Engine Works

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

One of our goals for spatial data in Alteryx is that it isn't really any different than other data. Anywhere that it makes sense to manipulate spatial data the same way you manipulate numbers or strings, you can. One place where this principle breaks down is in the formula library. In the past, formulas only supported numbers and strings, so for 5.0 we're going to fix that, adding full support for spatial objects in formulas.


For example, the Spatial Info tool is great for getting you all sorts of information about spatial objects, but about half the time I use one, it's always the same pattern: I pull out one value (maybe the area) so I can use it one time in a formula tool or a filter, and then I have a select to get rid of the extra field. That's kind of a pain. So, in 5.0, you'll be able to get the area directly, right where you need it in the filter tool, with a SpatialArea() function.


Anywhere in Alteryx that you use formulas, you'll be able to reference spatial fields, and a host of new functions that operate on them. All the information you can currently get from the SpatialInfo tool, and all the manipulations you can perform with the SpatialProcess tool will now be available as formula functions as well.

For the most part, the things you can do with spatial objects in formulas are things you could have done before, but they would have required jumping through many more hoops. Having these functions directly in formulas will let you write modules that are much more streamlined and easier to understand.