1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply on Jul 6, 2017 11:58 AM by Michael Gillespie

    Custom ZipCodes List

    Francesca Grisanti

      Hi everybody,

      I have a problem using Zip Codes on area Maps. I have a list of Italian ZIP CODES but some of them are not recognized by Tableau.

      I don't want to write manually down the latitudine and longitude because they are about 180.

      How can I do? Maybe I can switch the default file Tableau uses to show the areas, and use mine?

      Could this work? Or does Tableau needs a shape file too?

      Thank you,



        • 1. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
          David Braun

          Hi Francesca,


          Here's an article that could be helpful if you haven't seen it: http://onlinehelp.tableau.com/current/pro/desktop/en-us/help.htm#maps_geographicroles.html#norecognize

          Here's a list of what's supported, and in what version as well:  What data does Tableau support for building map views


          Hope that helps!

          • 2. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
            Michael Gillespie

            Francesca, 2 really basic questions just to be sure...


            1) What version of Tableau Desktop are you using?

            2) Does Tableau recognize the field in your data that contains the values for Zip/Postal codes as a geographic field (that is, does it have the little "globe" icon next to it)?


            If it does, have you tried right-clicking on the field, selecting Geographic role and validating that Tableau is assigning the right role to it?

            • 3. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
              Francesca Grisanti

              Hi Micheal!!!

              First of all, thanks for you interest!

              1) I am using Tableau Desktop 10.1

              2) Yes, Tableau recognizes the field as a geographic field, but when I display ZipCodes in an area map, the map itself tells me that there are about 180 ZipCodes Unknown. I think that Tableau misses some "shapes" for those 180 ZipCodes.

              Is there any workaround?

              • 4. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
                Francesca Grisanti

                Hi David,

                I'm going to read those arcticles, I'll let you know asap!

                Thank you!

                • 5. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
                  Michael Gillespie

                  I'm not trying to second-guess your approach, but another really basic question: are you 100% certain that all the Zip Code values are accurate for Italy?


                  When you put the Zip Code field into the view, and Tableau generates the map, do you get an error message in the lower-right corner of the map view (something like "180 unknowns")?  If you do, what do you see when you click on that error and try to resolve the unknown values?


                  If you could take screen shots of the "Resolve Errors" dialog and anything else that might be useful, that would help.  Or post a sample workbook with sanitized data.


                  If the zip codes are valid for Italy, and there are no other issues, I'm stumped.  My guess, though, is that Tableau can't determine exactly what to do with a subset of the codes: they may be valid for more than one Country geography, so you need to tell Tableau that they're for Italy explicitly.

                  • 6. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
                    Francesca Grisanti

                    Michael, yes, Tableau tells me the error on the lower right corner of the view!

                    Here's a sample of my Workbook!

                    Thank you so much!

                    • 7. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
                      Michael Gillespie

                      OK, doing some digging.


                      I put both County and State on your map (dropped the fields on the Detail mark).  That reduces the unknowns to 75 from 83.


                      Count has 2 issues: Aosta and Monza-Brianza are not recognized.  However, if you click on the drop-down arrow for Monza-Brianza, you will find that Tableau represents it as Monza e Della Brianza.  If you select that, then at least that one is recognized.  This alone drops the total down to 20!

                      Now do the same for Aosta - in Tableau's list, it's Valle D'Aosta.


                      That's it!  All your unknowns are gone.  Look at the image below: no errors in the lower right corner.

                      I was hoping it was that simple!  Much better than doing this by hand!


                      If you want, and you are able to do it, you might consider changing your source data to match the names Tableau uses.  But if you can't you'll just need to remember to do this matching in the future.


                      One last note: I created this hierarchy so that it visually reminds me to use ALL levels of detail so I catch those mismatches in the future.


                      • 8. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
                        Francesca Grisanti

                        I found it useless because, as you can read in the Title, I need to show every ZipCode area, not every County or whatever.

                        The problem is Tableau can't draw areas for some zipcodes.

                        I don't want ZipCodes on tooltip as a detail, I need to see the area of every ZipCode in my excel.

                        • 9. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
                          Michael Gillespie

                          Ok, let's explore how Tableau resolves things in maps.


                          When you put a field onto the map, Tableau tries to find a match in its database of geographical information.  Sometimes, there are conflicting or overlapping answers (e.g., 2 Cities have the same name) - so you have to give Tableau a way to differentiate between them.  We do that by adding an additional level of detail to the map - maybe County in this case.  Now Tableau has a way to show both cities in 2 different locations because it can tell the difference between them.


                          In your case, it's a little different: because the State names for Aosta and Monza-Brianza don't match Tableau's internal database names, as far as Tableau is concerned they don't exist.  We have to find a way to tell Tableau that they DO in fact exist, but with different names.  And the only way to do that is to get that level of detail into the view somehow so that we can resolve the differences in that Edit Locations dialog box.


                          Kent Marten, how can we help Francesca with this?  If we put County and Postal Code on the Detail mark, Tableau only renders County borders, not Postal Code.  If we take County OFF the viz, Tableau renders Postal Code boundaries, but with errors for the 2 Counties that don't match Tableau's naming conventions for Italy.  I suspect that the only way to resolve this is by changing the names of those 2 Counties in the source data.  Is that right?


                          See attached workbook for details.  I created a calculated field that changes the 2 County names to Tableau's values and that fixes the view (2nd tab) but it still only renders at County level, not Postal Code.

                          • 10. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
                            Kent Marten

                            Hi Francesca Grisanti,


                            Is the primary problem that Tableau does not recognize some of the postal code data that you have?  We license Italian postal codes from a commercial vendor and that data is updated in Tableau on an annual basis in most cases. Postal codes change all the as well, so it seems likely that your data is out-of-sync with what Tableau has built-in.


                            Do you know how recent your data is?  We can look at updating ours.


                            Best, Kent

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                            • 11. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
                              Michael Gillespie

                              Getting more interesting.


                              If I look at this page: Postal/ZIP Codes province of Rome - Italy

                              I can't find 00050 as a valid Rome postal code.  This is one of the values that Tableau can't find a match for.  Francesca, is this a "special" code or perhaps an obsolete code that was retired at some point?  In your data, this corresponds to Passo Oscuro, which also does not appear on that page as a valid location name.

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                              • 12. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
                                Francesca Grisanti

                                Hi Michael, Hi Kent,

                                I wanted to thank both of you for your interest.

                                I'm checking this strange zipcodes with my customer and we're finding out that some of them are, of course, wrong or obsolete.

                                So we should first clear those zipcodes from the tables in db and then check if everything's fine.

                                I'll give this post an update as soon as I find a solution.

                                Thank you once again, and sorry for my English


                                Have a good day!

                                • 13. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
                                  Michael Gillespie

                                  First of all, no need to apologize for your English - nobody has had any trouble understanding you so far!


                                  Now on to the zip codes: in cases like this, we often need to keep the data associated with the obsolete zip codes, so it's better if we don't get rid of them entirely.  You could write a calculated field in Tableau to map the incorrect codes to the current, valid ones (call the new calculated field Zip Code-Corrected or something like that).


                                  If you have sufficient control over the source data, it would be even better if you could create a new column to contain the corrected codes (I prefer this approach because it maintains the original values, which is often useful if you will be importing updated data in the future).


                                  Buon Mercoledi!

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                                  • 14. Re: Custom ZipCodes List
                                    Francesca Grisanti

                                    Hi dear Michael,

                                    just an update: we decided to enhance our data, one day my map will recognize every ZipCode!

                                    Have a good day!

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