Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tableau - The Jetsons Spacecar of BI Tools - Infographic

I had written a blog post some time back about how I considered Tableau to be the Jetsons Spacecar of BI tools. I was never really happy with how verbose it was and how long it took in words to get my point across. Been thinking about "visualizing" it. You know the saying - A picture paints a thousand words and in line with what Tableau stands for - A visual representation of your data leads to faster insights. So here is my attempt to create an infographic. I'll let you decide which is better..

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Vacation anyone?

I was looking at a graphic that had details on all the top airlines, airports and routes flown to in 2012. It was quite interesting. One of the things that stood out was that Denver airport, was in the top 5 on all 3 categories - Distance flown, Passengers and destinations flown to. Then again, considering that it is centrally located, it does make sense. The New York airports were conspicuous in their absence, but considering that there are 3 airports to choose from, cannibalization explains that anomaly. Another interesting tidbit, if we look at which airlines are flying out of the top airport (by # of unique destinations), SkyWest Airlines stands out. Who knew it would be in the top 5 for each of the 5 airports. Maybe because it is a regional carrier, it covers a lot of local routes. That is something worth looking into though.

So all this looking at flight data (see below for the visual)

got me thinking about going on vacation.

Which brought on new questions - So what are the top places people are flying to, what airlines fly into those places and which of the airlines are the most punctual.

once I narrowed down to an airline, I was really curious on what the top 3 routes flown by that airline was

and once I saw this and with things getting cold in NY, I decided to fly to San Juan on Jetblue.. joining me?

it is fun to play around with data (data source

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My 5th Grader's homework visualized

I was excited to hear that my 5th grader was going to learn how to use visual models to understand numbers and decimals. Looking at him manually go through a data table and spending minutes on each answer (and longer on some of the tricky ones), I wondered if Tableau and the power of visual analytics held true for a 5th grader.

So here is the data set -

It's really a simple data set. It shows the different kind of fish caught along the Hudson and the locations of the various places they were caught and how far they are from the mouth of the Hudson.

The first thing I did was to add a little circle to the data set. The bigger the circle, means more fish were caught. Amazing how something as simple as that, immediately brings your attention to the fact that the Atlantic silverside was the most caught fish and it was in Verplanck. Our mind is immediately able to see that the circle next to 180 is bigger than the circle next to 113 (despite these being pretty small circles). If you look at the data set above, it would have  taken you some time to be sure that 180 was the largest number. You would have to scan to make sure nothing was bigger. See how much time a visual cue saves?

The teacher had posed 3 questions -

1. Which was the most caught fish?
2. Which fish was caught in the most locations?
3. If I am fishing at mile 106 from source of the Hudson, what are the 4 most common fish I would catch?

So here is the challenge - Answer the 3 questions based on the data above and see how long it takes you.

Note that time down.

Now look at the dashboard I created and see how long it takes to answer the question. Click on a fish and visually see where it was caught.

This is the power of visual analytics. This is the power of Tableau. A picture does speak a thousand words and it is so much more fun, easy and well worth the 15 minutes (took longer to write this blog post)