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Tableau Essentials: Searching Maps for Specific Locations

Jan 23, 2020 • 4 Minute Read


Tableau is a business intelligence software program that can connect to any data repository, such as datasets from your databases (e.g MySQL, MongoDB, etc), flat files (Excel, PDF, CSV, etc.), and so on. It helps you view and understand your data, creating visualizations by simply dragging and dropping. It is very important to understand how to modify location on a map before performing a search of a specific location. We'll learn how to do this in Tableau, which can be very helpful when dealing with geospatial datasets of different locations and their subsets—country, state, county, city, and street.

In this guide, we will explore how to search for a specific location on a map in Tableau through the following steps:

  • First, we begin by downloading a sample dataset with locations.

  • Then, we connect our datasets to Tableau.

  • We create maps using Show Me.

  • We modify the location using:

    • Edit Locations to correct the unknown locations.
    • Filter Data to exclude the special values from the view and calculations.
    • Show Data at a default position to show the special values at a default position on the axis. For example, null values are shown at 0.
  • We search for a specific location on the map.

Download the Dataset

Open the datasets link on your web browser and click on Public Housing Physical Inspection Scores to download the dataset used in this lesson, as shown below.

Connect Data to Tableau

Step 1: Open Tableau.

Step 2: Go to the Connect pane and click on Microsoft Excel.

Step 3: Locate your dataset and load it into Tableau.

You should see the below image if it successfully loaded:

Step 4: Then, click on Sheet 1 to proceed.

Create Maps Using Show Me

Step 1: Select County Name from the Dimension Pane.

Step 2: Click on Maps in the Show Me panel. Allow it to load the maps.

Step 3: Drag County Name from Dimension to Color in the Marks panel.

Modify the Location

Next, you can edit locations on the map, including correcting unknown locations.

Step 1: Click on the unknown location.

Step 2: Click on Edit Locations.

Step 3: You can either fill in the appropriate country, state, and county, or you can Google the geocoordinates of the location, as we did below:

Step 4: Fill in the appropriate latitude and longitude coordinates and click OK.

To locate your added location, click on it in the legend.

Please note, you can also filter the data or use a default position based on your requirements. See the below images for examples:

Search Specific Location on Map

Step 2: Input the location to search.

Step 3: Click on the desired location from the list. In this example, I select “Adair County, Iowa.”

  • Step 4: Hover cursor on the location.


When Tableau is used efficiently, it can be a very powerful business intelligence tool. Tableau can be connected to different types of files and is easy to use, unlike some other business intelligence tools. With Tableau, all you do is click, drag, and drop—it is as simple as that.