Did you know you can add interactive Maps to your Google Sheets? Perfect when you need to visualize geographical data. This post is a step by step guide on getting maps into a spreadsheets.
Follow along with the attached activity here: LINK to Sample file
You are free to use a copy of this file with your students and colleagues
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Google Sheets has many chart types you can use to visualize content. One of my favorites when working with geographical data sets is the Map type.
Before we can start adding in our interactive map we need some sample data. The data shared in the example file is taken from Eurostat and contains population numbers for various South East Asian and European countries in the year 2020.
If you are using the example file, make sure to navigate to the DIY sheet at the bottom of the Google Sheets spreadsheet. If you use your own data, this step is not necessary.
Preparing the Data
First, make sure the data in your spreadsheet has been prepared or ‘cleaned’ by removing the inaccurate entries and cleaning up the rows/columns. Removing empty rows and incomplete data can be part of this step.
This is an important step as it will help Google Sheets to create a user friendly chart. It is good practice to add a column header as well, which in this case mention the ‘country’ and ‘population’. These header can be used as labels later during the chart creation process.
Once you dataset has been ‘cleaned up’, select the values you want to use in a Map chart.
Next, click on the insert menu at the top.
From this menu, select the chart option.
By default, Google Sheets will insert a Pie chart and use the selected data set. On the right hand side you will see new menu pop out with chart specific options.
In this new menu, select a new chart type and scroll down until you see the Map Chart options.
At the time of writing there are two types available; Geo chart, and Geo chart with markers. Choose the one you’d like to use.
The chart will default to a map based on the data given. In this case a World Map.
You can change the Geographical region in your hart options.
Select the ‘customise’ menu at the top and change the region to fit with the dataset used.
If you choose to use custom colors for the data, you can change these here as well. Additional option are available once the chart has been created by selecting the chart and clicking on the 3-dots.
One option is to move the chart into its own sheet, as shown here:
See this in action
If you prefer to see these steps in video format or want to share a Tutorial video with staff, students, or colleagues, here is the entire process in video format: