The Broads.png

The Broads National Park

Tableau public viz


Data Sources:

ONS rivers: oprvrs_essh_gb

National Parks: National_Parks_England | Lakes water bodies: EA_WFDLakeWaterBodiesCycle2_SHP_Full

Text: | wikipedia | visitnorfolk

Image credits:

Original Marsh Harrier image (pre lots of manipulation): Norfolk wildlife trust | Marsh harrier at Hardley on 19/06/2018. Contributed by: Nick Appleton

Special thanks to: Ben Moss – for helping with the multi sourced .shp files Lorna Eden, Elena Hristozova & Dave Kirk for their viz critique


I love a good map…… but rarely use them in my day to day work or ‘pleasure vizzing’ as my topics are rarely spatial in content. However I fancied creating a viz bringing maps into play.

For this viz i took inspiration from a recent family day out at one of the nature reserves close to our home, we took great delight in getting sight of the phenomenal Marsh Harrier that makes The Norfolk Broads its home whilst exploring Hickling broad, its hides and paths. I began to research a little more about the Broads and the Marsh Harrier and decided to combine them into an infographic (none interactive) viz which would provide a little information about lovely little Norfolk’s pride and joy.

The style of the viz takes inspiration from the LNER railway posters of yesteryear which frequently state ‘Visit [Norfolk]…. its quicker by rail’ and for Norfolk you may find that this is still true given the road network is yet to embrace the ‘M’ road concept and ‘A’ is still a trial concept!

Viz type

Map and bar chart

A quick ‘how I constructed the viz’

Viz wise there’s not much technical happening here, however there was a bit of data prep involved and a few faffy bits involving PowerPoint.

Here’s a summary of the techniques:

  • I reached out to Alteryx Ace Ben Moss for a bit of help with joining .shp files in Alteryx – so thanks for that. Drop me a message if you wish for me to explain the process for that, I tend to keep these posts Tableau focused.
  • Viz wise the majority of this viz was an experiment with leveraging the power of PowerPoint in dataviz, there are quite a few posts out there to help with this and I’ll name a few below. The key technique to get your head around is setting transparency, the Marsh Harrier has the transparency set on all the seemingly white bits to enable it float over the content in Tableau. The circle holding the map has a boarder outside the circle set as white, yet the inner of the circle cut out so that the map can shine through. For that you need to use the merge and subtract functionality in format as below:

merge image

  • Floating sheets and text boxes- to get the cascading text you need to float the text box and carriage return your text rows around your visual content to get get effect shown.
  • The rest is just prettyfication and use of text box colour and font use.

Further reading on transparent elements and leveraging PowerPoint include Sarah’s post how to build circular maps.

Thanks for reading