Latest Tableau BI software update upgrades map technology

Tableau Software has released Tableau 2019.2, an update to previous BI software. It includes upgrades to location data, new vector maps and other requested upgrades.

Tableau Software has announced Tableau 2019.2 -- an upgrade to the Tableau 2019.1 self-service BI software that includes more detailed location data and other new features.

According to Tableau Software, 2019.2 is an upgrade in background mapping technology, which is now powered by Mapbox. The update has vector maps, which creates a smoother and sharper image, and enables users to see more detailed location data and perform analysis with more contextual background layers.

The vector maps also offer more detail than image-based maps, according to Tableau. When users zoom or pan on a vector map, Tableau scales the map accordingly instead of having to load images. Tableau claims this will prevent a break in flow of a user's analysis.

Additionally, the use of Mapbox provides new background mapping layers to add context to spatial data, including subway and train stations, building footprints, terrain and water labels.

The 2019.2 version of Tableau BI also includes parameter actions, which provide more visual interactivity. This gives users the ability to change the parameters that power analytical features such as calculations, filters and reference lines by selecting data points on a viz.

Tableau also added features that were requested by users, such as customizable tooltips in web authoring, a personalized homepage, improved dashboard building tools and updates to Ask Data.

  • With Ask Data, users can create calculations using natural language, ask more powerful questions and get insights into the questions people are asking with usage analytics.
  • The new customizable tooltips on reference lines enable users to edit the text or disable the tooltip altogether.
  • The dashboard now has containers that can be hidden, which enables users to free up screen space when no longer in use.
  • The new dashboard also has automatically replaceable worksheets, which enables users to adjust a dashboard with a new worksheet with a single click.
  • The Tableau Server homepage now gives users a personalized content browsing experience to make it easier to find relevant content.
  • New biometrics security such as Touch ID and Face ID with mobile were added.

Of these changes, David Menninger, senior vice president and research director at Ventana Research, said he thinks the Ask Data features will have the biggest impact on the industry.

"Natural language search enables a much wider group of users to access data," he said. "At Ventana Research we expect that within the next couple years half of all organizations will be demanding conversational analytics as part of their BI system."

Menninger also cites the dashboard improvements as significant, though not unique.

"Many of the dashboarding enhancements in 2019.2 are important to provide guided analytics," he said. "This helps reach a broader non-analyst audience. However, these capabilities are not unique to Tableau."

Tableau Software has a quarterly release schedule, so users can expect two more software updates by the year's end.

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