Tableau Maps Service Update: "You Can Call Me Al"

The initial dispatch from our Maps Services team was a popular one, so we've asked the team to keep 'em coming as they march forward in their mission to "to provide ALL our customers with ALL the map options they need and desire." Fortunately, our Maps Service team has a gift for words that rivals their gift for map geekery. In this latest dispatch, they tell us about what's new with maps in the 8.2.4 release, including more flexibility in kanji, German Kreise, and updated US postal codes.

With the latest release of 8.2.4. the Maps Service team is happy to report these latest updates:

1) “You can call me Al…(just Al)!” – Added 922 kanji synonyms for Japanese cities, some of which removed the affixes of: 市shi(City), 区ku-(Region), 村son (Village), and 町cho (Town).

2) “Yeah! More DATA!” – Add German Kreise as second-level administrative districts (Admin2's). Now along with France, Spain, and the UK we have Admin2′s in Germany!

3) “What’s that you say? It’s time for another data update!” – Updated US Postal Codes with our latest 2014 updates.

“You can call me Al…(just Al)!”

Names can always be a tricky item to fix. Just because I say to-may-toes /təˈmeɪtoʊz/ and you say to-mah-toes /təˈmɑːtoʊz/ doesn’t mean that we don’t all want that same red fruit hanging from that nightshade family tree.

Point being that we should all get what we want — no matter how we ask for it.

For the past couple of months the Maps Service Team has been working closely with Tableau's Japan team to find ways to improve our products for APAC customers. One particular fix identified was that the GEOCODING engine was having problems matching customer city names that DIDN’T contain the affixes of : 市shi(City), 区ku-(Region), 村son (Village), and 町cho (Town). The requirement of these affixes was forcing our customers to enter something like:

三島村 (Mishima Village)

in order to match the city name

三島 (Mishima)

To resolve this error we worked with our internal Japan team to identify 461 city names that needed to have these characters scrubbed and removed. Now our Japanese customers can match these different cities using either the canonical version (which contains the affixes) or the synonym version (which has these affixes removed).

“Yeah! More DATA!”

Continuing with our trend to make our 8.2.x maps even more useful to our growing international customer base, we have added the Kreise of Germany as second-level administrative districts (the equivalent of US counties).

To get the skinny on how to make better use of this new data, keep reading:

If your German data contains the name of a Kreis, the Geographic Role column can be set to County (or the column header changed to the word ‘County’), and both points and filled polygons will be available. It is important to note that in cases where there are Landkreise and Freiestadt Kreise (or Kreisfreie Stadt) with the same name, the simple name will be used for the Landkreis, where as the long form will resolve to the city entity. For example:

Osnabrück, Landkreis -> Osnabrück

Osnabrück, Kreisfreie Stadt -> Kreisfreie Stadt Osnabrück

This parallels the US experience, where Baltimore is a reference to Baltimore County, and Baltimore City specifies the second-level administrative district constituting the city proper.

Should a name be unique, the designation Freiestadt Kreis/Kreisfreie Stadt is not necessary.

“What’s that you say? It’s time for another data update!”

With 8.2.4, the Maps Service team has updated United States postal codes with the latest and greatest data, in both our GEOCODING database and rendered MapService. Currently, our map contains over 41,000 geocodable postal codes for the United States. Of the postal codes dataset, all are geocodable as points, and the majority as polygons as well.

But wait, you say: WHY are some post codes represented as points only?

In many cases, these point-sized items are really just that: point-sized. Many represent small geographical entities such as Post Office (PO) Boxes and mail processing facilities. In these cases, where a postal code appears as a point only, it will be geocodable as a mark, but, it will NOT render as a label in the base map of the MapService itself. Only those postal codes that appear as areas (polygons) will appear on the base map. You can turn on these features by using the “Zip Code Boundaries” and “Zip Code Labels” checkboxes in the “Map Options” pane.

You can check out some of these features in action in this interactive viz:

Well, that’s just another sampling of the new content the Maps Service team delivered in 8.2.4. Stay tuned to this blog to learn more about what's new in 8.2.5 and 8.3.

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