How to Create a Geographical Heat Map

A heatmap is when color is used to encode quantitative values. The most familiar type is one that encodes values on an actual geographical map like those used in the Dartmouth Atlas. The Dartmouth Atlas Project has documented variations in how medical resources are distributed and used in the United States. The project uses Medicare data to provide information and analysis about national, regional, and local markets, as well as hospitals and their affiliated physicians.

The data used for this heat example is: Male 2010 Hospital Surgical Discharge Rate per 1000 Medicare Enrollees. Please see attached Excel workbook.

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Public Mapping Website Options

PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU USE TABLEAU PUBLIC YOUR DATA WILL BE POSTED ON THE WEB AND WILL BE PUBLIC. PLEASE REMEMBER TO EXCLUDE ANY PATIENT IDENTIFYING DATA.

Mapping Example using Tableau Public:

1. Type the following web address into your Internet browser:

http://www.tableausoftware.com/public/community

To start using this website you will need to download Tableau Public and register for a Login.

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2. Once downloaded onto your computer Click “Tableau Public 8.0” on your computer and the following screen will pop up.

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3. Click “Open Data” and click “Microsoft Excel”.

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4. A box will pop up so you can point to where your data is saved. In this example we saved our data to “My Tableau Repository” directory in “Datasources”. Click on the file “Hospital Discharges per 1,000 Enrollees, by Gender and Type” and click “Open”.

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5. The following pop up box will appear in Tableau Public site.

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6. Click “OK”.

7. The following screen will appear.

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8. Left Click “State” under “Dimensions” and, while holding down the mouse button, drag to “Rows”. Do the same with “Hospital Discharges” under “Measures” and drag to “Columns”.

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9. Click “Show Me” Tab in the top right corner of the screen.

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10. Click the third icon in the first row under “Show Me”. The following map appears.

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11. Click “Worksheet” tab and Click “Show Title”.

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12. Click on the “Down Arrow” on the right hand side of the “Title” tab and select “Edit Title”. In the pop up box change the title. In this example we typed “Male Hospital Surgical Discharge Rate per 1000 Medicare Enrollees”

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13. Click on “File” tab and click “Save to Web As” and type file name and click “Save”.

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14. The following pop up box appears:

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15. Click on the icon How to Create a Heat Map 17 at the bottom of the screen and select “Image”.

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16. Click on “Download” when “Export Image” pop up box appears.

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17. Click “Open”.

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18. The following window opens.

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19. Right click on the image and now you can copy and paste into another document.

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USING MAPPING SOFTWARE

MAPPOINT Software by Microsoft

1. Open MapPoint application.

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2. Click on “Data Tab” and then “Import Mapping Wizard”.

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3. Locate data source: for this example file name is “Hospital Discharges per 1000 Medicare Enrollees. Click on file name and click “Open”.

4. Verify first column heading is “State” and second column: data type equals “Other Data”, then click “Finish”.

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5. Click “Shaded Area” then click “Finish”.

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6. Map created: Darker green represents higher discharge rate per 1000 Medicare enrollees.

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7. Click on Map Settings.

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8. Click on the “Clear All” button in the bottom left hand side of the screen.

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2 Responses to How to Create a Geographical Heat Map

  1. kathy says:

    I think this product is what I’m looking for however, does it provide heat mapping for Canada by postal code?
    Additionally, I do not want this data to be published publicly so is there a service that will do it with privacy??

    Thank you,

    Kathy

  2. Joel says:

    Check out this service for geocoding and visualizing geographical data on a heat map for free if you need a heatmap instead of a choropleth and you don’t want your data to be public. It’s web-based so there’s nothing to download. There are some limitations on what the free version can do, but they offer a lot more free data points than the competition.

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