Tableau Desktop 2019.2 adds three new map styles, bringing the total to six options. But you can also access 14 more styles through a third-party called Mapbox. In this video, learn how to use all 17 alternative Tableau map styles!
Hi. This is Ryan with Playfair Data TV. And in this video, we’re going to be unboxing some of the new map styles that are available as of Tableau Desktop 2019.2. I’m also going to show you how to leverage a third-party service called Mapbox to unlock even more mapping layers.
First, let’s take a look at how maps used to look in 2019.1. And I’m just going to double-click State to create the first type of map, which is a symbol map, just to get something on the view. And as long as I’ve got an internet connection, just double-clicking on that field that Tableau recognized as a geography, it created a map for me.
I’m going to do the same thing in 2019.2. I’m just going to double-click State– works the same way. The first thing you’ll notice are the lines are a little bit crisper. Tableau is moving to vector styles in their maps, so the style and the images actually look nicer. They’re a higher quality image. It looks like the zoom is a little bit different by default. I candidly don’t know if that’s intentional. I am actually filming this in the beta version in anticipation of Tableau Desktop 2019.2 being released very soon. So I don’t know if that will be corrected or not, but that is the default zoom.
The main thing that I wanted to point out were the new mapping styles that come out of the box with Tableau. Up to 2019.1, if you went to Map and Map Layers, you would have a style dropdown that included three different layers. Light was the default, and that was actually my preferred map layer or map style. I think it’s minimalist. It’s a nice, subtle lighter color.
You can also change it to Normal, which would give you a little bit more texture. The water is a little bit different color. You can see the land coverage a little bit better. And then the last type of style was called Dark, which was a reverse contrast map, which was kind of a fun use. You see this sometimes with Google Maps where you can flip to a dark map at night. It makes the data points stand out on the view a little bit more, especially if you’re using brighter hues.
Over here in 2019.2, Tableau Desktop has introduced several new mapping styles. So you access them the same way. Go to Map and Map Layers. Light is still the default. But as we’ve already seen, they’ve already made a little bit of update to that. You still see Normal, and you still see Dark. But now, there are three additional styles. There’s Satellite. Let’s take a look at that one. There is Outdoors, and there is Streets.
Tableau has also introduced additional mapping layers. Some of these are really interesting. And I like how they’ve consolidated some of these. So still in the Light, you see a bunch of, in my opinion, a little bit repetitive or tedious map layers, things like Area Code Boundaries. There’s some of those I’ve just never used. There’s probably a use case for those out there. But on some of these styles, those are much more minimalist. They don’t have as many options to style those maps.
But some of the new ones that I think are really interesting over here in Desktop 2019.2 are your Neighborhoods and Points of Interest. So if you click Points of Interest– and you have to be zoomed in to certain levels to see these– but I’ll start to zoom in near my beloved hometown of Kansas City. And I’ll actually see some things that are familiar to me once you get down to a certain zoom level.
You do have to have an internet connection to zoom down this far. But as you’re zooming in– and let me grab this and scroll a little bit– these are some very well-known areas around my hometown. Westport is a neighborhood. Country Club Plaza is a point of interest. Those weren’t available to us prior to Tableau Desktop 2019.2. I think that’s a really nice addition. You can also add things like streets. And it just unlocks a lot of new context for your analysis.
I’m going to zoom back out. And the other thing that I wanted to show you on this video– so it’s really nice that Tableau Desktop introduced three new styles right out of the box. But a lot of people don’t know that you can access even more mapping layers or styles through a third-party called Mapbox. And this is very easy to do. That’s why I’m sharing it with you. It’s an easy way to kind of make your maps stand out because, again, not everybody is familiar with this feature. So it makes you look like you did a lot of extra effort to make the map look nice when it’s really simple, just a couple of steps.
First, you have to go to this site mapbox.com. You can sign up for a free account. They’re not too spammy. I do get occasional emails talking about new styles and features and trying to teach me how to use this. But overall, I’ve been pleased with the service for a few years now. I’ve signed up for an account specific for Playfair Data TV just to show you this. You’ll have to go through the steps to sign up, verify your email address. But once you’re in, it’s free.
You’ll want to go to your Account page. And what we are looking for is this tab called Tokens. I’m going to click on Tokens because in order to get access to these additional styles, we need this API key. We will have to copy and paste that over into Tableau Desktop to access these additional styles. To update your workbook so that it can access these additional styles, navigate to Map in the top navigation and choose Background Maps. And then we’re looking for Map Services. I’m going to click Map Services. Click Add.
You can see I have the option for WMS Servers or Mapbox Maps. That’s the one we’re looking for right now. I’ll click on that. I find a little more luck working on the Classic tab, so that’s where I’m going to go. Just for now, I’ll give this a style just called Mapbox. And here’s where that required API token goes. So I already copied it. Now I’ll just paste it in here. Now I’ve got access to not only the six styles now as of Tableau Desktop 2019.2, but I’ve got all these custom maps as well that are unique to this Mapbox service.
So just to show you one of these. If I click Basic and click OK, you can see it updating there in the background. I can now close this. And I’ve just accessed yet another map style via a third party. So we’ve now got out of the box six styles within Tableau Desktop 2019.2, a lot of new nice mapping layers that we can add to these maps, and you can access these additional styles via a third party called Mapbox.
This has been Ryan with Playfair Data TV – thanks for watching!