Creating interactive maps (including points & polygons) on Tableau Public using Common Operational Datasets from HDX

Steps taken to produce this visualisation:

If only Administrative Levels 0 and 1 are required, then this data should already be accessible in Tableau Public without the need to import it.  This project required data down to Administrative Level 2 and therefore the data needed to be manually imported to Tableau Public.  The project also required overlaying point data onto polygon data.

Download the data and software

  1. Download the datasets from HDX :

  1. Affected persons locations (APL)

  2. Administrative boundaries

  1. Download Tableau Public

Preparing the data for import

  1. Prepare the data to import to Tableau Public :

    1. Administrative boundaries Polygon data -

      1. The first step is to convert the polygon datasets into point datasets containing a point for each vertex of the polygon, as well as the order for joining each vertex.  This can be done in ArcGIS through using the ETGeowizards ‘Convert Polygon to Points’ tool.  The new table will include a new field called ‘ET Order’.  This needs to be done for all the polygon datasets to be used in Tableau.  More details on how to do this in both QGIS and ArcGIS can be seen here.

      2. Download the resulting point dataset tables as text files and import them into Excel

    2. Affected Persons Locations (APL) Point data - Download the table from the original point dataset and import it into excel

    3. Combine all the excel files (for the point and polygon data) into one excel table.  The table will need to include the following columns:

      1. Point/Polygon name (eg. admin area name and APL name (there will be multiple rows with the same name for the polygon data))

      2. Point/Polygon Pcode (there will be multiple rows with the same pcode for the polygon data)

      3. X

      4. Y

      5. ET Order (this will be blank for the points representing APL sites.  Ie. only the points relating to polygon datasets will have an ‘order’.

    4. Add a new column to the excel table to show the ‘Type’ of data represented by each point, and add the relevant administrative level (0,1,2) and the acronym ‘APL’ for each row representing a point.

Import and display the polygon data in Tableau Public

  1. Open Tableau Public and connect to the excel file

  2. Drag the relevant sheet from the ‘Sheets’ list into the main data source window

  1. Click on ‘Sheet 1’ at the bottom left of the screen

  2. In the ‘Measures’ window right click on the X value and select ‘Geographic Role’ followed by ‘Longitude and then do the same for Y and select ‘Latitude’

  1. Double Click on X and then on Y

  2. In the ‘Marks’ window use the dropdown list to select ‘Polygon’ instead of ‘Automatic’

  1. Drag the ‘AdminPcode’ field from the ‘Dimensions’ list over to the ‘Detail’ box.

  2. Specify the Order for the vertices to be drawn in by dragging the ‘Et Order’ field into the ‘Path’ box.  Note that the ‘Et Order’ field must be in the ‘Dimensions’ list before adding it to the ‘Path’ box (this can be done by dragging and dropping it from the ‘Measures’ list if necessary)

  3. To enable viewing of data at each administrative level, drag the ‘Level’ field into the ‘Filters’ window, and select ‘Use all’

  4. Right Click on ‘Level’ and select ‘Show Filter’

  5. To view the boundaries, click on the ‘Color’ box and select a color for the ‘Border’

You should now have a map that shows all the polygon data - each different level can be selected from the filter on the right

Overlaying the point data in the visualisation

To add the points we need to use ‘Dual Axis’

  1. Drag the x field from the Measures window, and drop it next to the first x field.  This will create two maps side by side

  1. A new tab now appears at the bottom of the ‘Marks’ Window.  Select the bottom tab, and remove the ‘Et Order’ and ‘Admin Pcode’ fields by right clicking and selecting ‘Remove’.  We now need to add only the points to this map.  This requires creating a new ‘Calculated field’ to show only the points from the Excel spreadsheet.  Right click on the ‘Level’ field in the ‘Dimensions’ window, and select ‘Create’ and ‘Calculated Field’.  Now add the following statement to select only the rows from the excel spreadsheet that contain the term ‘APL’ and call it APL.


  1. Now drag the new calculated field over the ‘Detail’ box in the ‘Marks’ window, and change the ‘Type’ from ‘Polygon’ to ‘Shape’.  Assuming that the ‘APL’ box is now ticked in the Filter, there should now be lots of points on the right hand map.  Now click on the ‘Shape’ ‘Color’ and ‘Size’ boxes in the ‘Marks window to change the shapes.

  2. To merge the maps, right click on one of the AVG(Et X) pills in the ‘Columns’ area to the top of the map, and select ‘Dual Axis’

  3. To enable people to select areas and points by name, add the ‘Name’ field to the ‘Filters’ window and again select ‘Use All’.  Right click on the new ‘Name’ pill in the Filters box, and select ‘Show Filter’.  To ensure that only the relevant names are shown based on the ‘Levels’ filter, select the ‘down arrow’ on the name filter and select ‘Only relevant values’.  The ‘down arrow’ can also be used to select the type of filter - I used ‘Multiple value dropdown’.

  4. To change what is shown on the ‘Tooltip’, drag the ‘Name’ field from the list of ‘Measures’ into the ‘Tooltip’ box on the ‘Marks’ card, for both the polygon layer and the point layer.  Now click on the ‘Tooltip’ box, delete all the unnecessary text leaving just the ‘Name’ showing.

Create the Dashboard

  1. To add a title and amend the layout, click on the ‘New Dashboard’ button at the bottom left of the window

  1. Drag ‘Sheet 1’ from the Dashboard list at the top left into the main window

  2. Add a title by dragging the ‘Text’ field from the centre-left of the window into the main window - type and alter the text and click ok.  Resize the boxes as needed

  3. Publish to Tableau Online