Pandas: Understanding method (5 examples)

Updated: February 19, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


The .map() method in Pandas is a powerful tool for transforming and mapping data in a Series or DataFrame. Whether you’re dealing with data cleaning, preparation, or feature engineering, understanding how to effectively use the .map() method can significantly streamline your data manipulation tasks. In this tutorial, we’ll explore the .map() method through five progressively complex examples, demonstrating its utility and flexibility. Let’s dive in!

Purpose of the .map() Method

.map() is a method applied to Pandas Series, allowing you to map values from one domain to another using a dictionary or a function. It is particularly useful for transforming data and can also be utilized for simple feature engineering tasks. Note: While commonly used on Series objects, to achieve similar functionality on DataFrame columns, one would typically use .apply() or .applymap() methods, but techniques to bridge this gap will also be covered.

Example 1: Basic Mapping with a Dictionary

import pandas as pd

# Creating a sample Series
s = pd.Series([1, 2, 3, 4])

# Mapping using a dictionary
mapped_s ={1: 'one', 2: 'two', 3: 'three', 4: 'four'})

# Display the result


0 one
1 two
2 three
3 four
dtype: object

This basic example shows how to replace each value in a Series with corresponding values defined in a dictionary. This method is straightforward and often used for simple transformations.

Example 2: Mapping with a Function

import pandas as pd

# Creating another sample Series
s = pd.Series([20, 25, 30, 35])

# Defining a function to map values
def custom_function(x):
    if x < 25:
        return 'Low'
    elif x >= 25 and x <= 30:
        return 'Medium'
        return 'High'

# Applying the function using map
mapped_s =

# Display results


0 Low
1 Medium
2 Medium
3 High
dtype: object

This example illustrates how to use a custom function for more complex conditions during mapping, which provides flexibility in handling diverse data transformation requirements.

Example 3: Mapping with an External Series

import pandas as pd

# Creating two Series
s1 = pd.Series(['a', 'b', 'c', 'd'])
s2 = pd.Series([1, 2, 3, 4], index=['a', 'b', 'c', 'd'])

# Mapping s1 values based on s2
mapped_s1 =

# Display the result


0 1
1 2
2 3
3 4
dtype: object

Here, we showcase how to map values from one Series to another using the second Series as a dictionary. This method is notably useful for more complex data transformation tasks, such as looking up equivalent values.

Example 4: Conditional Mapping with .apply() and Lambda Functions

import pandas as pd

df = pd.DataFrame({'Category': ['A', 'B', 'C', 'A', 'B'],
                   'Value': [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]})

# Applying conditional mapping to 'Category' using lambda
mapped_df = df['Category'].map(lambda x: 'Group 1' if x == 'A' else 'Group 2')

# Displaying the DataFrame


0 Group 1
1 Group 2
2 Group 2
3 Group 1
4 Group 2
dtype: object

In this example, we dive into applying conditional logic within the .map() function using lambda expressions. This method brings about even more versatility, allowing for inline, on-the-fly function definition for specific mapping needs.

Example 5: Combining .map() with Other DataFrame Operations

import pandas as pd

# Sample DataFrame
df = pd.DataFrame({
    'Product': ['Apple', 'Banana', 'Carrot', 'Date'],
    'Price': [1.20, 0.80, 0.50, 1.50]

# Mapping and creating a new 'Category' column
df['Category'] = df['Product'].map({'Apple': 'Fruit', 'Banana': 'Fruit', 'Carrot': 'Vegetable', 'Date': 'Fruit'})

# Advanced manipulation, e.g., aggregating based on the new 'Category'
result = df.groupby('Category').mean()

# Displaying the result


Fruit 1.17
Vegetable 0.50

In our final example, we demonstrate the power of combining .map() with other DataFrame operations like .groupby(). Here, we’ve created a new column and then performed an aggregation based on that new categorization. This showcases .map()‘s versatility and its potential to enhance data analysis workflows.


The .map() method offers a robust way for data transformation, enabling precise manipulation and enhancing data analysis capabilities. Through these examples, we’ve seen its adaptability, from basic transformations to complex data engineering tasks. Understanding and utilizing .map() effectively can significantly boost your data processing skills in Pandas.