Knowledge Base

Mapping Basics

Product(s): Tableau Desktop, Tableau Public
Version(s): All
Last Modified Date: 19 Jun 2014

Creating map views in Tableau is quick and easy. This document will walk through setting up a basic map using the Superstore Sales example included with Tableau Desktop.

Mapping Basics

You can assign Geographic Roles to fields that contain geographic data such as country/region names, state names, zip codes, and so on. Fields with a Geographic Role will automatically generate longitude and latitude coordinates for display on a map view. Tableau automatically assigns Geographic Roles to fields with common location names such as State, County, etc. Geographic Roles can also be manually assigned to fields that are not automatically recognized.

Step 1

To start, open Tableau and connect using the included Example - Superstore Sales (Excel) connection. Customer State and Zip Code are automatically recognized as having a Geographic Role, which is denoted in the Data window with a globe icon.

Step 2

Double-click the Customer State field in the Dimensions area of the Data window.

  • Tableau automatically adds Longitude (generated) and Latitude (generated) to the Columns and Rows shelves.
  • Customer State is automatically placed on the Level of Detail shelf. The Level of Detail is used to determine how Tableau generates coordinates on Rows and Columns are displayed.

User-added image

Step 3

Drag the Zip Code field to the Level of Detail shelf to specify more detail. The built-in Geographic Roles are arranged in a hierarchy, the field with the lowest level of detail is what is shown on the map.

User-added image

Manually specify a geographic role

If a Geographic Role is not automatically recognized, you can manually specify. In this example Postal Code is used as the field name for zip code values.

Step 1

Right-click the Postal Code field in the Dimensions area of the Data window.

Step 2

Select Geographic Role > Zip Code.

Built-in geographic roles

Tableau contains several built-in Geographic Roles with predefined longitude and latitude coordinates. Many of the roles extend internationally but some are limited to the U.S. only. The built-in Geographic Roles are listed below. Refer to the Map Data page for map data providers and status.

For Tableau Desktop 7.0 and later:

Role Name Description
Area Code U.S. telephone area codes; numbers only.
CBSA/MSA U.S. Core Based Statistical Areas, which includes Metropolitan Statistical Areas, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
City Worldwide cities with population of 15,000 or more. Names are in English, French, and German.
Congressional District U.S. congressional districts.
Country/Region Worldwide countries, regions, and territories. Names are in English, French, and German. Tableau also recognizes, FIPS 10, ISO 3166-1 alpha 2, and ISO 3166-1 alpha 3. Names are included in various forms, including long, short, and various abbreviations.
County U.S. counties and county-equivalents by name. Independent cities are included with their names followed by city.
Latitude Latitude in decimal degrees. Only available for numeric fields.
Longitude Longitude in decimal degrees. Only available for numeric fields.
State/Province

Worldwide state, province, and other first-level administrative divisions. Names are in English, French, and German.

Official abbreviations available for the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, U.K., and U.S.

Note: Some names may be available only in their local form.

ZIP Code/Postcode

U.S. five digit zip codes.

Australian four digit postcodes.

Canada Forward Sortation Area; first three characters of the six character Canadian postal code.

French five digit postcodes.

German five digit postcodes.

New Zealand four digit postcodes.

U.K. Outcodes; first segment of the five to seven character U.K. Postcode.

For Tableau Desktop version 6.1 and earlier:

Role Name

Description
Area Code U.S. telephone area codes; numbers only.
CBSA U.S. Core Based Statistical Area, which includes Metropolitan Statistical areas,
as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
City (Name - English) Worldwide city names in English; populations of 15,000 or more.
City (Name - French) Worldwide city names in French; populations of 15,000 or more.
City (Name - German) Worldwide city names in German; populations of 15,000 or more.
Country (FIPS 10) Worldwide countries using the U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard No. 10.
Country (Name - English)

Worldwide country names in English.

Note: Some country names may be available only in their endonymic form.

Country (Name - French) Worldwide country names in French.
Country (Name - German) Worldwide country names in German.
Country 2 char (ISO 3166-2) Worldwide countries using the alpha 2 of the 3166 standard set by the
International Organization for Standardization.
Country 3 char (ISO 3166-3) Worldwide countries using the alpha3 of the 3166 standard set by the
International Organization for Standardization.
County U.S. county names.
State (Abbreviation) Worldwide state, province, and administrative division abbreviations in English.
State (Name - English)

Worldwide state, province, and administrative division names in English.

Note: Some state names may be available only in their local form.

State (Name - French) Worldwide state, province, and administrative division names in French.
State (Name - German) Worldwide state, province, and administrative division names in German.
ZIP Code/Postcode

U.S. five digit zip codes.

Australian four digit postcodes.

Canada Forward Sortation Area; first three characters of the six character Canadian postal code.

French five digit postcodes.

German five digit postcodes. New Zealand four digit postcodes.

U.K. Outcodes; first segment of the five to seven character U.K. Postcode.



Alternate Search Terms: map, geocoding, geocode, geographic, country, country/region, region, state, zip, zip code, postal code, wms, location, province, prefecture, congress
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