Which shape are you?

The Social Progress Index

Two weeks ago, I was browsing the Tableau community forum and I found an interesting question about reference line. The question was about to create a band reference line but just for few members in a dimension (Here is the question). This question drove me to an other question: Is it possible to create a "dynamic" reference line?

To answer it, I chose a dataset about Social metrics in the world: The Social Progress Index. With this dataset I tried to create a "dynamic" reference line.

As you can see in the visualisation below, when you click on a country on the map the reference line in the distribution graphic shows the average gap. The average gap is represented by a grey band calculated when the user click on a country. My idea was to show the gap when a country is highlighted and the average line in the other hand. To do this I used th LoD. It was just my second time with LoD... and it was very interesting!

The formula used in the LoD calculation allows me to calculate the general average: { EXCLUDE [Country]: avg([Value]) }. To build the reference band, I chose the average for each country as the end and my LoD calculation as the begin. The 9.0 version of Tableau allows me to show re-calculated reference lines when a mark is selected so I used it to redraw the reference band! Because in fact, the band is equal to 0 when no selection is provided. After this I chose to add some other graphics such as the radar graph to show the shape of each country and a map to allow the selection.

Feel free to leave a message or a note about this work!

The Social Progress Index - Data

Thank you for the reading!


  1. Hi, beautiful visualisations, well done! I particularly like the matrix shapes. I have been looking for techniques to create radar charts - would you have any good source on the methodology you are using?

    1. Hi Gabor, you can find in this blog post how I created the radar chart! Thanks again!


    2. Hi Jonathan, awesome article, much appreciated! I will now endeavour to create some of those radar charts!

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  2. Hi! Thanks! :) I don't have sources for the radar chart because I created it with trigonometry. I will try to update the post with an example. It is not really hard to do this kind of chart but it is full of mathemathics!