Data, Statistics, Visualization

Tableau for Mac Finally Here


Yesterday marked the launch of Tableau version 8.2 and included in this release is a version for the Mac. For the past several months we have been teased with the prospect of this version. Tableau’s April Fool’s video about Medium Data as the new thing even featured a clip of a beta version of Tableau running on a Mac.

Now if Alteryx ran on a Mac as well, the only thing I would need Windows for would be to run Visual Studio.

For now I guess I will have to continue with Remote Desktop into a Windows environment which actually runs pretty well.

Data, Forecasting, Fundraising, Statistics, Visualization

Updating Fundraising Data in Tableau


I still have a little ways to go to get to the required minimum fundraising level in order to participate in the 2014 Ride to Conquer Cancer. My previous post described the process I used to build a dashboard that would visualize the data in near real-time so I could track my fundraising efforts compared to the previous two years.

Tableau makes it real easy to be able to update the data used to create each sheet. It is as easy as a right-click to update to the most current version of the data you have.

In my case, I simply log into my fundraising account and download the current donations spreadsheet, and then switch to my 2014 sheet and right-click the data source, select “Edit Connection” from the context-menu and click OK. Since I replaced the existing spreadsheet with the most current, I simply click OK and the sheet updates with the most recent donations.

From the image above, I can easily see, comparing each year where I am at this point, that I am about $200 behind last year and about $700 behind 2012. This is such a great cause to support because not only does The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre do so much needed cancer research, and have made significant breakthroughs even in the last year, they also provide ongoing patient care and teaching and are one of the top 5 research centres in the world.

It takes less than a minute to donate securely online on my RTCC fundraising page –

Thank you for your support.

Data, Fundraising, Statistics, Visualization

Tracking Fundraising Progress in Tableau

Tracking Fundraising Progress in Tableau

Tracking my fundraising progress compared to the previous two years for the 2014 Ride to Conquer Cancer.

Building this dashboard was pretty straight forward. The Ride to Conquer Cancer fundraising portal allows for downloading the list of donations as a CSV file. I created a worksheet for each year selecting the donation date field and specifying a set date range for the X-axis. I added tick marks for the first of every month and also added a reference line for January 1.

For the Y-axis, I selected the donation amount and created a running total to track overall donation levels and then added a reference line of $2500 which represents the minimum each rider must raise in order to participate in the 200km Ride to Conquer Cancer from Toronto to Niagara Falls. This allows me to quickly see how my fundraising is going compared to the target amount.

Repeating this process for each of the previous two years as well, I then created a dashboard containing the three worksheets vertically stacked. Since the X-axis is a fixed date range, all three worksheets then line up and I can easily compare my fundraising progress against the same time for the previous years.

In the above image, the current 2014 Ride Donations at January 10th is at $1000 whereas in 2013 by the same point it was just under $2000 and in 2012 I had already met the minimum fundraising objective of $2500.

Tableau has enabled me to quickly assess my fundraising progress at a glance without any heavy number crunching or programming and in just a few steps.

Please help The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre with a donation and help me reach my goal to participate.

Thank you.

Data, Forecasting, Statistics

Thinking Probabilistically

Uncertainty in forecasting could very easily be too important to be poorly indicated or left unreported depending on the situation.

Predicting a storm surge of 49′, for example, up against a 51′ levee and not reporting on the margin of error could lead most people to believe that everything is fine. If the margin of error is reported as +-9′ then there would really be cause for concern.

In Nate Silver’s keynote during the Tableau TCC13 in Washington, he goes on to explain that the actual storm surge in the example was 4′. Well within the margin of error, so great for predictability, but still resulted in a flood of 2′.

The location does not matter.  The point is in how the probability is presented to be easily understood so that appropriate action can be taken if need be.