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Peter, from what you describe, I don't think you need 'custom geocoding' at all. If you have a file with a column labelled 'latitude' and one for 'longitude' then Tableau will recognize the as such. The shape of your data, and using multiple data sources can at times get tricky, but it sound like you're going the long way around to produce your map.
- Post some sample data (say the first 50 rows) of all your data sources
- Here's the lat/long finder I use: http://www.findlatitudeandlongitude.com/batch-geocode/#.UI2HJcXAd8E it works well, up to 1,000 addresses.
Hope this helps.
My original data did not have lat/long but it did have zip codes. I'm not sure why this works, but I removed the geographic role from the "City" field and then Tableau was able to find lat/long from the Zip field. Why it looks at the City first when Zip is more descriptive I have no idea. And I didn't see a way to tell it to do otherwise other than to tell it that City was not a geo field. You'd think it would look at the zip column first, and only look at city if there wasn't a zip code.