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Plotting U.S. 5-digit FIPS County Code


Published: 03 Apr 2017
Last Modified Date: 15 Aug 2017

Question

How to ensure that Tableau can recognize 5-digit FIPS county codes as county geographical dataplot in order to plot U.S. 5-digit Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) county codes on a map view. 

Environment

Tableau Desktop

Answer

Step 1: Change the Data Type and Geographic role

  1. Download and open the FIPS 5 County Codes example workbook.
  2. Right-click County FIPS 5 and select Change Data Type > String.
  3. Right-click County FIPS 5 again and select Geographic Role > County.

Step 2: Build the view

  1. Drag State to Detail on the Marks card.
  2. Drag County FIPS 5 to Detail on the Marks card.
  3. Click the Marks card drop down menu and select Filled Map.
  4. (Optional) Drag County to Label.

The resulting map view will show the counties for the state of New York. To view these steps in action, see the video below:

Additional Information

Some of your county codes may contain leading zeros that might be removed automatically by Tableau. For example, the county code of Autauga in state Alabama is 01001 and might show as 1001 in Tableau.
  • To ensure the zeros are kept, use a calculated field similar to the following: Right("00" + Str([County FIPS 5]),5)
  • If you are using Excel as your data source,  add the following calculation:  =TEXT(A1,"00000"  to get a 5-digit code even with leading zeros.
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