March 6th, 2010 by deinspanjer
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. :)