Best of the new features Tableau has given us in the 2020.4 release

 

By Eliot Solway, BI Analyst, CSL

 

In the latest 2020.4 release key highlights are Multiple Mark Layer Support for Maps, Custom Views Tab and Spatial Support in Tableau Prep. All data shown are illustrative.

 

Multiple Mark Layer Support for Maps

It has previously been possible to overlay two marks on a map by utilising a dual axis, however this new feature now enables users to create multiple layers with a simple drag and drop. There is also no limit to the number of layers that you can create (although maps can get very busy and lose their message if you add too many layers at once, so use with caution!).

There are endless ways to utilise this new map feature in dashboards, a few simple ones that spring to mind could be to show the geographical correlation of different sales metrics or to overlay targets onto an NHS structure map. 

For example, below I have created a map of Scottish Health Boards and overlaid the locations of some target accounts for two teams. 

In order to access this new feature simply drag a geographic field over a view and then drop it onto ‘Add a Marks Layer’.

 

Custom Views Tab

Custom views are a great feature of Tableau server and Tableau online that allow users to save filters and make sorts and selections so they can return to that view without having to re-select. In this new update Tableau have made it easier to access, share and edit these views. There is a new tab within the workbook menu called ‘Custom Views’ with all your saved custom views as well as ones that other users have made public.

Simply click on one of the custom views in the list and you will be directed to the dashboard with all the saved selections in place.

The ‘views’ column also gives the dashboard creators the opportunity to see what users are looking at the most. If the views to certain custom views are very high, it may be that the dashboards are being used slightly differently to what the creators originally had in mind.

 

Spatial Support in Tableau Prep

This new feature now allows for spatial files such as GeoJSON and SHP to be loaded into Tableau Prep for cleaning. Previously, these types of files had been supported in desktop, however it is not best practice to have too many files and joins set up within desktop as it can slow reports down.

Using inspiration from the UK general election maps which show each constituency as hexagons of equal size we were able to create the below shape file of NHS Trusts and Health Boards around the UK. 

We were able to load and clean this spatial file in Tableau Prep following the latest update and join it with our existing country/Trust mappings.

We can also now join spatial files with other files in Tableau Prep, such as sales or patient numbers, in order to conditionally colour the hexagons. For example, the hexagon map of Scotland’s Health Boards below coloured by market share.

 

For a full list, including any feature I did not touch on, here’s the official announcement https://www.tableau.com/en-gb/products/new-features

If you want to know any more about how you could be using these new features in Tableau, please contact us on Info@csl-uk.com