Sydney Tableau User Group – April 2017

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Since Sunday I’ve been in Sydney, my home from 2013 – 2016, and without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s great to be back and the weather has been really pleasant for most of the time.

While I am here on business, I was fortunate to have my visit coincide with Sydney TUG on Wednesday, 26 April. Fi and Mark run Sydney TUG and invited me to present something a bit interactive. And since my appearance at London TUG in March I have admittedly been enjoying these presentations and Tableau demos to the community, so of course I said yes.

My talk was titled ‘Tableau Your Adventures – How visualizing fitness data can create a record of your most epic achievements and support you in achieving your goals’ and I was in my element :-).

The audience was great and I had a number of really interesting discussions with people over drinks and nibbles after the session.

Below are the vizzes I created with a couple of points for each outlining the reasons for my design choices. Click on each image to view on Tableau Public. Please note, for privacy reasons the workbook and data are not downloadable.

The Swim


  • Map: Mapbox Satellite; I chose this to showcase the stunning beaches along the coast of New South Wales and Sydney more specifically in this example
  • Mark type: Line, orange; using a line to connect all the individual dots along the path of my swim shows where I swam very precisely. I chose orange to complement the dark blue background and to standout against the houses, the green grassy areas and the white sandy beaches
  • Title floating on the right: Not every title needs to be at the top and left aligned. The space the map affords me on the right hand side is ideal for the title. Nothing of interest happens in the dark shaded areas of the ocean and it provides great contrast for the off-white font. I also like how the C of ‘Coogee’ mimicks the C-shaped curve of Bronte Beach. I split the title into two rows to let the location of ‘Coogee Island’ stand out and to also give some weight to the word ‘Swim’ as it ‘stands’ by itself. That swim was a significant achievement for me, so I wanted to do it justice. For the font I chose ‘Baskerville Old Face’.
  • Text as Annotation: To get around the lack of transparent sheets, I displayed my key metrics for this viz in an annotation without shading or lines. For this I simply placed all the measures I wanted to show onto the Tooltip card and then formatted the annotation. It was an annotation for a ‘Mark’ of the swim.


The Ride


  • The Mountain: I used ‘Path ID’ on columns and ‘GPS Altitude (m)’ on rows. This means that every tracked point along the way becomes a column with the length being determined by the altitude, resulting in an elevation profile of the mountain. I had to make the viz format very wide to ensure the profile is somewhat realistic to the actual gradient of the mountain
  • The Image: I floated a transparent image that I took at the summit on top of the mountain viz to reflect what it looked like up there. I really like how the mountain starts out grey on the left and then takes on the colour from the image. It was such a beautiful day for riding up to the top and I feel this viz reflects that.
  • The Title: This time the title is on the left to stand out and not distract from the image. The font is Perpetua Titling MT and Perpetua for the location title. I also included the indigenous name for the mountain to indicate some cultural relevance
  • The statistics: Rather than including a map, I chose to display the key metrics from this ride, i.e. the distance, duration and elevation gain. I build a simple text sheet and dragged the three measures onto the Text card, then formatted the text with the pipes in between each measure.


The Run


  • The Map: I decided to have a bit of fun and used Mapbox’s Pirate map.
  • The Title: I gave the viz the title ‘Captain Cook’s Landing | A run’ because the location of this run was in fact where Captain Cook and his crew landed on the Endeavour in 1770
  • The Data: I actually gave the data only very limited exposure in this viz. Aside from the annotation with the key statistics in the middle of the viz, the only other data shown is the path of my run in black at the bottom of the map. Why did I not zoom in further? If I did, I would lose the context of the suburbs in the north that provide a nice visual frame and the image of the ship in the top left corner. Both of these would disappear and the map wouldn’t look nearly as nice.
  • The Font: I chose Georgia as a font, because it’s a bit ‘older’ looking but is also a Tableau Server safe font, so it will display for everyone.


So that was my Sydney TUG presentation.

Now I’m looking forward to our Sydney #MakeoverMonday live event on May 1 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Darling Harbour.

If you’re in the city and want to join us, make sure you register as there are only a few places left.

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