Create a Map in Tableau

Maps are handy for visualizing geographical data, and in this article section, we show how to create them in Tableau with an example. For this demo, we will use the SQL Server Data Source.

How to Create a Symbol Map in Tableau?

Double-clicking on any geographic field, such as city, postcode, country, or state, will automatically create a map in Tableau. In this example, we will double-click on the State Province Name dimension. The desktop added the Latitude value to the Row shelf, the Longitude value to the Column shelf, and the State province Name to the Details field in the Marks Shelf.

Refer to the Connecting to SQL Server, Charts, and SQL for this Desktop report.

The second approach to Creating a Symbol Map in Tableau

Drag and drop any geographic field, such as city, country, postcode, or state, on the details field, which will automatically create a map. Here, we will drag the State Province Name dimension to the Details field in Marks Shelf. Now you can see the auto-generated one.

How to Create a Symbol Map in Tableau 2

You can also add the geographical hierarchy, as well. For example, we have added the Stateprovince hierarchy (province Name, City) to the details card. Please refer to the following articles to enhance the map functionality and visibility.

  1. Google Maps
  2. Mapbox Maps as a Background Map
  3. WMS Server Map as a Background Map
  4. Map Options – To change the Background Layer and add the Data Layer
add the geographical hierarchy to the details shelf

The third approach is to create a Symbol map in Tableau

Please drag and drop any Geographic field to the Column or Row shelf, and selecting the Map from the Tableau Show Me window will automatically create it for you. Let’s drag the State Province Name dimension to the Columns Shelf. Next, choose the dotted one present in the Show Me card.

Using Show Me Window

That will automatically create the United States data points that we have shown in the above two approaches. Please add Sales Amount Measure to the Colors field in the Marks Shelf. It will add color to each state on a Map based on the sales amount.

How to Create a Map in Tableau Using Show Me Window

Create Basic Maps in Tableau

Tableau Maps are convenient for visualizing geographical data. This section will show you how to Create regular Maps with an example. For this Maps demo, we will use World Indicators data sources that come with the desktop.

There are multiple ways to create Maps in Tableau. In this article, we will explain all of them. Drag and drop any Geographic field to the Row or Column shelf, and selecting the icon in the Show Me window will automatically create a Map. In this example, we will drag the Country dimension to the Columns Shelf.

Next, Drag and Drop the Total Population from the Measures Region to the Rows Shelf. Since it is a Measure value, the Total Population will aggregate to the default Sum. Let me change that Bar Chart into a World. To do so, Please expand the Show Me window and select the marked option.

Create Basic Maps in Tableau 4

Tableau Map will be displayed once you choose this from the Show Me window. From the screenshot below, you can see the Row and column Shelf filled with generated Latitude and Longitudes. Country will be added to the Detail Card, and Total Population will be added to the Columns Card.

You can highlight any country to see that Country’s population

Highlight any Country to View the Population in newly created Tableau Maps

Creating Tableau Basic Maps using Show Me Window

Double-clicking on any geographic field such as Postcode, City, State, or Country will automatically create a Tableau Map. In this example, we will double-click on the Country dimension. From the screenshot below, you can see that the desktop has created a Symbol for you. Here, it added the Latitude to Row shelf, Longitude to Column shelf, and Country Name to Details Card in Marks Shelf.

The other option is to drag and drop any geographic field on the Details card, and it will automatically create a map. In this example, we will drag the Country Name dimension to the Details card present in Marks Shelf. Now, you can see the auto-generated symbol. Use either of the approaches mentioned below to convert the Symbol to a Map.

To convert the Symbols, you can either click on the marked one from the Show Me window or change the Marks type from Automatic to Map.

change the Marks type from Automatic to convert Symbol to basic Tableau Map

Either way, it will generate the below for you.

Preview Countries

Let us add Population Total to the Colors card in Marks Shelf. It will add color to every country based on its Population and generate the map that we showed in the previous. approach.

Add Data labels to Maps in Tableau

To add data labels to Maps, Click the Show Mark Labels button in the Toolbar. Though it looks odd, you get the idea of adding data labels.

Add data Labels to Maps in Tableau

Change Colors of Maps

Until now, you saw the Tableau Maps with the default colors, but you can change the default colors. To do so, click the drop-down menu beside the SUM(Population Total) color legend or right-click on the Color bar. Both of them will open the context menu. From that, please select the Edit Colors… option. The other option is to click the Color shelf and click the Edit Colors button.

The following window will open once you choose the Edit Colors… option. Click the drop-down arrow under the Palette and select the color as per your specification. For now, we are choosing Gold-Purple Diverging. Remember, by clicking the Advanced button, you can specify the Start Point, End Point, and Center as well.

Edit Colors and Change Palette

Now, you can see it with the Gold-Purple Diverging color schema.

Tableau Basic Maps with Custom Colors