Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tool: Tableau Public

Tableau Public is a free drag and drop data viz tool that can help you create interactive visualizations and dashboards, then embed it in your website or share it. It reads several types of data files, including spreadsheets and comma-separated files.

How it works : The user needs to supply to it a data file which is properly formatted, for example, each column denoting a different type of value and the first row denoting the column header names. The software automatically reads the first row to get the field names and then classifies some names as Dimensions, which are categories such as 'Boroughs' and 'Status', while others are Measures, which are typically numeric. The user has to select a dimension, a measure and then a type of data view, such as 'map','pie-chart','bar-graph' etc. and the software automatically populated the data in the view type the user has selected. For each data view, there are different options presented, such as 'states and highways','zip code labels', etc, for a map view.

I have used it to create some example visualizations from data sets that I found on the NYC Data Mine website. This tool is available for download in Windows environment at