The competition for Iron Viz qualification has begun! In case any of you don't know about the Iron Viz, it's an "Iron Chef"-like competition that Tableau holds every year at their annual conference. Here's a blog post that talks a little more about it: Iron Viz Competition 2015.


Everyone has submitted their visualizations for this first round using only data from Wikipedia, and there are a lot of good ones out there to learn from. I know that I'll personally be downloading several of them to learn from, maybe you'll find some things you want to learn about too!


Iron Viz Wiki Data Submissions


For my submission, I chose to manually scrape the "Notable Deaths" data from Wikipedia, a task which ended up involving way more data cleaning than I thought it would be. The data resided in 29 individual pages, links to which can be found in this one central page. Unfortunately, although the data was roughly in the same format from page to page, it differed just enough to make it difficult to structure into a Tableau-friendly format. The process I went through was a long combination of manual work and Python scripting, in order to turn the data into a consistently-structured .csv file that could then be loaded into Tableau. (Headers: Date of Death, Name, Description, Birth Year, Age)


After finally getting the data into Tableau, I decided to try to parse out the Nationality, Occupation, and Cause of Death for each person using a long series of IF / ELSEIF statements. (I also used CASE / WHEN statements for a few applications. I prefer to use these since they're more compact, but they couldn't do the string parsing that I wanted.) Not a perfect method because of complexities within the data, but it ended up returning some very interesting results nonetheless! Check out the "About" tab in the viz for more info on the methodology. (The viz is below, but here's the Tableau Public link if you want.)


By the way, if you aren't already active in the Tableau Public world, I definitely recommend finding and following some bloggers! I recently had the opportunity to talk with Jewel Loree, and she is always coming out with plenty of interesting vizzes that will improve you analytically and creatively. (VizCandy and Paint By Numbers are a couple others I try to keep up with, as well.)


Happy exploring!


Steven Rouk