More Map Features, Faster Data Analysis in Tableau Update

Ann All

Updated · Mar 23, 2016

Geolocation and map customization features were among the new capabilities in a December update of Tableau Software’s business intelligence software. At the time, Ellie Fields, VP of Product Marketing, said, “We have a lot of users asking for more detailed maps to analyze location-based data.”

So it’s not surprising that the latest software update, Tableau 9.3, generally available today, includes improved global map coverage. More than 250,000 new data points include post code additions for 39 European countries, India districts, U.S. zip code updates and post code updates for France, the UK and Germany, according to the company.

The improvements were added to fulfill customer requests, Fields said, noting that maps are a popular way for Tableau users to visualize their BI data.

“They’re very popular because they’re extremely useful; many data sets include some kind of geographic data,” she said. “Maps make it simple to show trends across and between geographies, from differences between countries down to variations between postal codes, for which we have data in many countries. Maps make it easier to analyze sales, reach or spending on a global scale, and then to drill down to very specific geographic areas.”


In addition to the new European postal codes, the BI software update includes Mapbox integration, she said. “Mapbox lets their users build beautiful digital maps, and now in Tableau people can overlay their data on those Mapbox maps to get a custom look.”

Tableau customers use maps to analyze all kinds of things, Fields said, from cities tracking crime data by neighborhood to sports teams tracking player positions on the field. Recent business intelligence success stories include Redfin, which analyzed its own data with Tableau maps to track real estate data, so that homeowners and home buyers can analyze different variables by neighborhood, including list prices and recent sales. And after using Tableau maps to analyze sales data at franchise locations, Arby’s Restaurant Group realized that recently-remodeled locations produced higher sales. This pointed to a need to invest in older franchise buildings.

“If your data has any sort of geographical component to it, viewing it on a map in Tableau can lead to some startling realizations you might not see otherwise,” Fields said.

Data Sharing, Collaboration

Another new feature is an “always connected” Tableau Desktop. This feature “means it’s easier to share while staying in the flow of your analysis,” said Chris Stolte, chief development officer and co-founder of Tableau Software. “We have prioritized sharing and collaboration in Tableau 9.3, and it will be immediately noticeable once people open Tableau Desktop.”

Also new:

  • server monitoring and configuration features that help ensure Tableau Server availability and optimize performance
  • a feature that allows users to easily combine tables of data for Excel and text-based data sources by appending values (rows) from one table to another
  • content analytics and enhanced search capabilities in Tableau Server and Tableau Online
  • a version control feature that lets users restore previous versions of a published workbook

With Tableau 9.3, Tableau also becomes one of the first analytics providers to connect directly to the Snowflake Elastic Data Warehouse, a cloud data warehouse. Building on this native Snowflake, the two companies said they plan to further collaborate on enabling customers to move data analytics to the cloud.

Market research company Research Now and digital video advertising provider TubeMogul are among customers already taking advantage of this combination.

“Giving our Tableau users native connectivity to Snowflake means that they can perform both simple and complex exploration and analysis as fast as they can think of new questions to ask,” said Raphy Mathias, director of Business Intelligence at Research Now, in a statement. “Not needing to think about configuring, tuning and managing a data warehouse means they can focus on using data.”

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  • Ann All
    Ann All

    Public relations, digital marketing, journalism, copywriting. I have done it all so I am able to communicate any information in a professional manner. Recent work includes creating compelling digital content, and applying SEO strategies to increase website performance. I am a skilled copy editor who can manage budgets and people.

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