11 Replies Latest reply on Jul 25, 2018 8:36 AM by john Williams

    Why are locations not being recognised?

    john  Williams

      I am having difficulty with locations, Tableau does not seem to be recognising basic locations. Please bear in mind this is Tableau public, however, this still should not be an issue.




      As can be seen from the above example, common cities like Zurich do not allow me to make edits. I have to insert longitude and latitude.



      Tokyo is the exception, I can start typing a location, however the irony is Tokyo is not an option.




      I have turned off location filters to a particular area (eg UK) and I can confirm that this is definitely formated to cities.



      Please advice.

        • 2. Re: Why are locations not being recognised?
          Anna Cheetham

          It's saying ambiguous because there is more than one city of that name in the world (although why it's apparently not recognising Tokyo is beyond me).


          Do you have a country field?  If so, then select it in the country/region drop down and that should improve things significantly, although it is still possible that you might find some ambiguous city names in some countries.

          • 3. Re: Why are locations not being recognised?
            john  Williams

            hi T


            Thank you for very quickly replying, however I could not follow the instructions fully



            I have not option to select state/province and the to select state.


            The word city is what I named the category..

            • 4. Re: Why are locations not being recognised?
              meenu choudhary

              Hi John,


              below image has been described in the url that i have shared:


              • 5. Re: Why are locations not being recognised?
                Anna Cheetham



                Do you have any field in your data which represents the country?  Or a state?  I think in your situation it's actually country you need rather than state, although you may possibly need both.


                If not, then you really need to find a way to add one as the issue is that there are multiple places in the world with those names and Tableau cannot know which one you want unless you give it a way to narrow them down - by telling it which country and/or state/province it's in.

                • 6. Re: Why are locations not being recognised?
                  john  Williams

                  I cannot click state/province. Its not a clickable option

                  • 7. Re: Why are locations not being recognised?
                    john  Williams

                    Hi Anna,


                    Country yields lower correct results. My data set, only contains cities. Despite this the state/province format returns the most result.

                    • 8. Re: Why are locations not being recognised?
                      Anna Cheetham

                      Hi John


                      I'm a little confused now - you are saying that using country made things worse but also that you only have cities.  Do you mean you tried to use the city field in the country drop down?  If so, then it is no wonder that it didn't work well.


                      You need a country field to select in the country drop down and/or a state/province field to select in the state/province drop down.


                      Do you understand the issue here?  It's that there are multiple cities of those names around the world and Tableau cannot possibly understand which one you mean unless you give it some more clues.  For example, Vienna is not only the capital of Austria, it is also the name of a number of places in the USA - for that reason I suspect that you will need both country and state/province to be able to use Tableau the way you are currently trying to use it.


                      I think you have 2 options (although some more knowledgeable person may well be along soon to give you others).


                      1. Add the country and possibly the state/province for all your cities into your data somehow - whether by adding them into your main data source, by creating a calculated field of some kind (not an ideal solution if your data is likely to change), or by bringing in another data source with the cities, countries and states in and blending them


                      2. Instead of relying on Tableau to identify your cities, add latitude and longitude data for all of your locations to your data and use that for your mapping.  I suspect it would be easier to identify countries and states instead, however.



                      All that said, I'm still puzzled as to why it's not recognising Tokyo...

                      • 9. Re: Why are locations not being recognised?
                        john  Williams

                        What I meant is that I have been experimenting with the different types of geographical formats. At the moment the best result comes under state/province. What I mean by best result is that there are less unrecognised areas.  When I use this geographical format, Tokyo gets recognised.


                        However if I were to format as city, Tokyo and fewer places would be recognised. As stated before my data is only contains cities. I have no idea why using the city format yields such bad results.


                        When selecting state/province I don't select a fixed location because the data does not allow that, the list of cities is world wide so I cant fix to a particular location.


                        In terms of adding longitude and latitude, Im reluctant to do this to 30+ locations due to it being time consuming and laboursome. Maybe you know of a good way to do it that is not.


                        This honestly should not be an issue. I think either Tableau Public is badly optimised for this. I dont know if the paid version is any better at this..

                        • 10. Re: Why are locations not being recognised?
                          Anna Cheetham

                          Hi John


                          I would agree that in an ideal world, there might be better ways for Tableau to enable users to interact with the non-matches - for example, where the city is showing as ambiguous, I have often wished it would give a drop down of the different options to pick from rather than only allowing the entering of lat/long data.


                          That said, the issue is not one of Tableau's creating.  Given that there are several Viennas in the world then we have to find some way of telling Tableau which Vienna it is that we mean.


                          So really, it comes down to needing either to add country and state to your data so Tableau knows you want Vienna, Austria rather than Vienna, Virginia, USA.


                          To show you what I mean, I just quickly put some made up data into Tableau desktop:


                          This is what I get when I just use city.  Tokyo is correctly recognised (I still don't understand why it isn't in your data - I'm wondering if there is a space in there or some other character that is not obvious but is preventing it being recognised as Tokyo) but otherwise, I too find that the others are all ambiguous:




                          But then I select the country field I created in the country/region drop down and this happens:




                          So, as I said before, you really need to add country to your data.  It shouldn't be hard, especially if it's only 30 or so locations.  I haven't used Tableau Public much and not at all for a long time so I'm making an assumption but I would think you should be able, as you can in Desktop, to add it as another data source and blend it on city without too much difficulty.


                          It really wouldn't take long to type those out for a few dozen cities and then it's done.  By the way - I've manually added latitude and longitude for several hundred municipalities before now, for countries where Tableau does not recognise that level of geography - so believe me, I understand when you say you'd rather not go that route!  I do think adding country would be much quicker and less painful, and give you a better result too.

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                          • 11. Re: Why are locations not being recognised?
                            john  Williams

                            Awesome, thank you Anna