Refugee crisis in Europe – My entry for the European #IronViz competition

Since 2010, the unstable situation in the middle east generated a massive inflow of migrants in all European countries. Through different routes, people illegally cross borders until they ask asylum and apply for refugee status in a chosen country. However, too many people don’t make the final destination, as they disappear – or die – in the mediterranean sea, or on their way to a better life.

I gathered data on refugee status applications in European countries, illegal crossing of European borders, and people who disappeared or died trying to reach Europe.

The final result aims to illustrate the hope-guided journey of people who risk everything for the simple hope of a better and safer life for themselves and their families.

No person is illegal.

Delay Finder: my very own #MakeoverMonday of a viz by Ben Moss

I really appreciate the power of constructive criticism in the #DataViz space. Given the importance of the audience in the data visualization process, feedback from peers is a gift to ask for and to encourage.

When criticizing a visualization, there are both technical and ethical rules to be followed, and I think most of them can be found in two main sources:

1. The #MakeoverMonday project, that every week picks a data visualization to improve, asking participants to stick to the original data, and constrain their time to a hour (to seek simplicity);

2. A framework recently published by Stephen Few, where he purposed a structured way to assess the quality of a data visualization.

Some week ago, my good friend, colleague and great data wrangler Ben Moss published a new viz about flight delays.

As an Italian expat in London, I can easily qualify as an interested audience, and I definitely had questions to ask the dashboard.


Here’s Ben’dashboard:

This peculiar cocktail of interest, good data, and friendship made me willing to apply to Ben’s dashboard the rules of both the MakeoverMonday project and the framework outlined by Stephen Few.

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#VizBI – The Concept

Very often we use Tableau Public to showcase interesting visualizations, that we would never bring to our workplace.

Sankey charts, radial charts, etc. are all fun to experiment and great learning experiences, but unlikely to be the visualization of our choice in a business environment.

At the same time, we can’t really have those as main examples of BI dashboards, can we?

BI Dashboards.PNG

#VizBI wants to be a series of Tableau visualizations, based on dummy data and curated by Ravi Mistry (@Scribblr_42) and myself.

The idea is to model real-life business questions and get to actionable insights as quickly and accurately as possible.

The aim is to explore and share practices of Visual Business Intelligence, across different real-life-like scenarios.

Feedback will of course be encouraged; it is essentially the soul of the whole project: Finding different options and approaches to the same questions. Or even find different/more interesting questions.

Watch this space!

The world of Donald Trump, visualized with R and Tableau

Last week, Buzzfeed released the output of a research they have carried on all the connections that Donald Trump holds with people and organizations.

I decided I wanted to visualize this dataset on a network chart, showing both the direct and indirect business connections of Trump. See below the end result (click for the interactive version).

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Against storytelling: We need Data Explorers to make sense of Open Data.

Yeah, the title is provocative.

Of course, I have nothing against storytelling with data: it’s a great way to prove points and impact opinions. Experts in the data space proved how storytelling can be crucial when working with data: check out the great work by Cole Nussbaumer, or have a look at most of the visualizations published by Andy Kriebel.

However, as storytelling is usually widely celebrated, here I want to put a spotlight on the other face of the #DataViz coin: Exploration.

Explorative data visualizations are interfaces that allow users to ask questions to a dataset, and find their answers. They embody the concept of “Guided Analytics”, and are usually found in the form of dashboards of interactive and inter-related charts and controls.
As we strive for a more transparent, informed and data-driven society, I genuinely think exploratory data visualizations can be as powerful as storytelling.

In fact, because they don’t aim to change opinions, they empower people with visual instruments to check what’s going on themselves. Thanks to Data Explorers, people can make sense out of data when they are complex and – yes – big.

Toy Explorer-256x256.png

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Humanitarian Response Map Review – Helping disaster relief using Alteryx and Tableau

At the beginning of this year, I decided to get involved in the Tableau Foundation Service Corps: a group of people volunteering for charities and no profit organizations using Tableau. At the time, I was really excited to join this project, as to me it represented a great opportunity to put my skills at the service of good causes.

And this has really been the case. Since then, I have been involved in a project that let me feel really helpful, and for which I am so grateful to who entrusted me with its implementation: the Humanitarian Response Map Review.

The output of the project is the dashboard below: basically a visual way for decision makers on emergency fields to quickly filter the multitude of maps created by various organizations and find the ones that suit their needs.

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