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Engine Works Blog

Under the hood of Alteryx: tips, tricks and how-tos.
Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

In mathematics, the polar coordinate system is a two-dimensional coordinate system in which each point on a plane is determined by a distance from a fixed point and an angle from a fixed direction.


We can create a polar coordinate system in Alteryx by taking an input file with a distance and degree for each of the 360 degrees in a circle and using our Mapping Tool creatively we can emulate polar graphing.

Distance Degree
0 0
0 1
0.5 2
1.3 3
2.6 4
4.4 5
7 6
10.4 7
15.5 8
23.2 9
24.6 10
20.3 11
19 12
19.8 13


The Alteryx module will determine the max distance value from the input file. With the max distance we can build the distance rings from the center (0.00 Lat and 0.00 Lon) in increments of 10 using the generate rows tool. The outer Ring is 0 distance with the next ring toward the center as distance of 10.


Using the formula tool with the input data from above we determine the distance from the center for each value by taking the Max_Value – Distance. So that when we plot the 0 degree and 0 distance it is located on the outer ring at 0 degrees.


The distance from the center for each direction is used as input into the GetOffsetPoint macro which calculates the actual point in space from 0.00 lat and 0.00 lon, the Offset Point.


Using the Poly-Build Tool Sequence Polygon with the Source Field the Offset Point and the Sequence Field each of the degrees starting at 0 and ending at 360 the graph is created.


The Vertical lines for the graph are built using the GetOffsetPoint every 15 degrees with the distance of the Max_Value calculated above. The Poly-Build Sequence Polyline actual generates the lines for the graph from the Offset Points.


We also create the Label point for the rings using the GetOffsetPoint with increments of 10 for the distance and 0 for the degrees.


Finally the layers are all joined together and Plotted using the Map Tool to view the results below.


A good example of a practical application for Polar Graph is graphing signal strength around a tower.


For example module and data see the download here.