Thematic Layers

A Thematic Layer allows you to roll up metrics (e.g. record count, $ amounts, % values, other numeric fields) grouped and colored by geographic boundaries. Though similar to Heat Maps, Thematic Layers allow you see concentrations clearly delineated by geographic boundaries, rather than simply by hot spots. This is all done with a few clicks, and is part of the core Geopointe license.

This document covers the following topics:

Admin Setup | Create a Thematic Layer | Display a Thematic Layer | Edit/Re-sync a LayerFAQs

Admin Setup

Thematic Layers must be enabled by a Geopointe Admin before use. An admin should go to the Geopointe Setup page. On the Org Settings tab, under Mapping Preferences, click Enable Thematic Maps to make them available.

An approval page will ask you to confirm you understand data will be leaving your system to create the thematic layer (though none of it confidential; please read our Data Security doc for more information). Check the box and click Enable.

Create a Thematic Layer

To start creating a layer, follow these steps:

1. On the Map page, start on the Saved Layers tab, and click the [+] button. Select Thematic Map.

2. Enter a Layer Name and choose a Folder to save it in. You can save the layer in any primary or nested folder. The Description is not required.

3. In the Data section of the Thematic Map builder, click Select next to Data Set. This will bring up a list of your available data sets to use as your source data. Once your data set is selected, the Metric will default to Record Count. If you want to change it to use a numeric field, click on it.

4. Choose your Geometries. Each Geometry is sorted country first. If you want the entire world by country, leave the Geometry picklist at the default and click the +. If you want to use a smaller definition inside a particular country, select it from the dropdown and then select the secondary shape type.

You may add as many definitions as you like, just don't forget to click the + to add it to the Geometry list! To remove a Geometry, click the X beside it.

5. Adjust your colors, if desired. Click the Colors section. A Color Set will have been pre-selected. To change it, click the Color Set picklist. There are a wide range of options to choose from.

The coloring for your thematic map can be completely personalized. The bins have default colors and auto coloring in place with a default 60% Opacity. You can change the colors (by hex code or using the color picker), the number of bins can be increased or decreased, and you can make the layer as opaque as you would like. The options here are pretty limitless.

6. When you are satisfied with your coloring options, click Save.

Display a Thematic Layer

Follow the steps below to load a saved thematic layer. Note: The process of syncing thematic layers has been significantly improved with our May 2018 release. Now, thematic maps can be synced right from the Map, and no longer require a batch job. 

1. Click the layer from the Saved Layers tab of the control panel. A message appears, indicating that the thematic map must be built. 

2. Click Start Build. A message will appear, showing the progress of the build. It may take a few minutes. Since the build process is occurring in realtime on the Map, the window must be kept in order to allow it to complete. This process will occur each time you edit or re-sync the layer. 

3. Once you see a message indicating that the build is complete, click Add Layer.

Each individual shape on the map can be clicked to display roll-up information about the data inside that boundary. To see the legend, either click over to the Legend tab of the Control Panel, or from the Mapped Layers tab, click Show Legend.

Voila! A whole new way to view your data in Geopointe.

Edit/Re-sync a Layer

To edit a Thematic Layer, hover over it in the Saved Layers tab of the Control Panel. Click on the Layer Options icon on the right side. You can choose to Edit, Clone, Sync, or Delete it. The most recent sync time is listed at the top. 

If it's been more than 24 hours since the last sync, you'll be prompted to update the layer with recent data. To do so, click Start Build. Otherwise, click Add Layer

Frequently Asked Questions

How many thematic layers can I have?
There are no limits to how many thematic layers you can create. Prior to our May 2018 release, there was a limit of 20 layers per organization. Now your organization can create an unlimited number of layers. 

Who can create thematic layers?
Both end users and Geopointe admins have the ability to create thematic layers.  Thematic layers can be saved in both private and non-private folders.

Can I create a private thematic layer?
Yes, you can. As of the May 2018, you can save thematic layers in both private and public folders. 

Can I edit the metric or data set of a thematic layer?
No. After it's been saved, the Data Set and metric are set and cannot be changed. You'll need to create a new one to see a different new metric.

Does our data leave our Salesforce instance to use thematic layers?
Yes, Thematic Layers require some of your Salesforce data be sent to the Geopointe servers for processing. For each layer, your Org ID, Record IDs of the data being summarized, metric values, and record latitude & longitude coordinates are sent to our servers. Additional org-level information may be communicated with the core data to apply Salesforce's sharing model to your queries (e.g. role IDs, public groups IDs, user IDs, etc.). No personally identifiable information (PII) is sent to our servers in this process! Check out our Data Security Policies to learn more about how we handle your data.

Can I use shapes I've built in Geopointe as my Thematic Layer boundaries (e.g. Compare the average of one territory over another)?
While this is a great idea, it is not possible at this time. The thematic layers can only be built against the geographic boundaries we have in each country.

Can thematic layers be used like shapes?
No, they cannot. The thematic layer, in its completed form, more closely resembles a demographics layer than it does a shape. Although it's built with the same boundaries as shape library shapes, the generated layer is not interactive for searching, but instead is a read-only layer.

What is the difference between Geopointe's Thematic Layer and SpatialKey's Thematic Mapping option?
Fundamentally, they work the same way. Each takes your data and uses geographic boundaries to represent your data in concentrations (by record count or a numeric field) and both are highly customizable at the bin and color level. Geopointe's Thematic Layer happens natively on the Map page, and does not require an extra cost. SpatialKey does allow you to see Thematic Maps using custom shapefiles, something we do not currently offer. Metrics can also be changed in real time, where ours are hard-set after a save.