How to create a live-updating symbol map

⚠️ This is not an officially supported feature, but a workaround for advanced users. 

👉 To create a symbol map that doesn't update live, visit this article.
👉 To create a live-updating chart or table, visit this article.
👉 To create a live-updating choropleth map, visit this article.

Datawrapper makes it easy to create live-updating charts, but creating live-updating choropleth and symbol maps is not supported yet. Here's how to achieve it anyway.

1

Create a symbol map

To do so, go to  https://app.datawrapper.de/create/map and click on Symbol map Then, choose the map you'd like to put your data in. Click Next.

2

Go to step 1 of the chart editor

You will arrive in step 2: Add your data. Now you can either change the URL directly to app.datawrapper.de/chart/YOUR-ID/upload or follow the rest of the instructions here: 

Find the link  Looking for the other data table? at the bottom and click on it.

Notice how the URL changed from app.datawrapper.de/map/YOUR-ID/data to app.datawrapper.de/chart/YOUR-ID/describe. You're not in the Datawrapper map editor anymore but in the second step of the chart editor.

The option to insert a link to a live-updating CSV or Google Sheets is in step 1 of the chart editor. To get there, we'll need to change the URL:

Change the last part of the URL from "describe" to "upload", so that it looks like this now: app.datawrapper.de/chart/YOUR-ID/ upload

3

Insert a link to your data 

You should see the question How do you want to upload your data?. Click on Link external dataset, where you can now insert your link as described in our Academy article "Automatic chart updates: How to publish charts with external data sources".

We will choose a Google Spreadsheet of coronavirus cases for our symbol map. 

The data needs to be in a perfect format from the beginning. Y ou'll need the columns "Lat" (or "latitude"), "Long" (or "longitude"), and the columns with your data as needed. The coordinates need to be in the decimal format (like "29.3829"), not in a DMS format (like "29° 22' 58.44'' N").

If unsure or the map looks weird, build a normal symbol map with Datawrapper first, then download the data with "Get your data" to learn about the Datawrapper spelling of IDs and column headers.
This is how the Google Sheets looks like for the symbol map:
Get a shareable link of your Google Spreadsheet and paste it below Enter URL to an external CSV file:
4

Go back to the map editor and style your map

Now you'll need to change the URL again to get back to the map editor. To do, change two things, "chart" to "map" and "upload" to "visualize". So instead of app.datawrapper.de/ chart/YOUR-ID/upload, your URL now looks like app.datawrapper.de/map/YOUR-ID/visualize. Hit Enter.

This brings you in step 3: Visualize of the map editor, where you can style your map. Select the size of your symbols, etc.

The map uses the sizes and colors you defined and will continue doing so regardless of new values in your dataset. Meaning, the colors in your choropleth map don't adjust to new min-max values. If you know that your future data will have greater or smaller values than it currently has, consider changing the min and max values of your color gradient right now, or remember to change the colors later on.

5

Publish your map

Now click on step 4: Publish and publish your map. 

And that's it! Your map will check your dataset every minute and pull new changes that your readers can see when they refresh the page where you embedded your map.


And that's it! If you still have questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.