1. Creating a Map Point

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Spatial Data and Mapping

8 lessons , 4 exercises

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In this lesson, we learn how to use the create points tool to convert latitude and longitude coordinates into geospatial data.


Geo-Spatial Data

  • Alteryx cannot display normal geo-spatial data such as latitude or longitude coordinates
  • User must convert such data into centroids using the Create Points tool
  • Alteryx has a partnership with Carto, allowing users to view geo-spatial data on a map via the Browse tool


In this lesson, we are going to begin looking at geographical data or geo data for short.

Typical geo data will refer to latitude and longitude referencing a certain point such as a customer address.

These points are known as centroids.

Alternatively, geo data might refer to a specific region or area on a map.

These areas are created by joining together a series of centroids into what is known as a polygon or simply a shape of three or more map points.

Alteryx can work with latitude and longitude references but they must first be converted into centroids.

We'll look at how to do that now.

For this lesson, we'll use the pharmaceutical data set that I have already imported to the workflow.

This data contains customer orders by date.

We are only concerned with unique customer locations and products so we'll connect a unique tool to the workflow to separate that data.

To that end, we'll select customer ID and product name in the configuration window.

Our best practices require creating record IDs, so we'll connect a record ID tool to the U node.

We'll now connect a select tool to bring forward only relevant data.

In the configuration window, we'll deselect all items except for record ID, customer IDs, longitude, latitude and product name.

In the previous lessons, we learned that Alteryx cannot convert date fields into dates unless the field is in the correct format.

Alteryx treats geo data in a similar manner.

The program cannot read latitudinal or longitudindal coordinates, rather we must run the data through the create points tool.

This will convert the geospatial data into centroids or points on the surface of the earth.

We'll connect a create points tool to our workflow.

We can see that the X and Y fields have automatically connected to the correct longitude and latitude fields in our data set.

We'll now add a browse tool and run the workflow to view our data.

We can see that Alteryx has created a geographic point for each of our customers.

Alteryx offers us the possibility of including a background map for our data points through its partnership with a geospatial visualisation company Carto.

From the dropdown in the configuration window, we'll select Carto positron.

The map will take a few moments to render.

As we can now see, the data points are superimposed on the map.

If we choose Carto dark matter, we'll get a map with black landmasses and grey water ways.

Note that there is generally no difference between the most recent vintage and the options that we've chosen here.

We'll choose Carto positron again and take another look at our map points.

From a quick glance, we can see that the majority of our customers are located in the southwest region of the UK.

With a balance in the London area.

Let's quickly recap this lesson.

First, we used the unique tool to bring forward only unique entries from our data set.

We then used the record ID and select tools to give our entries unique IDs and bring forward relevant fields.

Next, we converted our longitudinal and latitudinal data into centroids with the create points tool.

Finally, we viewed our geo data on a map via the browse tool.

Now that we have taken the time to create centroids with the create points tool and present them on a map, we'll be able to calculate the distance between those points in the next lesson.