I'm a journalist using mapping for dataviz in stories. I've found Carto easy to use, but I'd like to use Tableau for a project involving US Census Bureau's school district TIGER files. It's easy to get the file and convert to KML. Thought I could then convert to CSV and upload into Tableau, but for some reason, KMLCSV Converter isn't working on my computer. (Don't know why -- I have Java Runtime Environment.) So my next thought was QGIS. I've installed it and tried to convert a few times according to instructions found online, but I end up with files that don't look right. I'll paste in screenshots of two results I got below.

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2 Answers 2


NOTE: The error is not in QGIS but in the workaround provided in this Tableau tutorial: https://community.tableau.com/docs/DOC-5831

QGIS can read the zipped school district shapefiles from TIGER without unzipping

Simply right-click the layer, choose 'Save As', and choose the Format of Keyhole Markup Language (KML).

Also ensure the output coordinate system is in EPSG:4326 (LAT/LON coordinates)

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You should get a valid KML file with the attributes preserved.

  • Thanks! This time I pulled in the zipped file. It displayed the school district shapes properly, but when I converted as shown above, I received the error: "Export to vector file failed." I've been getting this error on some of my conversion attempts. Any idea why it won't convert? Thanks for your help.
    – CLJ
    Jan 23, 2017 at 23:30
  • @CLJ could you share the link to the exact data you're using and the version of QGIS you're using? Jan 24, 2017 at 15:14
  • Hi @DPSSpatial, absolutely -- I have 2.18.2. The data is from here: census.gov/cgi-bin/geo/shapefiles/index.php I downloaded the 2016 Kansas unified school districts data. Thanks for any help. Right now I just tried following these instructions but got the same error: community.tableau.com/docs/DOC-5831
    – CLJ
    Jan 24, 2017 at 16:21
  • @CLJ I can't make sense of those instructions as they are a workaround wrapped in a workaround... My friend at Tableau states that in the upcoming release they will support direct reading of geometry from SHP, KML, GeoJSON - you might have to wait until the new release comes out... in the meantime I would either stick with CARTO or try some visualization in QGIS Jan 24, 2017 at 16:39
  • Thanks so much for your time. I will roll up my sleeves and start getting to know QGIS. Very glad to hear next Tableau release will accommodate KML.
    – CLJ
    Jan 24, 2017 at 16:44

Spatial file support for most well known ESPGs landed in Tableau 10.2. Any version after that will avoid these hideous work arounds. Still worth getting to know QGIS as you will need that when you want to show two layers on top of each other.

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