How Tableau Geocodes Data
Tableau Desktop recognizes a set of geographic roles that can be used to automatically geocode your data and create map views. For example, Tableau Desktop recognizes country names, state/province names, city names, and area codes.
If your geographic data does not fit into the built-in geographic roles, you can create new geographic roles and assign them to the geographic fields in your data. For example, if your data contains country, state/province, and street address data, Tableau Desktop will aggregate your data to the country and state/province level, but will not recognize the street address data as a geographic role. In this case, you can create a custom geographic role for the street address data.
Tableau places marks on your map automatically by positioning them at the center of the geographic unit displayed. It recognizes a large number of standard geographic entities. The United States is mapped in detail and the geographic detail for international locations is extensive and growing with every version update. Geographic units include:
- Area code
- CBSA/ MSA (USA census blocks)
- Congressional District (USA only)
- Country/ Region
- State/ Province
- Zip Code/ Post Code
Locally-stored geographic data is used to place your information on the maps. By default, Tableau uses detailed online maps. If you can’t get a web connection, Tableau’s offline maps provides you with less detailed map images. Figure 5.5 shows online map examples for San Francisco and New York City.
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Figure 5.5: Tableau online map
Along with using the gray map style and displaying the streets and highways map layer, Figure 5.5 also includes projected population growth at the zip code level detail. Zip code boundaries and titles are also displayed. Tableau doesn’t include international census data at this time, but international maps do include extensive road details. Figure 5.6 shows four international cities using the normal map style.
Tableau balances the rendering speed of maps with good map details so that you can find relevant reference points. This is accomplished by providing more granular details as you zoom into smaller areas. Providing over two hundred and ninety thousand municipalities recognized globally, detailed map views are available for almost all locations.
Figure 5.6: International maps
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