Tableau Mapping – Linking your dataset to our UK reference data

by Sam Cliff on 18th December 2013

Tableau maps

One of the most important things to remember when using Tableau mapping is to get the links between the datasets right – otherwise your mapped data won’t give you the right base to analyse from.

To use mapping in Tableau you first need to create a relationship between the geographic data (for example one of our UK reference Datasets) and your own data.

To do this you need to link by a common element present in both data sets such as the name of an area or its code. Here is an example from the OS wards.

Name                    Code

Hockley West    E05004217

Go to ‘Data’ and ‘Edit Relationships’ in Tableau to set this relationship up.

tableau mapping edit relationships



This box will pop up; make sure your data is the primary source and the miso data is the secondary. Tableau automatically picks up on what it thinks will link based on headings in the data, but it’s not always right!

relp editing


Click ‘add’ to see lists of what can be matched and make sure the right ones are selected.

relediting 2

In an ideal world we would recommend linking on codes, as we have found there is much less margin for error. But we recognise that you might not have them in your data.

Instead you might have names of the areas your data relates to. If you need to link on names, that’s no problem just make sure your names match exactly to the official list created by the data provider e.g. OS or ONS. If you try to link with names that don’t match it won’t work. You may even return multiple results for different places around the UK with the same name – which can be very confusing! But don’t worry, that’s where we come in – so get in touch if you have a question or need help with mapping in Tableau. You can phone us on 0121 232 8000 or email us at


For more handy tips, tricks and tutorials check out our other posts and we are adding to them all the time. For a more comprehensive walk through of this topic – linking datasets check out our video below