09 April 2014

How to create polygon map based on image in Tableau

This tutorial is based on the same way of thinking which is used by ShapeToTab. Creating ShapeToTab results without using ShapeToTab lol. In other words it is very easy to do :) 

We will be creating a map of shopping centre.

Place dimensions of your map into spreadsheet (Excel or any other).

Add x to the Column and y to the Row.

 Add the map to your Tableau workbook.

1. Click Add Image.
2. Search for the map on your computer.
3. Type the dimensions and select fields consisting x and y.

The map is valid :)

You have the map so right click the node and select Annotate => Point... In this way you have to learn coordinates of each node.

 the results:

Place the coordinates to the spreadsheet and delete the row with the dimensions. You have to add new column Order (order of the nodes in the polygons). Each polygon has unique id (shop column) so everything looks fine. Save the spreadsheet and go back to Tableau, click in upper menu Data => name of your spreadsheet => Refresh.

In other words it looks like results of ShapeToTab, there is unique id for each polygon, coordinates of each node and order of nodes.

Drag the Order to the Dimensions.

1. Select Polygon.
2. Add the Order to the Path.
3. Add the Shop to the Detail.

Get rid of the Headers and the details of coordinates from the Tooltip by leaving them unchecked for both x and y.

Click on the Order and leave Include in Tooltip unchecked.


  1. Very useful article, thanks a ton, that's exactly what I was looking for and couldn't find. The only question left is if there's any possibility to make hierarchial polygon model, i.e. I want to make polygons for different shops and inside each shop I want to make polygons for different departments.

    1. Check this http://www.alansmitheepresents.org/2014/03/inline-filtering-using-tableau-size.html

      The easiest would be creating two charts one showing shops and the other departments, place them next to each other on the Dashboard and use the shop chart as filter (when shops are unselected then the department chart should be blank).