Archive for the 'Maps' Category

Tableau adds Maps and Web Application Integration

Last week I was wishing we could integrate Tableau interactive reports into our own web applications, and today I got an e-mail that appeared to be granting my wish. Tableau 4.0 was just released, and it includes the ability to integrate interactive reports into web applications.

They’ve also added maps to their feature-list–and the ability to auto-detect geographic data in a dataset and produce a geo-analytic report. What’s interesting about their maps is they don’t just use standard map backgrounds like Google Maps. They specifically created map backgrounds that won’t interfere with the view of the data–because these maps are for analysis, not navigation. I like how they keep their purpose first and foremost and tend to the needs of the user.

The other thing I was pleased with was they included four tabs of info about their new release–and one of them is labeled “usability”. It’s clear from looking at their solutions that the company pays a lot of attention to usability, but it’s always nice to see “Usability” called out as a key component of a software release.

What about licensing? The same pricing model applies, so each user of the application you integrate Tableau with has to be a licensed user of Tableau. Sigh. The salesperson says in the next version they’re planning more fully integrated applications … unfortunately, I don’t think we can wait that long … darn it! Why did they have to tease me like that?


Other posts on Tableau and Data Visualization / Metrics / Reporting:


Where do my electrons go?

Ever wonder how far the electrons have to travel each time you request a web address? The internet works via many hops and jumps, and now there’s a cool geo-tool to tell you just how wasteful and inefficient our internet really is.

It’s called YouGetSignal. Go try the proxy trace and see the route your electrons take from your computer to Google (or whatever site you frequent). It’s naturally a little convoluted because in order for the program to read the traceroute, it’s got to go through dreamhost, but still, it gives you a great visual picture of how many hops your electrons have to take every day.

My hubby sent me this–thanks, dear!

Excellent, simple, intuitive interface

No, it’s not a web site–it’s driving directions–or rather, a red line, projected directly onto the windshield of a car. Frank on VerySpatial posted this about Virtual Cable, and it is so incredibly simple, it makes you wonder why nobody ever thought of it before.  As described, it doesn’t sound very usable, but when you see it, you intuitively understand.

Virtual Cable

Frank referred to an article on Engadget about it.

Yesterday, Virtual Cable had some videos up on their web site showing how it works, but they’ve disabled them for the time being. I recommend checking back there. It’s really slick!

Now, the big question I have is where are they getting the navigation data? Will it have the same problems as the outdated map on my Nissan Quest GPS system? I can just imagine the frustration I’d feel if the red line tried to take me across a chasm where there used to be a road (before the earthquake).

Or will it be updated in real-time, more like Dash? The two together would be very powerful, indeed. Wouldn’t you like your red cable to route you around traffic? Or tell you where the nearest coffee shop is?

GeoRSS in a Google Gadget

We’ve been playing with GeoRSS at work and I got the challenge of putting the GeoRSS feed we developed into a gadget that users could put on their iGoogle pages or web sites. I can’t show you the one I developed at work because the feed isn’t public (yet), so I developed another one using a publicly available feed (USGS volcanoes). This is a super-simple little gadget that uses Google Maps API and puts a little marker on the earth for each of the GeoRSS news feed items. I wish I had the ability to edit the items because the balloons get kind of big and unweildy inside the little gadget, but that’s beyond my control.

Add it to your iGoogle page.
Add it to your web site.

I’m sure many of you already know all this, but for those that don’t:

What’s GeoRSS? It’s a location-aware news feed. There are many types of GeoRSS feeds: homes for sale, USGS Earthquakes, flickr location-tagged photos, etc. I can imagine so many more excellent applications for it–how about best fishing holes, animal migration patterns, disease monitoring, best places to drink beer, …

What’s a gadget? If you haven’t customized your Google page yet, you are missing out! Google allows you to add handy little gadgets (mini-web applications) that give you everything from the weather to the image of the day to google map search or e-mail in a small, compact little package so you can fit lots of them on your page, and move them around wherever you want them.

The whole thing takes about 30 minutes to put together, and then a bit of tweaking and testing. The best part is it doesn’t require any programming! Just a little HTML and some XML.

USGS also has an Earth as Art gadget I helped with. This was my first experience developing a gadget: no geographic context, but it’s a lot prettier.

Add to iGoogle.
Add to a web page.