The road to Tableau’s Iron Viz championship

James Young

James Young

March Madness isn’t just for the b-ball courts. Tableau Public puts data enthusiasts in the game with its annual Iron Viz competition, a series of three themed contests launched between March and July. The winners are sent to face off in the ultimate showdown of Tableau viz-ardry at the software company’s annual conference in September.

The Elite 8 Sports Viz competition was introduced in March. Our Tableau team got straight to work, with three of our consultants (Peter Gilks, Dan Montgomery, and John Mathis) making it all the way to the Final Four. From there, it was a neck-and-neck, Slalom vs. Slalom championship round between Dan and John.

The people tweeted John to ultimate victory, securing his spot on stage at the Tableau Conference in September. All of our participants are winners in my book. Check out the stories behind their awesome dashboards below.

Show me the money!

Dan Montgomery, Slalom Consulting

Dan Montgomery

Originally posted on Dan’s blog. Follow him on Twitter at @datapsientist.

March is Sports Blogging Month at +Tableau Software. If you have ever visited my blog before, you know that’s definitely the kind of blogging I can get behind (all but 2 of my vizzes have been related to sports).

So here is my official submission for the sports blogging month and #IronViz sports blogging challenge. Forbes publishes a list of the top 100 earning athletes and in addition to finding insight into how these athletes earn their money (endorsements vs. salary/winnings), I tried to put a picture around what exactly $78 million dollars translates to (answer: a lot!).

Show Me the Money viz


Blue blood


Peter Gilks

Originally posted on Peter’s blog. Follow him on Twitter @pgilks.

Well, it’s that time of year again when the Iron Viz entry competitions roll around. This year the first topic is all about sports.

My entry is a quick history of the Duke vs. North Carolina rivalry. I wanted to play on the intensity of the rivalry so came up with the title “Blue Blood” and used splatters of blood to show each game going all the way back to 1922 (quite disgusting, I know). The viz has very little interaction, which is different from most of the work I do, but I wanted to try to make something that was more of a single image, or poster style.

Blue Blood viz

Fourth down: what play do you call?

John Mathis

John Mathis

Originally posted on John’s blog. Follow him on Twitter @datographer.

The fourth down is the most critical possession in football—it’s the team’s final play and they are left with three basic options: go for a first down, kick a field goal, or punt the ball away. The most important variables when making this decision are how many yards are needed to get the first down and where the team’s positioned on the field. Of course, this all goes out the window when it comes down to the wire in the fourth quarter.

This first half of my Iron Viz submission illustrates what NFL coaches typically do when faced with a fourth down decision. Users can see clear trends in how the most common play changes based on these two variables. Note how certain scenarios are impossible (e.g., fourth and seven on the five yard line). Increase the pressure and switch to view only fourth quarter stats and see how much riskier the play calling becomes when the entire game is on the line.

Fourth Down viz

The second half of my viz provides additional detail around expected outcomes of each of the three options to help guide the decision for your team. Maybe your field goal kicker has some extra distance in his leg compared to the NFL average or perhaps your punter has control issues resulting in many short punts. These factors all influence the calculus of which play is the right one to call.

Blue 42, Blue 42, Hut Hut Hike!

I am thrilled to have won the Elite 8 Sports Viz championship against some very tough competitors. The capabilities and diversity of the entries showcase the power and flexibility of Tableau—I know I’m not the only one to have learned something new. I am eager to see the other upcoming Iron Viz competitions and learn who I’ll be competing with on stage at Tableau Conference 2014 in Seattle. May the best viz win!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: