How to use Google Maps in Google Data Studio

By Zekeriya Mulbay
Table of contents

Geographic (or just "Geo") charts and Google Maps allow you to represent your metrics on a map.

Geo Maps were the first - for a long time they were the only - kind of visualisations in Data Studio. Since August 2020, Google Maps became available. Google Maps charts differ in the ability of showing data by country or city.

Geographic Charts

A Geo chart asks you to provide 3 pieces of information:

  • a geographic dimension, such as Country, City, Region, etc.
  • a metric, such as Sessions, Units Sold, Population, etc.
  • the map's zoom area.

Zoom Area

The zoom selector at the bottom of the map determines how much of the world the map displays. You can also restrict the data shown by the Geo chart by choosing a geographic dimension from the dimensions list (for example, City) and setting a filter on that dimension in the area selector. For example, if you want to focus on Germany, set your geography selectors to Germany. The map itself zooms in to focus on Germany.

Below you can see 2 uses of geo charts. First one focuses on the country France, showing sessions per user metric from Google Analytics. Second one, also shows sessions per user but for Unites States.

France's chart has dimension of "Country" however United State's chart has dimension of "Region". Therefore you can see metrics for each region.

How to add a geo chart to your report?

In order to add a geo chart or Google Maps chart, click on "Add a chart" → "Geo chart" from the menu.

Chart Settings

Click on the chart, afterwards on the right, use the properties panel to change the chart options.

Data Tab

This tab shows settings related to the data source.

  • Data source: A data source lets you to connect to the data set you want to use. Data source options are: change the data source, view/edit the data source, add a blended data source.
  • Location: These are categories of the geographical data. Continents, cities etc. See below table for all possible geo dimensions. These can ve names Dimensions are data categories. Dimension values (the data contained by the dimension) are names, descriptions or other characteristics of a category.
  • Tooltip: This is dimension to provide a label for each data point. These become visible when viewer hover on a desired location. This is optional and this works as a override to location dimension.
  • Color: With this dimension, you can determine colors of bubbles. Example: Location dimension = Country Color dimension = sub-continent Result = Each country is shown using a color representing the sub-continent in which it's found.
  • Date range dimension: This option appears if your data source has a valid date dimension. For Google Ads and Analytics data sources, this option is automatically set to the Date dimension. With this, you can set a date range property for this chart, or if a viewer of the report uses a date range control to limit the time frame.
  • Metric: Metrics shows numeric values which correspond to dimension. Such as users, sessions, clicks etc. Add metrics to the chart by dragging fields from the Available Fields panel on the right. You can also click Add metric in the Data tab. At least one metric is required.
  • Filter : Filter help filtering the raw data which is coming from the data source. It might be helpful when you want to includes specific values or exclude some. For example you might want to exclude ad campaigns with zero impressions.
  • Google Analytics segment: This option appears for charts based on a Universal Analytics data source. A segment is a subset of your Analytics data. You can apply segments to your Data Studio charts to help ensure that your Data Studio and Google Analytics reports show the same data.
  • Interactions : When interactions are enabled on a chart, that charts acts like a filter controls. Here is an example, on this dashboard, campaign table has the interactions option activated. So viewer can click on any row and top metrics represent metrics of this selected row.
  • Zoom area: This limits the map display to the selected area.

Style Properties

  • Geo chart: Max, mid, min color values lets you to decide color tint according to the volume of the data represented on the chart. Usually the more the number, you would want a darker hue.
  • Background and border: These options control the appearance of the chart background container.
  • Chart Header: The chart header lets viewers perform various actions on the chart, such as exporting the data, drilling up or down, and viewing the chart in the Explorer tool. You can choose show on hover - which is default, always show and do not show.
  • Geo chart limits: Geo charts include the first 5000 rows of data, unless otherwise mentioned for a field type. Chart data is sorted in descending order based on the selected metric.
  • Geo functions: You can use calculated metrics to represent custom calculations. You can check more on this and see list of functions from Google's documentation here:

Google Maps Charts

Integrating Google Maps with Data Studio provides a familiar, interactive environment for users to explore geographic data. The Google Maps reports are highly customizable and integrate with any data source that contains valid geo fields.

Google Maps charts bring additional features like terrain view layers, street view and more.

You will need a data source with one or more geographic dimensions. Google Analytics is one of the most popular data sources which can be used in this case.

How does it work?

There are two layers of Google Maps charts; the background layer and the data layer. Background layer is the part which is familiar to you, Google Maps interface as we know. Data layer is the one which relays metric values and show us the real data we want to see and learn.

This is a bubble map showing airline arrivals in California. Number of flights is shown using bubble size. Average arrival delay is shown using bubble color.

And this charts gives us a filled area map for median house prices by U.S. ZIP codes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Control the view

In view mode, you can use controls of the map to interact with it. You can show or hide these map controls by editing the map Style properties.

  1. Viewers can pan by clicking and dragging the map to show different regions, or zoom using their mouse or keyboard, or by clicking the zoom icons + and - .
  2. To open Street View, drag Pegman onto the map. (yellow human icon)
  3. To toggle fullscreen mode, click on square with corner brackets.
  4. To switch views, click Map or Satellite.

The map scale appears at the bottom of the map and changes as you zoom in or out.

Configure the Google Maps chart

Select the chart, then on the right, use the properties panel to configure the chart options. When the geo chart selected, check the properties panel on the right to change data properties and style.

Data properties

  • Data source: this is the data source which gives us the data set. Data source must include geographical reference. One of the most popular example would be Google Analytics.
  • Location: These are categories of the geographical data. Continents, cities etc. See below table for all possible geo dimensions. These can ve names Dimensions are data categories. Dimension values (the data contained by the dimension) are names, descriptions or other characteristics of a category.
  • Tooltip: This is dimension to provide a label for each data point. These become visible when viewer hover on a desired location. This is optional and this works as a override to location dimension.
  • Color: With this dimension, you can determine colors of bubbles. Example: Location dimension = Country Color dimension = sub-continent Result = Each country is shown using a color representing the sub-continent in which it's found.
  • Drill down: Drilling down gives viewers a way to reveal additional levels of detail such as smaller geo locations. Usually users apple Continent → Country → City drill down formation
  • Metric: Metrics shows numeric values which correspond to dimension. Such as users, sessions, clicks etc. Add metrics to the chart by dragging fields from the Available Fields panel on the right. You can also click Add metric in the Data tab. At least one metric is required. You can change size and color of the bubbles when using bubble map charts.
  • Google Analytics segment: Let's you to apply a Google Analytics segment if you are using.
  • Filter: This restricts the data displayed in the component by including or excluding the values you specify.

Style Properties

  • Background layer:
  • Layer type: Shows the location of data on the map, using either bubbles or filled areas.
  • Colors: You use this to change colors for bubble or filled areas.
  • Map controls: Let's you to switch on or off these controls,
  • Legend: You can change legend variants to make the chart more understandable for viewers. Example below, shows 2 different legends.
  • Background and border
  • Chart header

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