Business Intelligence Tools

Spotfire Maps — How to Configure a Map Chart with a Non-Map Image

  • Have you seen examples of folks using images as map charts but you don’t know how to create them?
  • Would you like to use an image in a visualization?

At the end of last week, I published a template showing how to use non-map images in map visualizations.  It can be found here on for free.  This blog post will walk through how I created it.  Now, before diving in, I just want to note that you can add any image to a map visualization, connect a data table to the image, and then put markers or pies on the image as specified by the coordinates.  The key is knowing how to create the coordinate system.   When I first took Essentials training several years ago and learned how to do this, the example used in the TIBCO training was an image of a vending machine.  They created a coordinate system and placed sales data on the location of an item in the machine, which could help the user identify if positioning in the machine impacted sales.

For my example, I created a simple rectangle in PowerPoint and placed dots in the rectangle to mimic well locations on a pad.  Here are the steps.

  1. If you already have an image, insert it into Word, PowerPoint or another application that will allow you to create a grid. For this example, I actually created the image in PowerPoint.
  2. Go to the View menu in the PowerPoint ribbon and turn on the Ruler and Grid lines.
  3. If you are creating an image in PowerPoint, you can also click on what you have created and then go to the Format menu at the end of the ribbon.  There will be a size box that tells you how large the image is, and it can be resized from the Format menu. In my example, I added dots to the rectangle to represent well locations/
  4. The next step is to identify where you want data to be in Spotfire on the image and record the corresponding coordinates.  Here is an example.    
  5. The coordinates must be recorded in a data table.  For this example, I added the coordinates to an Excel worksheet.  You could always add them to an Excel sheet and then insert column into another data table if there is other information you would like to connect to as well.
  6. After creating this image in PowerPoint, I took a screenshot and then saved it with Microsoft Paint as a .png file.  If you already have an image and just used PowerPoint to generate coordinates, you are done with PowerPoint.

Here are the steps for creating the visualization in Spotfire

  1. Add the data table with the coordinate information
  2. Add a map chart visualization
  3. Go to Properties, Layers and turn off or remove the TIBCO map (assuming you won’t need the TIBCO map because you are working with an image)
  4. Click the Add button and add an image layer. 
  5. Select the Image layer and then click the Settings button.  
  6. Click the Browse button and browse to the image.
  7. Set the coordinate reference system to EPSG: 4326 – WGS 84.
  8. Click the Extent Settings button and set the coordinate system with the length and width used in Word or PPT. Note that my screen shot above is labeled to 4 and 7, but you can see that the image goes higher to 5″ and 9″
  9. Configure the map chart with any additional information as desired.  In the sample, DXP I have a status of off or on.


NOTE: When I created the well pad image in PPT, I placed black dots on the image to note well locations.  This was not necessary.  I could have excluded them and then simply used the Spotfire markers to note the well location.  I did this so I could see how accurate my placement was.  As you can see, I wasn’t that great at putting dots on PPT.  Spotfire was more precise than I was.

I hope you find this useful.  If needed, you may contact me at  Thanks!

2 thoughts on “Spotfire Maps — How to Configure a Map Chart with a Non-Map Image

  1. Chad Holland Reply

    Is there a way to lock the aspect ratio in some way? Make it so that the image takes up the entire map window and scales if the map window is resized?

  2. Julie Reply

    No, I don’t think that is available as an option. You should put that in the ideas portal.

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