What’s on the table

Ok the title is probably misleading. In this post I liked to talk a bit about tableau. Tableau, and is this case public Tableau, is a free data-visualization tool, that allows you to share visualized data on-line, for free. Have a look at the tableau gallery with the vizz of the day.

Tableau desktop (free for MacOS, Window…) allows you to link data in the form of static files (Excel, csv, pdf,json…) or online data (e.g. Google Doc – sheet, databases…), and visualize your data.
You can visualize data in worksheets, like a chart, a table, a map. You can than combine these worksheets in a dashboard, and add text, links, images… to explain the dashboards. These dashboard can be seen as slides, which you will use in a storyboard, to tell your story.

It’s completely up to you how to tell the story. You could start with a global birds-eye view of the data, and drill down to some detail, and maybe come to a conclusion. This is a great way to visualize data for a presentation, but the most powerful thing about it, is that this is not a static slide. As a user of this visualization, you can filter and view the data the way you want, and interactively get a better understanding of the data. Of course, as with all visualizations of data, it can become painfully obvious, that some of your data is incorrect or incomplete, so be prepared to clean up your data…

So why am I looking at tableau? In the context of my general interest in genealogy, I’m always looking for ways to visualize data, and in this case how to easily compare data, and look for data in my family tree.
In a first step I am converting GEDCOM files to useable files for tableau. Publishing my family tree in a tableau vizz makes looking for relatives interactive and fun, compared to the static html pages exported by most family tree apps.
In a later fase I want to compare 2 (or more) GEDCOM files, and look for places, people, events that might overlap… trying to determine if there might be a connection… This could be an interesting tool for the genealogy detective.

If you are interested in the test tools we are writing, and like to participate, you can contact me at geert@verticalhorizon-software.com

Have a nice weekend.


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