How to integrate custom maps into Tableau with Mapbox

How to integrate custom maps into Tableau with Mapbox

Jan Watermann


Tableau is an awesome tool for creating geographical visualizations. A simple double click on a "Geographical Field" in Tableau is all you need to generate a map. And it comes with three map styles out of the box, "Light", "Dark" and "Normal".

The Mapbox service enables you to integrate 14 additional maps into Tableau for free and in a very uncomplicated manner. In addition, it is possible to create custom maps. Although the Mapbox integration already exists since Tableau 9.2, I don't see it being used very often. In this tutorial I will show you how easy it is to integrate Mapbox into Tableau.

Integrate Mapbox maps into Tableau in 5 easy steps

1) Register on Mapbox.com

A free Mapbox account can be created within minutes. If you are already registered, simply log into your account with your access data.

Log in to Mapbox

2) Copy the Mapbox API Access Token

You need an API Access Token to integrate Mapbox into Tableau. You can either use a default token or generate a custom one.

Copy Mapbox API Access Token

3) Create a geographical visualization in Tableau

We decided to visualize earthquakes in parts of Latin America. We decided to focus on all earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 6.0. All earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 7.8 are colored red.

Of course you can always use different data sources for your geographical visualization. However, the different maps of Mapbox are especially useful when using different colors.

You can always have a look at our example on Tableau Public.

GeoViz in tableau

4) Open the "Map services".

This field can be found under Map -> Background Maps -> Map Services.

Setting up map services in Mapbox

5) Add the Mapbox API Access Token

Then you only have to add your API Access Token from Mapbox. Select Add -> Mapbox Maps. Then you have the possibility to name your map style and insert the Access Token. After that you can choose if you want to insert one of the 14 integrated maps. You can also create a custom map on Mapbox at any time and integrate it into Tableau using the Map ID.

So there are technically almost no limits for GeoViz fans.

For this example we choose the map "Mapbox Pirates", even if it is probably not the best choice from a Data Visualization point of view. But it still flatters us! 😉

Integrating Mapbox API Access Token into Tableau

Our earthquake visualization using Mapbox maps

Integrated Mapbox Tableau Visualization