The Right Way to Map Survey Data


One of the most popular chart types in Tableau is the mapping. In order to use maps with survey data, you have to ask the question a certain way. Many people ask for state, city or an address in surveys. This is not the ideal format for Tableau, yes Tableau can map using state or city but what if the user misspells the city, what if there is more than 1 city in the US with the same name (most likely is)? Now you have to do data cleaning which no one wants to do.

So the safe way to ask the question is to ask for a zip code. This leads to fewer errors while giving you more details. You can then find a free zip code database and bring in the city and state.

Below is an example of how you can ask a demographic question and then how you can show it in Tableau after joining in a zip code database to get state and city.


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