Inside the Mind of Tableau's Maps Service Team

Are you obsessed with mapping? So is Tableau's Maps Service team. Our customers care about maps ... a lot. So when our Maps Service team shared with the rest of the dev team some insight into what's new in our most recent releases--and the team's philosophy about maps overall--we thought our customers would want to hear it, too. The following is pulled from a message written by our devs for our devs--an inside look at how Tableau thinks about maps.

There are a few things that the Maps Service team regards as universal truths:

  1. The world is an ever-changing place!
  2. The map you know and love, may NOT be the map your neighbor loves and knows.
  3. No matter how beautiful the map is, the true measure of its value lies within the data.

The enormity (in both scope and mission) of the tasks that this Maps Service crew is facing is never lost on us. Our job: to provide ALL our customers with ALL the map options they need and desire. Such a task requires nothing less than constant and frequent map updates from the Maps Service team. Therefore, without further ado, the team is happy to announce a few of our most recent additions, and explain what type of value they add to our product.

  • Updated Egypt Admin1’s: Egypt’s accelerated urban growth, particularly in Cairo, has generated many border changes in the recent years. Having up-to-date and accurate borders (for the entire world) in both our Service and Geocoding products is something of immense importance. Your map may be beautiful (and trust me, we definitely think it is), but it needs to be accurate too.
  • Added FIPS codes as County Synonyms: The 5-digit Federal Information Processing Standards FIPS code uniquely identifies counties and county equivalents in the USA. In short: it is the language du jour of almost anyone who is trying to create a county-based map in the USA. As a GIS/mapping professional, I am more apt to know the FIPS code of where I was born and raised than my brother’s phone number (06065 if you are wondering). Adding FIPS codes as a valid way to geocode in Tableau opens a wide realm of opportunities for our users. In particular, a user can now use the FIPS code to directly geocode census data. The ability to use a 5-digit number instead of a county name (which can be very long, and possibly full of misspellings, for example: Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska) removes the potential for name mismatches.
  • Added Australia LGAs: As Tableau expands into its global market, it is also expanding the range of data that users expect and desire from our product. For example, Australian local government areas are the USA “County” equivalents in Australia. With the addition of these LGAs, Australian users can now geocode “County” level data as easily as our USA users can.

Here's Tableau Public workbook showing the most recent improvements.

There you go! These are a few of the features that our most recent updates deliver to our customer base. One small step in a marathon we will never stop running...

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