Data Viz Done Right

June 27, 2011

ATUG Contest: Geographically based Economic data

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At most ATUG (Facebook, LinkedIn) meetings we conduct a group exercise in which the attendees break into small groups, are given an unfamiliar dataset, have 45 minutes to build a dashboard, then present their dashboards.  This past week, due to the richness of the dataset, none of the teams were able to build anything within the time allotted. 

After talking with Tableau, we are turning this into a contest for the ATUG members.  Each member or team that participates will present their dashboard at the next meeting on July 21st (Tableau will host the meeting and present v6.1).  Entries will be judged by John Hoover, Dan Murray and I (and maybe someone from Tableau).  We’re working on a prize with Tableau.

To be eligible, you must attend the next ATUG meeting in person, but if anyone else wants to submit a viz, please do so; it’s a great dataset.  You can post your entries via comment to this blog post.

The contest is based on the Yale University G-Econ research project.  From their website:

The G-Econ research project is devoted to developing a geophysically based data set on economic activity for the world. The current data set (GEcon 4.0) is now publicly available and covers "gross cell product" for all regions for 1990, 1995, 2000, and 2005 and includes 27,500 terrestrial observations. The basic metric is the regional equivalent of gross domestic product. Gross cell product (GCP) is measured at a 1-degree longitude by 1-degree latitude resolution at a global scale.

You can find the following at this link (

  1. The data in XLS, XLSX and Tableau Data Extract format (I have built a few custom calcs and a parameter into the extract).  The fields have some funky names, so refer to the “definitions” tab in the Excel workbook for explanations (I have renamed a few of them in the Tableau workbook).
  2. A Tableau packaged workbook (ATUG June 2011.tbwx)
  3. Meeting materials from the last meeting (for those curious to see the content of a typical ATUG meeting)

Below is a sample dashboard I created.  Be patient as the viz loads.  There are 27k+ data points that need to load into each map. 

  • You can filter the maps by lassoing an area on any of the maps.  Lasso South America in the Population Change map and you’ll see a cool display in the other three maps.
  • Use the Year selector next to the Population Change map to see the population change over time.  Notice how much movement there has been from 2000-2005 versus 1990-2005.

Good luck!  Send me an email if you have any questions.

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