Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Rain Unraveled Tales: A Bob Dylan data journey ...

Image
Screenshot of the Tableau Dashboard. Available [here] and at the end of this post.
Following on from my previous post about Bob Dylan and Tableau, I wanted to go back and revisit the datasource to see what else could be done with it and how else I could approach visualising the data. Rather than just writing it up for this blog, I though I'd take up a recent challenge to create a video blog or 'Vlog' as I'm assured all the cool kids call them ... so instead of reading my words, sit back, relax ... maybe put some Dylan on in the background ... and listen to me talk you through my latest Tableau Public data visualisation: Rain Unraveled Tales: A Bob Dylan data journey  ...


If there are issues with this embedded version, try the dashboard on my Tableau Public page [here]. Similarly, if there are any issues with the video you can watch it on YouTube [here]

Just a little glimpse of a data story I’ll tell ’Bout a North Country singer that you all know well

Image
Screenshot of the Tableau Dashboard. Available [here] and at the end of this post.
A dream of Bob Dylan When I was a kid, my parents wanted to ensure that I’d do as well as I possibly could in exams and get a place in University. To this end they hired a personal tutor to give me additional tuition in a variety of subjects that I kinda sucked at.* That’s why they hired JS. The routine was always the same … JS would come to my house and I’d attempt to feign interest and proficiency in my coursework for an hour or so, a couple of times a week. One evening I was listening to the radio when he came over and his first words were ‘What’s that on the radio?’ … well, no, actually … he didn’t say that at all … his language was peppered with obscenities and, when I said it was just something from the charts, he only got more agitated. Lessons were abandoned for the evening as I was treated to a tirade on the poor quality of what made the charts (it was the mid 80s … he wasn’t wrong). The next wee…

OpenRefine – an experiment in data cleaning

Image
In a recent blog post on Northern Ireland’s Renewal Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal [here] I spent quite a bit of time recording all of the changes, tweaks, and decisions I had to make to get the data into a usable format. With any dataset it is important to understand the transformations that went into bringing it to its final form. If other researchers are unable to follow your process and consistently achieve the same results from the same dataset it brings your analysis into question. Beyond that, it brings the whole endeavour of data science and data analysis into disrepute. If you can’t rely on the figures to tell a consistent story, you can’t make consistent decisions, and you can’t gain reliable insights. You certainly can’t trust the folks who are furnishing you this flawed and unreliable nonsense. If you can’t rely on the information you’re seeing on your dashboard, what is it other than a collection of interesting, but meaningless, colours and shapes?
While this should be a con…

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) non-domestic beneficiaries: an interactive analysis of the data

Image
Screenshot of the Tableau Dashboard. Available [here] and at the end of this post.
(Updated: see notes at end)

After much legal wrangling and foot-dragging, the Northern Ireland Department of the Economy have finally published a partial list of recipients of money from the botched Renewable Heat Initiative scheme. At present only limited companies and limited liability partnerships who received in excess of £5,000 (cumulative) are listed. The data runs from the start of the scheme to 28 February 2017. After the list was published (16 March 2017) a number of people complained that they should treated as individuals, and not as limited companies. These corrections were made and a second list was issued the same afternoon. The dataset used here is based on this second list.
The first thing I want to note about the document made available by the Department of the Economy is that it is presented as a PDF. This is data! To analyse data you need it in a suitable format such as .xls or .csv. A P…

Finding your Public Amenities in Northern Ireland

Image
I was recently thinking back to last year’s ODI Belfast unConference where someone mentioned one of the smallest (and, by implication, the least useful) datasets available on their website [here] – the  list of 22 Bowling Pavilions in Belfast City. The question was ‘what can you possibly do with a list of 22 bowling pavilions?’ I seem to remember the suggestion that they might be useful in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse where they could be put to use as holding centres for the contaminated. I’m not a huge fan of the Zombie genre, but even I know that this approach will not end well. So … what do you do with a list of 22 Bowling Pavilions? This is a question that has been ticking away in the back of my head for a while now (wow … I really don’t have the richest internal life, do I?) … how do you use this kind of data in a useful way? Sure … I can build you a dashboard that shows all of their locations … but how is this of any use to anyone? As I’ve scoured the ODI website looking for…