Maps can reveal more than the landscape, and have for several centuries. Remember the dictum: Anything that can be spatially conceived can be mapped. The new technologies broadened the conceivable meaning of “anything” and gave mapmakers the means to call up all manner of information about people, places, and environments—anything mappable—and visualize it swiftly and in many different guises.
People are accustomed to using maps to find places, predict the weather, and see information regarding world events. Seeing your data displayed on a map can provide new insight. Visualizing geographic data with Tableau brings new understanding to the many “guises” that this perspective can bring. For some reason, people are always drawn to data plots on maps. Tableau’s standard maps are good and render quickly. You can also replace the standard maps with customized versions provided by web mapping services. Or, if you have spatial data that is too small to fit on a map, you can replace maps with images.
Tableau provides two different map types: symbol maps and filled maps. Symbol maps place marks at the center point of standard geographic units. Filled maps color-encode standard geographic shapes using a measure or dimension to apply the color. Three standard map background image styles are provided: