Knowledge Base

Mapping Basics

Product(s): Tableau Desktop, Tableau Public
Version(s): 8.3, 8.2, 8.1, 8.0, 7.0
Last Modified Date: 02 Dec 2014

This article explains the basic concepts of map views, and demonstrates how you can create a map view in Tableau.

Mapping basics

Tableau automatically assigns geographic roles to fields with common geographical names, such as Country, State/Province, City, etc. Fields with a geographic role will automatically generate longitude and latitude coordinates on a map view. Geographic roles can also be manually assigned to fields that are not automatically recognized. Fields with assigned geographic roles will have a globe icon next to them.

For more information about the built in geographic roles in Tableau, see the Built-in geographic roles section below.

Create a map view

Follow the steps below to create a basic map view using the Sample Superstore data source.

Step 1

Open Tableau and connect to the Sample - Superstore - English (Extract) data source.

Step 2 

Double-click the State field in the Data pane.

  • Tableau automatically adds Longitude (generated) and Latitude (generated) to the Columns and Rows shelves.
  • State is automatically placed on Detail. In a map view, Detail is used to determine how Tableau generates coordinates.

Step 3 

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



Manually specify a geographic role

If a Geographic Role is not automatically recognized, you can manually specify it. Follow the steps below to manually specify a geographic role.

Step 1 

Right-click the Postal Code field in the Data window.

Step 2 

Select Geographic Role > ZIP Code/Postcode.


 

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 8.2 and later:

Role NameDescription
Area CodeU.S. telephone area codes; numbers only.
CBSA/MSAU.S. Core Based Statistical Areas, which includes Metropolitan Statistical Areas, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
CityWorldwide cities with population of 15,000 or more.  Names are in English, French, German, Spanish, Brazilian-Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.
Congressional DistrictU.S. congressional districts.
Country/RegionWorldwide countries, regions, and territories. Names are in English, French, German, Spanish, Brazilian-Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. 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

Second-level administrative divisions for select countries. For example, U.S. counties, French départements, German kriese, etc. For more information about the second-level administrative divisions automatically geocoded in Tableau, see the list of built in counties below.

Note: Second-level administrative division definitions vary by country. In Tableau, all second-level administrative divisions are geocoded with the County geographic role.

LatitudeLatitude in decimal degrees. Only available for numeric fields.
LongitudeLongitude in decimal degrees. Only available for numeric fields.
State/ProvinceWorldwide state, province, and other first-level administrative divisions. Names are in English, French, German, Spanish, Brazilian-Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.

Note: Some names may be available only in their local form.
ZIP Code/PostcodeU.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.

Notes:
All postcodes listed above can be geocoded in Tableau.

Tableau Map Service will only display postcode labels and polygons for U.S., Canadian, and Australian postcodes.



For Tableau Desktop 7.0, 8.0 and 8.1:

Role NameDescription
Area CodeU.S. telephone area codes; numbers only.
CBSA/MSAU.S. Core Based Statistical Areas, which includes Metropolitan Statistical Areas, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
CityWorldwide cities with population of 15,000 or more. Names are in English, French, and German.
Congressional DistrictU.S. congressional districts.
Country/RegionWorldwide 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.
CountyU.S. counties and county-equivalents by name. Independent cities are included with their names followed by city.
LatitudeLatitude in decimal degrees. Only available for numeric fields.
LongitudeLongitude 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.

 


Built-in counties

The following county-equivalents are automatically geocoded in Tableau using the County geographic role.

For Tableau Desktop version 8.2 and later:

CountryCounty-equivalent 
ArgentinaDepartmentos
AustraliaLocal Government Authorities (LGAs)
BrazilMunicipios
FranceDépartements
GermanyKreise, including Landkreise and Kreisefrei Städte
SpainProvincias
U.S.County, including 5-digit county codes

 

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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