How to use Google Maps in Google Data Studio

How to use Google Maps in Google Data Studio

Yesterday Google Data Studio launched a cool new feature – Google Maps as a chart type! This is major game changer for Data Studio and opens up a lot of possibilities.

There are a lot of BigQuery public datasets featuring geographic data that it was simply not possibly to display on the existing geo maps. This changes with the Google Maps integration.

Note: Google Maps cannot yet be displayed in embedded reports.

Please note that currently Google Maps cannot be displayed in reports embedded on website pages.

Google Maps cannot yet be displayed in embedded reports.

So you’ll need to view the report in Google Data Studio. Click the ‘Google Data Studio’ button in the bottom right corner of the report and open the report in Google Data Studio.

Click the 'Google Data Studio' button in the bottom right corner of the report and open the report in Google Data Studio.

I’ll cut to the chase and show you a Data Studio report with a Google Map embedded. This map shows the number of pageviews in cities across the world.

Looking at the different options for displaying data in the Google Map

So at the time of writing, it is only possible to display data as Bubbles and not Areas. You can choose a geographic field to be the Dimension. In this case I’ve used Town/City. It’s also possible to add an additional Tooltip to each Dimension.

For the metrics you can choose to have a Bubble Size and Bubble Colour represent different values. In my case I’ve chosen size to equal the number of users and colour to indicate the number of page views.

A Chart Type for Google Maps in Google Data Studio.

Different Map options for Google Maps in Data Studio

I’ll give you a run down of some of the map styling options available at the launch of Google Maps.

The two main choices are whether to go for a Satellite map or a regular Map.

Within these two options there is plenty of scope for customization.

Below is a regular Google Map in Data Studio.

a regular Google Map in Data Studio. Showing Southern Ontario, Canada.

And here is a satellite Google Map in Data Studio.

a satellite Google Map in Data Studio. Showing Southern Ontario, Canada.

You can also adjust various settings to get a map that you want.

For example, for the map below I’ve selected a regular Map type, and then turned off streets, landmarks and labels.

So we don’t see country names, borders or any road networks.

a regular Map type, and then turned off streets, landmarks and labels.

There’s also the option to add a custom JSON file

importing a map style using a JSON file type in google data studio

This gives users the option to create or import their own custom Map Styles which opens up a huge number of possibilities!

Google Maps Platform Styling wizard

Looking at the Level of Detail available in Google Maps

A great feature of these maps is the level of detail that’s possible. So below I’ve zoomed in on Cape Town, South Africa. As you would in a regular Google Map you can drag the little yellow man to wherever you’d like to take a look at the view!

A map of street view locations in Cape Town South Africa in a Google Map in Google Data Studio.

And lo and behold we can access the Street View in Data Studio itself. Below is a view of Table Mountain as seen from Signal Hill.

A map of Table Mountain from Signal Hill in Cape Town South Africa in a Google Map in Google Data Studio.

Even without using Street View, you can zoom in as much as you can in regular Google Maps. That is to say a lot! Below is a screenshot of a Google Map fully zoomed in.

A screenshot of a Google Map fully zoomed in on the CN Tower in Toronto Canada.

Using Bubbles to Display Data Points on the Map

Currently the only way of displaying data is using Bubbles, and not surface area. At the time of writing there is a maximum of 10,000 bubbles that can be made visible on a map.

Image showing bubbles being displayed on a google map inside google data studio.

A note about the 10,000 bubble limit. From the Google Maps Support information:

Maximum data limit:

  • 10,000 bubbles for Latitude, Longitude fields.
  • 1,000 bubbles for other geographic field types.

It’s also possible to use colour to categorize bubbles by a dimension. Below is a map showing users by Town/City with each bubble’s country categorized by colour.

a map showing users by Town/City with each bubble's colour categorized by colour.

Filtering by Country, Region and City

It’s also possible to use another chart or table to filter your Google Map. In the example below I have a Google Map on the left and a Geo Map on the right. If I click South Africa on the Geo Map then the Google Map switches to a view of only South Africa.

If I click South Africa on the Geo Map then the Google Map switches to a view of only South Africa.

This is also possible with regions. Below I’ve selected England as a region within the United Kingdom and the map has focused in on England.

I've selected England as a region within the United Kingdom and the map has focused in on England.
I’ve selected England as a region within the United Kingdom and the map has focused in on England.

And this is also possible to do with cities. Below I’ve selected to filter Sydney Australia and the map has zoomed in on Sydney.

 I've selected to filter Sydney Australia and the map has zoomed in on Sydney.

Creating a custom field to avoid ambiguous location names

So one issue you might encounter is needing to differeniate between two different cities with the same names. For example, to avoid confusion between London, Ontario and London, England.

You can do this by creating a custom field using the CONCAT function. I used the formula CONCAT(Town/City,”, “,Country) to create this new field.

Use CONCAT function CONCAT(Town/City,", ",Country)

You can choose this new dimension to have the geographic data type of ‘Town/City’.

Now you can have a single field that corresponds to the exact geographic location. Now we can make sure we’re looking at Paris, France and not Paris, Texas.

Google Map showing page views in Paris, France. CONCAT(Town/City,", ",Country)

There’s a lot to take in with this new update and I hope you found this article useful and are excited to get started using Google Maps in Google Data Studio!

Download Google Data Studio Templates

If you’d like to download one of my Google Data Studio reports as a template to use for your own data, you can visit Data Studio Templates and purchase one.

My Other Blog Posts

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Michael

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