Recently at work my colleagues and I were introduced to a new map type that one of our user saw on FiveThirtyEight.  I quickly searched google images to see what she was talking about.  Immediately we knew this was possible in Tableau and I'm excited to share my results!

We agreed that this map was useful because you could:

  • Easily see all of the states (Alaksa, Hawaii, and the small northeastern states)
  • All the states were the same size so Texas didn't seemingly have more emphasis than Rhode Island

    The idea is pretty simple.  I broke the map into a grid and created a template in excel.  A sample of the data can be seen in the image above.

    After creating the template I connected to the data in Tableau and put

      1. "Rows" onto Rows
      2. "Space" onto Columns
      3. "State" onto the level of detail
      4. Created a Random calc for dummy data and put it into color (optional: change colors and add a border)
      5. Optional: To add space between the squares create a "one" calculation where the calculation contains 1.  Drag up to dimensions and add to size.  Adjust the size to get the preferred amount of white space.
      6. After that I just had to adjust the cell sizes and format the text

    But now the question was "how do I get actual data onto the map?"

    The first idea that came to mind would be to pre-aggregate each state and just add it to the excel template however in many cases that is not possible.

    To get actual data on the map from a different data source I blended my map template in excel with the Tableau Superstore data. Both data sources must have a state field that match.  Depending on your fields you may need to adjust the relationships.
      1. From the Superstore data put state onto detail and remove the generated lat and long from the rows and columns
      2. From the dummy example I followed steps 1 and 2 ("Rows" to rows and "Space" to columns)
      3. Instead of adding the Random calculation to color add the Superstore measure that you want to measure to color
      4. Follow the rest of the steps from the dummy example


    1. Great job Brittany! Can you provide the workbook that you used? :)

      1. I just added a link to the workbook! Thanks!

    2. Gorgeous Brittany! Fantastic alternative when you need to include Alaska, Hawaii. Thank-you!

    3. Great job seeing how many people are using this now is amazing. Thanks for making it so easy for others.

    4. Nice work, Brittany. This would make a great hands on TUG presentation.

      1. Thanks Andy! I'm going to be doing a quick presentation on it for Tableau Fringe Festival!