3D "Printing" in Mapbox, Alteryx, and Tableau: "I've got big balls!"

3D "Printing" in Mapbox, Alteryx, and Tableau:  "I've got big balls!"

While starting to work on a new viz project, I came up with the idea to create empathy by putting the user inside of a 3D map with the data happening around them like a virtual reality movie.  Yes, the DataBlick crazy-town express train is starting to chug out of the station again.  This post shows some of my initial explorations into jumping in a viz.

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Rose Curves in Tableau

Rose Curves in Tableau

I love when people get creative and come up with visuals like these, if you want to see more, check out Shirley Wu’s project with Nadieh Bremer at datasketch.es for starters. Techniques like these (or using things like the rose curve) to encode data will definitely require a more engaged user base. Readers will need to take some time to understand what each rose petal/shape is and then it will take them time to compare the petals across the visual. This type of technique is probably not the best choice to visualize your data when granular differences between your marks need to be analyzed by your reader.

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Sensor vs. Simulated IED: Max's Science Fair Project using Tableau for Image Analysis

Sensor vs. Simulated IED:  Max's Science Fair Project using Tableau for Image Analysis

This is a post by Max, Anya's 12-year-old son.  It was his Science / Engineering Fair project where he used Tableau to visualize his results.  Thank you, Adam McCann and Merlijn Buit for your posts on color analysis that were used by Max for this project.

Each year many people die of bombs and other explosive devices. Some examples are the Boston Marathon and the recent bombing in Manhattan. In many modern wars, thousands of soldiers die due to IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). In my project, I will use an infrared sensor to find a cell phone (in place of an IED) in different temperature environments. Judging by how easy it is to see the cell phone, we can tell where infrared would work best, as well as where it would not work.  Using this information we can know when to use infrared sensors to save lives.

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The 3D Tableau Full Monty

The 3D Tableau Full Monty

Recently DataBlick had a client project dealing with analyzing parts on a car during manufacturing and transport, and the client wanted something like Noah's Tesla.  We all want a Tesla, right?  Well, now you can have one (in Tableau at least).  In this post, I'll walk you through how to find a 3D model and get it into Tableau.  The next post will show how to trick it out a little bit as well as "explode" parts in a 3D tool before bringing them into Tableau so you can highlight and interact with them on your dashboard.

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X, Y and a bit of Z - Cheater 3D Orthographic Views & Making everything "Spatial"

X, Y and a bit of Z - Cheater 3D Orthographic Views & Making everything "Spatial"

Anya must have pinged me 10 times over the course of the last week asking me questions about rendering 3d cars in Tableau. I figured it must have something to do with curing malaria. My reply was a bit ironic given the fact that I’ve done my own 3d car. I did it for fun though… I don’t like being told I can’t do stuff. it just doesn’t work as part of a production workbook. Well… from a performance standpoint maybe we will get there soon. But for now my suggestion was to pick a good angle and then drive a steamroller over it and just make it into polygons. I really should have seen the next question coming, but she asked how to do that. I was stumped. My best idea was, hire a graphic artist to trace it for you…

Last night she told me she solved it using QGIS… mind explosion! Of course! Why not use mapping software for this? Geography isn’t the only thing spatial. Why shouldn’t you use QGIS to map your car, your plane, the shelves of your supermarket, what have you. I always thought background images were misplaced in Tableau, I wonder if this is what they were thinking when they put it under maps. Latitude and Longitude are just a special name for x and y (or is it the other way around?). Why not hijack Tableau’s mapping capabilities and import your polygons as custom shapes?

I’ve gone to great lengths to hack multiple layers onto maps, so I was excited to hear multi-layered maps will be coming to Tableau, but this opens the door to hacking that feature into all sorts of things. Someone once told me that everything in Tableau is a scatterplot but I’m starting to think maybe everything should be a map. Oh… I am going to crash that Beta so hard!

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#Data16 Twitter Network Project

#Data16 Twitter Network Project

For this year’s conference I undertook a project with Keith Helfrich to harvest tweets tagged with #data16.  We collected the tweets regularly throughout the week, and updated a view of high level summaries and detailed network visualizations.  This post details some of the highs and lows that we came across, and provides access to the workbook so you can do your own analysis and review as well. Please also be sure to check out Keith’s post on the same subject here.

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On the topic of community: & being friends and mentors.

On the topic of community:  & being friends and mentors.

First - sign up and sign up for Emily Kunde's Mentor Match program, and have a chance to win an hour of help with either Allan or Anya as well as other prizes to be announced on Emily's site soon.  

This friendship started with a Tweet:  March 5th, 2014 Tweet to @AllanWalkerIT help…..!  ? "Since you are the king of Tableau Maps, I wanted to see if you had any suggestions?"  For over two years now, we have worked together on many collaborations.   We hope with a quick review of how we have expanded our skills by working together, you can learn from our take-aways and find friends and mentors to work with. 

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Vizception: Viz in a viz & native d3.js integration on Tableau Server

Vizception: Viz in a viz & native d3.js integration on Tableau Server

We wanted to show a real example of how to bring more to Tableau Server without additional hardware or hosting needed. That’s right, no additional server purchase requisition requests needed. There are really too many use cases to count when it comes to this, the details herein are only the tip of the iceberg.

We had a few short discussions and landed on the following example. This includes not only native d3.js integration but also an example of viz in a viz (in a viz) on Tableau Server. As a starting point, we used the twitter network graphs that Keith Helfrich and I recently shared, which were showcased on the Tableau bloglast month.

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Tableau Padawan: Faster Nested Sorts

Tableau Padawan: Faster Nested Sorts

Tableau's sorting behavior is somewhere between "a little weird" and "WTF?!?" for those of used to the nested sorting behavior we can get in Excel and other tools. This is one case where Tableau's "mental model" of sorting doesn't match the mental model of many users, if you'd like Tableau to change this you can vote for the Independent Sorting feature request. Explaining why Tableau sorts the way it does would take a much longer post, for now, I'm going to skip the "why" for the "how" and the "what" and jump into my preferred & faster way to do nested sorting using an ad-hoc calculation.

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Tableau Padawan - When the Pill You See is Not the Pill You Use

Tableau Padawan - When the Pill You See is Not the Pill You Use

Today’s lesson is about understanding Tableau as a data driven drawing engine: change the data and we’ll change what Tableau draws. In this case we’re going to change the data to change the color. Recently I received a question where someone had created a heatmap with a diverging color palette like this (demo built using Tableau’s CoffeeChain sample data).

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A Viz of Many (Gender) Colors

A Viz of Many (Gender) Colors

Pink is for girls and blue is for boys.  How pervasive is this association?

This viz updates live to reflect the crowd voted winning color palette choice.  Tha's right,  this is a live updating Tableau Public viz that uses data from a Google Sheet without needing a web connector!!!!  Thanks to some Allan Walker glitter (which is always black).

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The Tableau Conference Network

The Tableau Conference Network

As I embarked on this journey a while back, I had some goals when it came to what I was looking to build. These are summarized in the below bullets.

  • Visualize Twitter network growth in detail using some form of network graph
  • Needed the network graph for each year to be comparable to one another
  • Interactivity against the network graphs was a must
  • Provide a way for the user to view the actual tweets
  • Once Keith and I decided to run parallel with our efforts, we wanted to way to “jump” from one view to the other.

The sections below detail out how I went about trying to achieve each of these goals. Don’t ask me why I gave myself so many of them.

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Concatenating Rows into String Lists in Tableau for #VisualizeNoMalaria

Concatenating Rows into String Lists in Tableau for #VisualizeNoMalaria

As part of the Tableau Foundation/PATH/Zambia Ministry of Health #VisualizeNoMalaria project to eliminate malaria in Zambia by 2020 we had a request to build a “report” to show when health facilities have not submitted malaria incidence data so that administrators and staff can be notified in an easy-to-ready way.   element (such as all the product categories a customer has purchased), etc. Read on for how to do this yourself and learn a bit more about the different levels of detail of data that we work with in Tableau.

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