Spatial File

This topic describes how to connect Tableau Desktop to Shapefiles, MapInfo tables, KML (Keyhole Markup Language) files, TopoJSON files, GeoJSON files, and zipped Esri File Geodatabases.

Note: Connecting to spatial data is supported in Tableau Desktop version 10.2 and later.

If you have Tableau Desktop version 10.1 or earlier, and would like to use shapefile data to create map views, see Create Tableau Maps from Shapefiles in the Tableau Desktop 10.1 Help.

Before you connect

Before you can connect to spatial files, make sure to include all of the following files in the same directory:

  • For Esri shapefiles: The folder must contain a .shp, .shx, .dbf, and .prj files.

  • For Esri File Geodatabases: The folder must contain the .zip of the File Geodatabase’s .gdb.

  • For MapInfo tables: The folder must contain a .TAB, .DAT, .MAP and .ID or .MID and .MIF file.

  • For KML files: The folder must contain the .kmlfile. (No other files are required.)

  • For GeoJSON files: The folder must contain the the .geojson file. (No other files are required.)

  • For TopoJSON files: The folder must contain the .json file. (No other files are required.)

Note: You can only connect to point geometries, linear geometries, and polygons in current versions of Tableau. You cannot connect to mixed geometry types.

Also note that if your data does not display diacritics (accent marks on characters) properly, check to make sure the file is UTF-8 encoded.

Make the connection and set up the data source

Start Tableau and under Connect, select Spatial file. Then do the following:

  1. Navigate to the folder that contains your spatial data and select the spatial file you want to connect to.

  2. Select Open.

Spatial file data source example

Here is an example of a spatial file data source using Tableau Desktop on a Mac computer:

Work with the Geometry column

There are many tasks that you can optionally perform on your data before you start your analysis, such as hiding or renaming fields. Note, however, the following restrictions apply when working with the Geometry column:

  • You can't hide the Geometry column.

  • You can't split the Geometry column.

  • On the data source page, you can't create a calculated field using the Geometry column.

About .ttde and .hhyper files

You might notice .ttde or .hhyper files when navigating your computer's directory. When you create a Tableau data source that connects to your data, Tableau creates a .ttde or .hhyper file. This file, also known as a shadow extract, is used to help improve the speed your data source loads in Tableau Desktop. Although a shadow extract contains underlying data and other information similar to the standard Tableau extract, a shadow extract is saved in a different format and can't be used to recover your data.

In certain situations, you might need to delete a shadow extract from your computer. For more information, see Low Disk Space because of TTDE Files in the Tableau Knowledge Base.


See also

Create Tableau Maps from Spatial Files


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