In order to create a hexagon map of Germany you need a map of Germany as a file, Adobe Illustrator and any tool for data preparation. In my case I used Alteryx.  The map of Germany will be a good orientation for you and you can meet the country’s borders better by drawing with hexagons. You need Adobe Illustrator for drawing and generate data. Alteryx is necessary for preparing data for Tableau.

Create hexagon map

I found a map of Germany here.

This file is great as I can upload it to Adobe Illustrator. The boundaries are clearly visible and there is no other information available.

Next open Adobe Illustrator, upload the file with a map and create a hexagon.

  • Right click on “Rectangle Tool” and choose “Polygon Tool”
  • Rotate this polygon 90 degrees
  • Don’t forget to switch on “Smart Guides” (View –> Smart Guides). This will help to rotate and create an accurate hexagons.
  • Fill the hexagon with “White” color and use black one for the stroke.
  • Now fit the size of the hexagon and put it on the map where you want to start. Note that hexagons are on the foreground and the map is on the background.

 

Now you need just copy these hexagons and pass all over the map.

At the end delete the PNG file of Germany. And this should be your result:

 

Go to “Windows” –> Make a hack by “Attributes”. The window with “Attribute” will open.

Go to “Direct Selection Tool” on the upper left sidebar –> Choose “Lasso Tool”. With the lasso tool select the map.

 

In the window“Attribute” choose in the section: Image Map: Polygon and give the name by URL: Deutschland.

Here you can choose different sections and save them to many polygons. For example, one polygon for Berlin, another one for Hamburg etc.  This will help you create all states of Germany. I also tested this method. My problem by this method was that I couldn’t see which area on the map I’ve already saved as a polygon and which not. Thus, I decided to choose the whole map and save it as one polygon. I can create states with Tableau by grouping hexagons later.

Export Data

Go to File –> Export –> Save for Web –> And choose “Preview”. Now you should see all data:

 

Prepare data for Tableau

Copy this data from the first cell until last one with coordinates (not from the top of the file). Open Alteryx and pass this data.

This is my flow for preparing the data. You can download this flow here and use it for your data.

Create a map in Tableau

With this flow I created X and Y coordinates as well the PathID for Tableau.  So, it is time to switch to Tableau.

Open your hyper file.

  • Switch the mark to polygon
  • Put X to column and Y to rows.
  • Put RecordID to Details and Path ID to Path.

 

 

I created the states of Germany by grouping hexagons and gave them names and colors. And this is my result:


Inspiration: Brian Prestidge