Engine Works

Under the hood of Alteryx: tips, tricks and how-tos.
It's the most wonderful time of the year - Santalytics 2020 is here! This year, Santa's workshop needs the help of the Alteryx Community to help get back on track, so head over to the Group Hub for all the info to get started!
Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

This blog post is referring to functionality that will be in our next major release. Beta users can preview this feature in the latest Beta release of Alteryx. Please send an email to products@alteryx.com if you are interested in participating in our Beta program.


MapServer 6.0 has multiple enhancements over 5.6, most of which have resulted in the ability render quicker maps; support multiple layers in each individual class as well as styles within each of those layers. Along with the transition to MapServer 6, the Map Tool has changed to utilize more of the capabilities of MapServer 6 and to make for better reporting options using mapping. The Map Tool can now be saved with all its settings and connections; this saves time in not having to reconfigure the Map Tool each time you want to use it.


1st screenshot below is of the Alteryx 6.2 Map Tool, 2nd screenshot is of the new Map Tool for 7.0


The first noticeable enhancement is the Preview Window; this helps the user to visualize the layers as they will be on the map without necessarily having to run the module to a Browse thereby saving time. The option to refresh directly on the preview window further enhances the experience of what layers will change and how they will appear on rendering the map.

If you click on the Map, a separate window with only the Map Preview will open allowing for zooming, viewing actual size or fitting to window. (Shown in screenshot below)



Settings Tab: In general a map is set up once before the user moves to the Data and Layer options, so a separate tab for settings makes sense. The Map Tool in previous versions had the General option displayed which took up much screen space to be able to focus on editing of actual layers. The updated tool adds the Preview Window on display permanently and the user now has the ability to focus on the data and layers which will be displayed. The spatial field was also input in the Settings options with the old Map Tool; this is now placed in a separate tab as Data input to allow the user more control over data inputs.


Data Tab: The updated Map Tool displays the data connections and their settings. You are able to select the data from incoming connection or from a file which makes selecting layers easier. You can also select a Tile Method on the Thematic Data. The thematic options are Smart Tile, Equal Tile Count, Equal Tile Size, Unique value, Manual Tile or Manual Value.


Layers Tab: From the Layers Tab, users can custom order, style and theme layers.


  • Custom Ordering, you can now custom order the layers available using the arrows or the quick order select option. There is also the ability to move actual base layers to the desired position. You can add or delete layers to further organize what you would like to have displayed on the map.


  • Styling, you have the ability to style each layer incoming as point, line and polygon with the added ability to use hatching on polygons. You also have the ability to overwrite the base layer and style them.


  • Label, the label now has many more options for display on the map; the label control is nested neatly under the data layer it is labeling.


Screen Shot of the updated Map Tool showing Label associated with the data input.




  • Layers Theming, a second option for theming a layer is now available. Using the new Color Method: Ramp, the user is able to specify a start color and ending color which can be used to ramp from and to.


The increased versatility of mapping available through the updated Map Tool in Alteryx 7.0 will greatly enhance the ability to generate better mapping reports and makes setting the Map Tool up more convenient than ever before. MapServer 6 allows for much of the enhanced ability in the new Map Tool.


The improvements mentioned above will greatly improve the quality of your map output. You can be rest assured that your maps created in previous versions will translate seamlessly.