1 of 1 people found this helpful
I wouldn't really consider Tableau to be GIS software. Tableau can plot marks on a background map, and it has common lat/lon coordinates built into a lookup table, and it can draw simple polygons (no curves or subtracting polygons), but I consider it limited to just 200,000 marks or vertexes for a reasonable refresh rate, and it does not read shapefiles.
I do not know much about GIS, but I understand enough to be able to convert shapefiles into something Tableau can display.
Do you have a question about GIS related topics, or something specific that you want to accomplish?
One place to start for anything GIS is http://gis.stackexchange.com/ if you are looking for shapefiles, http://www.gadm.org/country is a good resource. I like http://www.qgis.org/ for an open source GIS software package.
Joe - I saw QGIS used in your video on GIS.
I'm not looking for dedicated GIS software as such because at this point I don't need really serious mapping facilities. Also if I do move to other software I risk losing the ability Tableau has to rapidly build a good-looking viz with more than just geo data. So I guess I'm just casually interested in learning more about GIS so that I can use such data more effectively in Tableau.
Tip on "http://gis.stackexchange.com/" noted - will investigate.
Here are two other resources you may be interested in:
You can find lots more at http://www.perceptualedge.com/library.php#Articles
Below is the link to resources I used when I start learning about spatial info.
If you are thinking about using the spatial feature in tableau (casually), learning the format of shapefile may be an overkill. However, tableau does provide us with good map rendering with polygon mark. There are open source resources out there for converting shapefile to polygon vertices. You can practically draw anything on your background map.
Also, if you just want boundaries of common entities (state, zip code,etc.), link below provides download links to various formats including shapefile (which by the way can be turned on optionally in tableau as background image).
Hope this helps.
Are you able to tell me how to use a shapefile as a background in Tableau. I cannot find it anywhere. I also would just like to use a map to more intuatively display data. I am using data within Australia and have downloaded some shape files. The WMS maps are great online and I have tried to download the maps without any success for when I want to work offline.
Alternatively are there other formats that I should use with Tableau and where could I find out the basics etc. in order to use them for my maps.
If anyone else has some ideas I would appreciate some help, thanks in advance.
I believe tableau does not support shapefile natively. I usually convert shapefile into importable format (XML, or ASCII; there are lots of open source program out there). Once you achieve this, you can use Polygon option in the "mark" shelf to display a 2D area on a map.
Polygon option does need
3) PathOrder (how you want to connect the dots)
4) (optional) if you have mutiple areas then you need to provide the grouping of these dots (to be placed in the level of details shelf)
In the "level of details", you need
1) Grouping or Groupings
I think with maps, there will be lots of data on the same surface, you should keep the no. of color low to make it easier for user to read. (just my 2 cents)
I attach a sample. Hope it helps.
mapsample.twbx 2.8 MB
Can you please link to the one that you use to extract polygon info from a shapefile?
Here is the one I use quite a bit (standalone and open source, command line). It converts shapefile into XML format (importable to SQL server). http://www.obviously.com/gis/shp2text/
Another one I used is PostGIS (plugin, open source, command line). But this one has a bigger footprint, you have to install PostGres DB engine.
Also, I use MapInfo (standalone, commercial, GUI) from time to time when one is available on the system. Although this one has the most feature of all, I would not recommend this one due to high learning curve.
Hope it helps you guys.