Tableau / ArcGIS Integration through REST end points

02-24-2018 11:10 AM
Status: Open
New Contributor III

My organization would like to leverage our GIS data with Tableau's BI visualization product.  Tableau cannot currently read spatial information through a live connection of our sql server SDE, only through flat files.   But they do have a feature called Web Data Connectors (WDC) which allows API's to get data via REST for charting purposes.   If ESRI created a WDC, it'd combine two giant communities of data professionals. 


Web Data Connector 

Space: Web Data Connector |Tableau Community 

GitHub - CORaleigh/arcgis-web-data-connector 


We currrently provide an option to link directly from Tableau to ArcGIS Server and working on ArcGIS , we connect via ESRI rest services, see link for demonstration

Integeo - ArcGIS 

Tableau and ESRI ArcGIS - London CO2 Emissions - YouTube 


I've recently been posed the same question.  Tableau seems to be gaining a lot of traction in our organization, but I hate the idea of having to extract data so that it can be consumed in Tableau.  At this point, we have way more data in ArcGIS Server, and I'm not interested in creating a parallel data system.  I see there is a generic REST connector, but I have no idea 1) if it works at all, or 2) if it works with  ArcGIS Server REST endpoints.  If checking WMS when we author our services, that would still be OK. 

It's great there is a company that has a product that has a solution for sale, but I'm not ready to recommend that we have to buy something in order to make this work.  The only thing I found from ESRI was from the local government forum, dated 2015.  That's now rather dated and I'm curious if there is anything new on the horizon to make this easier.  Even the Python script mentioned  to generate a Tableau Marker Layer is still a "dump and load" solution.


Tableau needs to be able to read ArcGIS REST endpoints. I don't see this as an ArcGIS Enterprise issue. Tableau needs to get there act together. IMHO.


I would agree on principle, there in my perfect world.  In reality it's pretty common to find companies that haven't addressed these kinds of connectivity issues.  You would think that more companies would figure it out, then use it as a major selling point, "Hey, we figured out how to consume all that great data you have already on your ESRI platform ..."  


Tableau is pricey. It makes ArcGIS Enterprise feel like an open source solution. I wish I had more say in my organization. I would''ve pushed more for GeoAnalytics with Insights bundle. That addition would've been $150,000 (+/-) less than our Tableau Server, not including Tableau Desktop licensing.


Have you tried publishing ArcGIS data and enabling WMS? If you have an Enterprise Geodatabase. Tableau can connect to the underlying SQL Server or Oracle data.


Just for some backstory, about 5 or 6 years ago the company I was working for at the time was an early adopter of Tableau and we had a fairly mature ArcGIS Enterprise Deployment. Insights did not exist at the time. I worked with my Esri Account Manager and Tableau Account Manager to get some pretty senior level folks on a call along with some technical folks as well, trying to get Esri and Tableau to play nice.

Esri was all about it. Tableau was not. The Tableau folks were pretty adamant that they had no intention of supporting any of Esri's proprietary specifications and that they would be able to support geospatial needs just as well as Esri, likely even better they supposed. Obviously, anyone who knew anything about geospatial on that call knew that was total nonsense.

I don't know this for a fact, but I'm fairly certain Tableau's refusal to play ball with Esri was the catalyst for the creation of Insights for ArcGIS.

All this to say, I don't think you should expect the level of integration you're seeking anytime soon. That ship sailed when Esri invested a boatload of money into the development of Insights. Like it or not, Esri and Tableau are now competitors and its not Esri's job to make Tableau better. Their job is quite the opposite in fact.

Your best bet here is probably getting Tableau to support more OGC standards beyond WMS, such as WFS and WFS-T. If Tableau did add support for those, you could publish Feature Services as WFS and WFS-T and integrate those services with Tableau - again though, this is all dependent on Tableau adding support. It's not Esri's problem to solve.

Curious though, what is it that Tableau can do that Insights can't? I've asked that question to lots of folks and no one ever seems to have an answer for me. I think it just comes down to tool preference and awareness. Lots of folks aren't aware of Insights for ArcGIS and for those that are, they've often already sunk a ton of money into Tableau so they follow the sunk cost fallacy.

Sorry to the the bearer of bad news.

Note: I do not, nor have I ever worked for Esri so all of the above is just based on my own observations. I could be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. Take it with a grain of salt.


Can it read ST or SDO geometry though? I honestly dont know. I suppose being able to at least read the data but not the geometry is at least better than nothing, especially considering Tableau would probably crash if it tried to read the geometry anyway.


Hello. I am Kent Marten, Product Manager for Maps and Spatial Analysis at Tableau. I wanted to share an update about ArcGIS + Tableau integration.

Tableau has built a new connector
, available in beta today that will give you the ability to connect to publicly available ArcGIS Server/Online data via REST endpoint. You need Tableau version 2019.4 or later to use this connector. For a detailed description of how to get started, visit the Tableau Community post:

ArcGIS Server Connection in Tableau - Now in Beta! |Tableau Community Forums 

John Dye‌ -- I am sorry to hear about your prior experience. I can assure you, Tableau is focused on supporting our customers (including the many mutual customers shared with Esri).


If you have questions or comments about Tableau + ArcGIS integrations, you can respond to the Tableau community post above or reach out via Twitter.

Kent Marten

Kent Marten (@datakmart) | Twitter 


So this all got pretty interesting when SalesForce purchased Tableau and then got even more interesting when SalesForce selected Esri as it’s “Key Geospatial Partner” - whatever that means.

As far as I am concerned, while this is welcome news it is probably too little, too late. At scale, Insights is generally cheaper than Tableau if you have already investing in ArcGIS and to a large extent, better in my humble opinion. That pricing comparison is likely to change in though as SalesForce integrates Tableau deeper into its technology.

For now, I think this is a great solution for organizations that have not yet invested heavily in ArcGIS,  those that have very small GIS use cases or those that might have large investments in Tableau compared to ArcGIS.

Kudos to Tableau (erm SalesForce?) for seeing the error of their ways though and thanks for posting the news Kent Marten