to Create a Choropleth Map in Tableau?

Choropleth Maps are also known as filled maps in Tableau. These maps are great for showing ratio data. For example, if you want to see literacy rates for every country across the world, you might consider creating this map to see if there can be any spatial pattern.

To create this graph, a dataset of Literacy rates from the Unicef website has been taken. After uploading the data, the following steps are to be taken to create the said map.

1. Place Latitude and Longitude in the row and column shelves.
2. On the right side of the screen, click on “show me” and select the map option.
3. Drag the country to the details field and literacy rate to the color field in the “marks” card.
4. Click on “tool kit” and type “%” next to the literacy rate statement to display the percentage when a cursor hovers over a particular country.
5. For the colors, click on the color field and select “edit colors”, change automatic to “Red-Green Diverging”. This displays low literacy rated countries in red and rest in the shades of green. The following is the choropleth graph thus formed.

Choropleth map

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How to Create a Point Distribution Map in Tableau?

Point Distribution Maps are used when one wants to show approximate locations and is looking for visual clusters of data. These maps work best if we want to show how the locations of our data points are distributed. For this example, the data set used is Hailstorm data.

Steps to be followed to create a Point Distribution Map in Tableau are:

1. After the data source is connected to the Tableau, place the Longitude and Latitude measures in the “row” and “column” shelves.
2. Both the latitude and longitude should be set to continuous and dimension in their respective shelves.
3. Set the mark to automatic and select the map from the “show me” card on the right side of the screen. The following is the Point distribution Map for the Hail data source.

point distribution map

How to Create a Heat Map in Tableau?

Tableau Heat Maps are also known as density maps. They can be used when you want to show a pattern for visual clusters of data. For example, if you want to find out which areas of Texas have the highest sales, you can create a Tableau Heat map to see which areas are most popular for sales. A Tableau Heat Map can be created as follows.

1. For example, we are using the hail storm data set. After connecting the data source to the tableau, place latitude and longitude in the row and column fields.
2. Set the latitude and longitude to continuous and dimension by right-clicking them.
3. Select the mark type as “density”.
4. The created heat map thus shows the intensity of the hail storm in the region.

heat map

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How to Create a Flow Map in Tableau?

Flow Maps also known as Path maps are used to connect paths across a map to see where something is going with time. For instance, you can track the paths of cyclone storms across the country or world over a period of time.

1. The data source that is used in this is about Train stations.
2. The latitude and longitude should be placed in row and column shelves and set to dimension and continuous
3. The order Id measure should be placed in the details field of the marks card.
4. Select the mark type as “Line”.
5. The map thus created helps us visualize various paths between various railway stations.

path map 1
path map 2

How to Create a Spider Map in Tableau?

Origin-destination maps is another name for Spider Maps. Spider Maps are used to show how an origin place and destination place interact. For instance, you can track car rides from an origin to one or more destinations. The below are the steps to create Spider Maps in Tableau.

1. The data set used in this is “Train stations”. Set the mark type to Line.
2. After connecting the data source to Tableau, place Latitude and longitude in the row and column shelves, and set them to dimension and continuous.
3. Duplicate the longitude in the column field and change the mark type of the last card to circle.
4. For the size field measure values are used and for color field station color is used.
5. The following is the Spider Map in Tableau.

spider map

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How to Create a Treemap in Tableau?

Treemaps are used to display data in nested rectangles. Dimensions can be used to define the structure of the treemap and measures can be used to define the size and color of each rectangle. These are relatively simple data visualizations that provide attractive and effective insight into the data.

1. In this example, the data source used is the sample superstore data.
2. Set the mark type to automatic and drag and drop sales to the size field, profit to the colors field, and sub-category to the label field.
3. Below is the Treemap that is created by following the above steps.

Tree map

Maps are a very important feature in Tableau to analyze and visualize geographic data. Learning about them helps a lot in achieving effective, attractive, and accurate data visualization. Hope this Tableau Map tutorial has shed some light on how to create some of the common variations of Maps in Tableau.

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