Advanced Data Mapper Usage

Using the advanced features of the Data Mapper


Before jumping into the advanced usage capabilities of the Data Mapper, a brief review of the basic functionality will help.

Data Mapper Configuration

The Data Mapper is used to map columns from the source data to the target data table.

Inspection and Populating the Mapper

Using the Inspect Source menu button provides additional ways to map columns from source to target:

  • Populate Both Mapping Tables: Propagates all values from the source data table into the target data table. This is done by default.
  • Populate Source Mapping Table Only: Maps all values in the source data table only. This is helpful when modifying an existing workflow when source column structure has changed.
  • Populate Target Mapping Table Only: Propagates all values into the target data table only.

If the source and target column options aren’t enough, other columns can be added into the target data table in several different ways:

  • Propagate All will insert all source columns into the target data table, whether they already existed or not.
  • Propagate Selected will insert selected source column(s) only.
  • Right click on target side and select Insert Row to insert a row immediately above the currently selected row.
  • Right click on target side and select Append Row to insert a row at the bottom (far right) of the target data table.

Deleting Columns

To delete columns from the target data table, select the desired column(s), then right click and select Delete.

Chaging Column Order

To rearrange columns in the target data table, select the desired column(s). You can use either:

  • Bulk Move Arrows: Select the desired move option from the arrows in the upper right
  • Context Menu: Right clikc and select Move to Top, Move Up, Move Down, or Move to Bottom.

Reduce Result to Distinct Records Only

To return only distinct options, select the Distinct menu option. This will toggle a set of checkboxes for each column in the source. Simply check any box next to the corresponding column to return only distinct results.

Aggregation and Grouping

To aggregate results, select the Summarize menu option. This will toggle a set of select boxes for each column in the target data table. Choose an appropriate summarization method for each column.

Advanced Usage

Aggregation Options

To aggregate results, select the Summarize menu option. This will toggle a set of select boxes for each column in the target data table. The following summarization options are available:

Group ByGroups results by the value
CountNumber of non-null observations in group
Count (including nulls)Number of observations in group
SumSum of values in group
MeanMean of values in group
MedianMedian of values in group
ModeMode of values in group
MinMinimum of values in group
MaxMaximum of values in group
FirstFirst value of values in group using the sorted order
LastLast value of values in group using the sorted order
Standard DeviationUnbiased standard deviation in group
Sample Standard DeviationSample standard deviation in group
Population Standard DeviationPopulation standard deviation in group
VarianceUnbiased variance in group
Sample VarianceSample Variance in group
Population VariancePopulation Variance in group
Advanced Non-Group-BySpecial aggregation selection when using window functions

Pick the appropriate summarization method for the column.

When using a Window Function, select Advanced Non-Group-By as the aggregation method. This special selection is required due to the aggregation inherent in the window function already.


Specifying a value in the Constant column will override the source column value, if specified, and populate the column with the constant value specified.


The Data Mapper provides a convenient point-and-click cleaner capability to apply conversions to the data within a column.

The cleaning operations include the following categories:

  • Text Trimming
  • Text Formatting
  • Text Transformations
  • Converting to and from NULL values
  • Number Formatting
  • Date Parsing

The result of the cleaner selections are converted into a consolidated expression which is viewable in the Expression information.


Expressions in the Data Mapper are one of the most powerful and flexible concepts in PlaidCloud. They provide nearly unlimited flexibility while being exceptionally performant, even on extremely large data.

Expressions are written using Python SQLAlchemy syntax along with a few additional helper functions available in PlaidCloud. This allows PlaidCloud to expose the full set of capabilities of the underlying data warehouse (e.g. Greenplum, SAP HANA, Redshift, etc...) directly. In addition, there are many resources available publicly that provide quick references for use of SQLAlchemy operations. By using standard SQLAlchemy syntax, PlaidCloud avoids the common pitfall of creating yet another domain specific syntax.

The expression editor is opened by double-clicking on the expression cell for the column. Once open, the list of columns are shown on the left while an extensive library of functions are shown on the right.

While it is entirely possible to type the expression directly into the editor, it is normally easier to use the point-and-click function and column selection to get started. The library of functions include the following groups:

  • Conditions
  • Column Specific Conditions
  • Conversions
  • Dates
  • Math
  • Text
  • Summarizations
  • Window Function Operations
  • Arrays
  • JSON
  • PostGIS (Geospatial)
  • Trigonmetry

Once you have completed the expression, save the expression so it will be applied to the column.

View examples and expression functions in the Expressions area.

Last modified November 27, 2023 at 12:56 PM EST: Restructured the file structure/a few changes (f6c58b8)