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How to use Google Maps in Google Data Studio

How to use Google Maps in Google Data Studio?

You want to show your audience locations with Google Maps but can't figure out the best approach.

The process for implementing Google Maps is simple and straightforward once you understand the options. We'll show you how to create a Google Map in Data Studio with four easy steps.

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

Geographic Charts

A Geo chart requires three pieces of information:

  • a geographical information (Country, City, Region, etc.)
  • a value of desired measure  (Sessions, Units Sold, Population, etc.)
  • the zoom amount

Zoom Area

The amount of the world that is seen on the map is determined by the zoom selector at the bottom of the map. 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 is zoomed in to bring the focus to the country of 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

Choose the chart, then use the properties panel to make changes to the chart's settings on the right-hand side of your screen.

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. There could be a multitude of names for these. Dimensions are groups of data that are organized into categories. Names, descriptions, or other properties of a category are examples of dimension values (data stored by the dimension).
  • Tooltip: This is 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: If your data source contains a valid date dimension, this option will be displayed. In the case of data sources from Google Ads and Analytics, this option is automatically assigned to the Date dimension.  With this, you can specify a date range for this chart, or if a viewer of the report uses a date range control to restrict the time frame, you can specify a date range for this chart.
  • Metric: Metrics shows numeric values which correspond to dimension. Such as users, sessions, clicks etc. Drag fields from the Available Fields tab on the right onto the chart to add measurements. You can also click on the Add metric button on the Data tab. It is important to have a minimum of one metric.
  • 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: For charts that are based on data from a Universal Analytics data source, this option is available. Generally speaking, a segment is a subset of the data in your Google Analytics account. Adding segments to your Data Studio charts will ensure that your Data Studio and Google Analytics reports display the same data as each other.
  • Interactions : When interactions are activated on a chart, the chart behaves in a similar way to a filter control system. 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 restricts the map display to the area that has been selected.

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: The design of the chart backdrop container is controlled by the parameters in this section.
  • Chart Header: The chart header provides users with the ability to conduct a variety of activities on the chart, such as exporting the data, digging up or down, and seeing the chart in the Exploration tool. You can choose show on hover - which is default, always show and do not show.
  • Geo chart limits: When creating a geo chart, the first 5000 rows of data are included, unless otherwise specified for a field type. The data in the chart is sorted in descending order according to the measure that has been selected.
  • 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.

It is necessary to have a data source that has 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.

In this bubble map, you can see how many planes have landed in California. The number of flights is shown by the size of the bubbles. The average arrival time is represented by the color of the bubbles.

A full area map of median house values by U.S. ZIP codes in the San Francisco Bay Area is provided by the following charts and tables.

Control the view

In view mode, you can use controls of the map to interact with it. The map Style attributes can be used to show or hide certain map controls.

  1. Viewers can pan the map by clicking and dragging it to reveal different locations, or zoom in and out with their mouse or keyboard, or by selecting the zoom icons + and -.
  2. To access Street View, simply drag Pegman onto the map and release him. (yellow icon of a person)
  3. For fullscreen mode, click on the square with corner brackets at the bottom of the screen.
  4. To change the view, select either Map or Satellite from the drop-down menu.

It is possible to zoom in and out by adjusting the map scale, which is displayed at the bottom of the map.

Configure the Google Maps chart

Once you've selected the chart, you can customize it on the right-hand side of the screen using the properties panel. 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. There could be a multitude of names for these. Dimensions are groups of data that are organized into categories. Names, descriptions, or other properties of a category are examples of dimension values (data stored by the dimension).
  • Tooltip: This is a dimension that allows for the creation of labels for each data point. These become visible when viewer hover on a desired location. This is optional and this works as an 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 provides viewers with an opportunity to reveal further levels of detail, such as smaller geographic places. Usually users apple Continent → Country → City drill down formation
  • Metric: Metrics shows numeric values which correspond to dimension. Such as users, sessions, clicks etc. Drag fields from the Available Fields tab on the right onto the chart to add measurements. You can also click on the Add metric button on the Data tab. It is important to have a minimum of one metric. When utilizing bubble map charts, you can adjust the size and color of the bubbles.
  • Google Analytics segment: Let's you to apply a Google Analytics segment if you are using.
  • Filter: By including or excluding the values you provide, the data presented in the component is limited.

Style Properties

  • Background layer:
  • Layer type: Uses bubbles or filled regions to depict the location of data on the map.
  • 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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