3 Replies Latest reply on Jul 25, 2017 3:05 PM by Nicole Le Prohn

    Alternate projections / maps in Tableau

    Sarah Battersby

      Over in the Ideas section of the forums there is a suggestion to have a US map with US states only (that "does not show (the truths of) Alaska and Hawaii so far away").


      Since it seems like I can't post workbooks in Ideas, I'm posting this workbook here so that people can find it and use it if it's relevant for their work. 

      Here is how you can use the spatial file support in Tableau 10.2 to make some custom geographies to use when mapping.  There are some caveats to this, though, so don't expect all of the great Tableau functions like geosearch to work if you're using my technique to make your own special geographies...  I have attached a workbook with US states and counties displayed using a Lambert Conformal Conic projection and with AK and HI shifted off the west coast.


      Basics of how-to make your own custom maps:

      If you're using Tableau 10.2 and you don't need the context provided in the base map tiles, you can create your own dataset for this.  For example, I did some quick shapefile editing (using boundary files from the US Census and some creative editing of map projection and location using QGIS) and now have a set of maps that I can use in Tableau...this puts AK and HI in the wrong location geographically (so geographic search won't work), but you can still pan/zoom/interact as usual in Tableau - and you don't have to deal with multiple worksheets.


      Once you have a shapefile with the boundaries that you like, you can use that geography and join in whatever data you want.  If you want to be really shady with your manipulation of data (more than just moving polygons to new  locations), you can reproject the data and then change the .prj file in your shapefile so that Tableau thinks that it's Web Mercator (the projection used in Tableau)


      I know that this isn't an 'out-of-the-box' solution, but it is a work around to consider.


      If anyone is curious, I will look at figuring out how to post more detailed instructions in the  'blog post' section of the forums.



      Tableau Research