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I recently picked up a copy of Tableau Desktop Professional.  The primary reason for wanting it was to be able to do some advanced visualizations like the ones described here.  Mozilla has a few different datacenters in different parts of the world, and we just brought a new one online in Phoenix.  We wanted to take a look at the geographic traffic breakdown between the Phoenix and the San Jose datacenters.

The visualization on the right was not painful to create.  It took *way* too long to render, but I don’t think Tableau developers ever really optimized for having over a million data points on a map.  It isn’t really that appealing though.  The visualization that I really wanted was an animation of each hour.  You can do this inside Tableau by putting the timestamp on the page shelf and then hitting the play button.  With a million data points, it doesn’t render very quickly though.  I ended up going page by page and exporting an image for each one. I then used a Firefox extension, APNG Editor to splice all the images together into a PNG animation.  It weighs in at 5 MB, but it looks really nice.  Maybe if it impresses some Tableau developers, they’ll consider making it possible to export this type of animation directly from Tableau.  I would sure like saving about three hundred mouse clicks next time I want to do this. :)

Here is the animation version: phx_to_sjc_map_2010-03-03
Here is the dataset: phx_to_sjc_2010-03-03,04

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