Tableau 10.2 Spatial files connectivity with a Dubai spatial file

Geographical data is indispensable for every business. A brand like Starbucks can easily open its shop anywhere and expect substantial business, but choosing the right location can mean added profits and more customer loyalty.


How do you feel if you get spatial layers of data (Population, gender mix,..)  in your analytics visualization in just two clicks?


I embarked on my Tableau journey in 2010 with Tableau 5. Back then, one of my favorite features was latitude and longitude based location mapping. However, gathering the location coordinates manually from Google maps was laborious and time consuming. So, shortly I started working with ESRI shape files in Tableau.


We could create some amazing spatial file visualizations though it was bit tricky to convert them into a Tableau consumable format. We used specialized mapping programs or intermediate applications to convert spatial files to Tableau consumable data.


Tableau heeded to its customers and in the recent release of Tableau 10.2 it incorporated a direct connector to spatial data files to create high-end geo-visualizations with ease.


Here is a snapshot of my trials with the newest feature using a Middle Eastern spatial file. The first map represents the way I visualized Dubai sales of a company in 2010 and the second map indicates the extensive level of details that can be generated with Tableau 10.2.


In short, Tableau 10.2 helps visualize and correlate the spatial data with community level statistics as opposed to province/state-wise single point visualization.


Step 1. Connecting to the Spatial file.

In Tableau 10.2, you can create your spatial data visualization in two mouse clicks. A detailed description is available here

Click 1- Connect to data

Click 2- Browse the Spatial File


Step 2. Create the Spatial Viz


Double click on the ‘Geometry’ geographical under measures to generate your visualization.

Step 3. Connect with external data source for Analysis


Here you can leverage Tableau 10 cross database Join feature and join the spatial file data source with another data source. I chose to connect to Dubai real estate transactional data by community from Dubai Land Department, and then joined the data with the spatial file based on the area name.



Prepare your Viz
Below is a dual axis spatial visualization
1. Area map (based on avg. transaction value)
2. Overlaying Bubbles based on the number of Transactions.


Another example: Dubai Population statistics by community.


I really enjoyed working with this new feature and will be using it for many of my business cases. Enjoy spatial analytics with Tableau!



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