Map chart options

See the Google Maps chart options documentation page for information about using Looker's Google Maps chart type.

Map charts let you visualize geographic data on responsive and interactive maps, and provide significant control over the way that map points are plotted.

Building an interactive map chart

To create a map chart, your query must include at least one of the following fields:

  • A dimension based on latitude and longitude data. This is defined by a LookML developer as a dimension of type: location.
  • A dimension with a map layer assigned to it. LookML developers can add a built-in map layer or a custom map layer to a dimension using the map_layer_name parameter.
  • A zip code dimension. Zip code regions are based on the 2010 zip code tabulation areas (ZCTAs). There may not be a one-to-one correspondence between zip codes and the ZCTAs used for map visualizations. It is possible that not all points will be visualized in the map.

Limit the precision of latitude and longitude data coordinates to no more than five to six decimal places. If coordinates exceed seven decimal places, then the map will not display any data points.

To build an interactive map chart, select the Map visualization type in the Visualization bar. You can also edit your map visualization in the visualization menu. Click the gear in the upper right corner of the Visualization bar.

Options listed below may be grayed out or hidden if they conflict with other settings that you have chosen.

Plot menu options

The Plot tab lets you select the way that your location data is plotted. Each choice has slightly different formatting options, as appropriate for the plot type. Plot options also differ depending on whether a map layer is defined in the LookML for your dimension.

For dimensions that are not associated with a map layer, the following Plot options are supported: Zip code dimensions automatically have a US zip code map layer assigned. For other dimensions that have a defined map layer, you will see this set of Plot options displays:


You can plot each row in an underlying data table as a discrete point on the map.

A location dimension by itself will place points of uniform size and color. Adding a measure to the underlying data table enables the points to be scaled by color or size.

Automagic Heatmap

You can display data in the underlying query as a heatmap grid. It works by dividing the visible map into equal squares, then calculating which values in your data fit into each square. The squares are colored according to a measure that you choose. Zooming this map in or out will prompt Looker to re-calculate the grid, so that the granularity is appropriate to the zoom level.

For this plot type to work properly, you must select both a location dimension and a measure.

The Automagic Heatmap will re-query your data to construct the heatmap grid. A location dimension will typically show distinct points with one latitude/longitude coordinate, but when you use a heatmap, the dimension changes to the bounding boxes ("Heatmap region from ... to ..") of each square in the grid.

Connect with Lines

The Connect with Lines map visualization takes two fields of type:location from your query, then connects them together in the visualization. Adding a measure to the query lets you add a color scale to the lines.

Connect with Areas

The Connect with Areas map visualization takes one field of type:location and connects all the points in the order that you've sorted them, forming the boundaries of an area on the map. Adding a measure to the query lets you format the size and color of the individual location points bounding the area.

Heatmap Gridlines

For heatmap visualizations, you can add a border around each of the gridlines used for the heatmap.

Heatmap Opacity

For heatmap visualizations, you can specify the opacity of the colors used in the heatmap. Enter a number between 0 and 1, where 0 means no color and 1 means totally opaque.

Gridlines on Empty Regions

If the Heatmap Gridlines option is turned on, and you are plotting a dimension that has a defined map_layer_name, you can enable the Gridlines on Empty Regions toggle to display an outline around the map regions that have no associated data. This example shows a heatmap visualization with Gridlines on Empty Regions turned off (left image) and with it turned on (right image).

Map menu options

Map Style

Map styles clockwise from top left: Light (No Labels), Dark, Traffic (Day), Satellite

Map Style lets users change the type of background map, and whether map labels (like cities and streets) should be displayed. This option features a drop-down menu with a list of choices:

  • Light: Subtle, light-colored map designed to provide geographic context while highlighting your data.
  • Light (No Labels): Same as Light, except the map omits labels such as city names.
  • Dark: Subtle, dark-colored map designed to provide geographic context while highlighting your data.
  • Dark (No Labels): Same as Dark, except the map omits labels such as city names.
  • Satellite: Map displaying global satellite and aerial imagery.
  • Satellite (No Labels): Same as Satellite, except the map omits labels such as city names.
  • Streets: General-purpose map that emphasizes legible styling of road and transit networks.
  • Outdoors: General-purpose map tailored to hiking, biking, and other outdoor uses.
  • Traffic (Day): Light-colored map emphasizing transit networks and roads, including current traffic information.
  • Traffic (Night): Dark-colored map emphasizing transit networks and roads, including current traffic information.

Map Position

You can change the center point and zoom level of a visible map:

  • Fit to Data: Automatically centers and zooms the map such that all the data points of your query are visible.
  • Custom: Lets you manually set a Latitude, Longitude, and Zoom Level (higher numbers create a closer zoom level):

    If you drag and zoom the map itself to arrive at the view you'd like, these values are automatically filled in when you choose Custom.

Not available with the Automagic Heatmap plot type

Map Scale Indicator

You can determine whether a map scale will show and the units to display:

  • Off
  • Metric (m, km)
  • Imperial (ft, mi)
  • Metric and Imperial

Allow Panning

You can determine whether users can reposition the map by dragging it. This feature is allowed by default.

Allow Zooming

You can decide if a (+/-) button should display in the upper left of the map visualization, allowing users to zoom in and out. This feature is on by default.

Show Full Field Name

You can determine whether to show the view name along with the field name in map tooltips, which display when users click on map data points.

Show Legend

You can determine whether a map legend displays in the lower right of a visualization. The legend shows the color scale that you are using, if you've added a measure to your visualization.

The Show Legend option is available for the following Plot options:

Show Region Field in Tooltip

You can display the region information in the tooltip of the map. Click on a point in the map to see the name of the region:

If your Looker developer has defined drilling options for the dimension, you can click the region name to drill further into the data:

Tooltips on map charts look and function slightly differently when viewed on dashboards. For more information, see the Viewing map charts in dashboards section on this page.

Draw Map Labels Above Data

You can display the map's labels above or below the heatmap. This is significant with higher heatmap opacity values. If your heatmap is opaque, the labels will not show unless they display above the data:

Points menu options

Not available with the Automagic Heatmap plot type


Point types clockwise from top left: Circle, Icon, Both, None

For maps of plot type Points, Lines, and Area, Type specifies the type of point displayed on the map visualization:

  • Circle
  • Icon
  • Both
  • None

Your point type selection impacts the formatting options that are available. The example above shows the options for a Type of Both, which includes all options.


You can choose an icon to display on all map markers (they cannot be dynamic according to your data).


If you used a Type of Circle, you can set the size of that circle:

  • Proportional to Value: Adjusts the relative size of the circles according to measures you've added to your query. When you choose this option you can set a Minimum Radius and Maximum Radius of the circles, which will correspond with the lowest and highest value in your data. You can also toggle between a Linear and Logarithmic scale when the circles are being sized.

  • Equal to Value: Adjusts the radius of the circles to the actual measure values in your underyling query. This likely only makes sense if you are plotting distance data — for example, if your measure contained the size of a territory.

  • Fixed: Lets you set a fixed radius to apply to all map markers. The default value is 500.

Radius Units

You can set the units that are used in the Radius section to meters or pixels.

Marker Color Value

You can set the color of the map markers in an interactive map:

  • Based on Value: Colors are dynamically assigned to markers based on the values of your underlying query. To configure the colors in the legend for this option, see the Value Colors option.
  • Custom: Lets you set a single color to use for all map markers. The color value can also be formatted as an RGB hex string, such as #2ca6cd, or as CSS color names, such as mediumblue.

Value menu options

Value Colors

You can set the color of map points or define the range of colors to be used if you are color coding according to a measure.

You can input a list of hex strings, such as #2ca6cd, or CSS color names, such as mediumblue. The colors you input first are associated with the lowest values.

Quantize Colors

When turned on, Quantize Colors changes the color scale from a smooth gradient to only the specific colors you've set.

The image on the left depicts the legend when Quantize Colors is off, and the image on the right depicts the legend when Quantize Colors is turned on:

Reverse Color Scale

When turned on, Reverse Color Scale switches the colors that indicate high and low values on the chart, reversing the color gradient.

The image on the left depicts a chart with low values indicated by green, and high values indicated by red. The image on the right depicts the same chart with Reverse Color Scale turned on:

Minimum Value/Maximum Value

You can set the minimum and maximum values of the color range. This lets you color code all points below a certain threshold with the lowest color and all points above a certain threshold with the highest color.

By default this field is left blank, and the minimum and maximum values applied on the legend are the minimum and maximum values from your query.

Viewing map charts in dashboards

When you view map charts in dashboards, tooltips function slightly differently than they do when you view map charts as Looks or as Explores:

In dashboards, the tooltips appear on hover, rather than on click. Viewers of a dashboard can see content placed in a tooltip with the html parameter, but if any interactive content is included as part of the html parameter — such as links — viewers cannot click on it.

If you click Explore from Here on a map chart dashboard tile, or if you open the edit window for a map chart tile, you will see the Look and Explore version of the map chart.