Why Vizioneer?

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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
The "Vizioneer" comes from mashing two words that have shaped my world for most of my adult life - Engineer and [data] Visualizations (or Vizes to those who know what's up). Graduating from first from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, followed by Georgia Tech with my Bachelors and Masters in Civil Engineering, all of which taught me to think through anything and everything - problem solving, "engineering" solutions, teaching to the "ah ha" moments - is what I love to do. In 2010 that investigative, engineering mindset intersected a job change and a plunge into the world of Data Analysis. In the search for the next great thing I stumbled on to a data visualization and dashboarding product called Tableau software and things just took off. So now I guess you could call me that engineer with the sweet data visualizations - or just "The Vizioneer" :)

In 2013, I joined the incredible team at Slalom, focusing on Tableau and it's been an amazing experience. Recently in 2014, I was honored and humbled to receive Tableau's highest recognition of being named a Tableau Zen Master. Follow along to see what happens next :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 24: Tweets, ScraperWiki, and OData

I'm back! Did you miss me?  One thing's for sure - you were left in capable hands.  That John Mathis is awesome.  

Today we look at a twist in the road.  Not so much about Tableau, but rather the options for bringing data into Tableau.  Let me tell you a story - A few months back I was very fortunate to be at the right place at the right time.  I had contacted a slick data scraping company in the UK, called ScraperWiki about getting a complete list of Twitter followers for a client.  While I was emailing them I threw in to my last line something like "BTW - you guys should figure out how to directly connect the data into Tableau".  I love startups because people actually read emails. It wasn't more than a day or two before I received an email back stating they were actually in development of a Tableau connector, but were interested if I had an opinion on what it should look like.  I lack many things, but an option is almost never one of them....

Long story short, after a couple Skype Calls (UK-Atlanta-San Fran-Seattle) the world now has an OData connector that feeds data out of ScraperWiki (including Twitter data).  Ta-da!  On behalf of Ian and his stud team across the pond, you're welcome :)  So, today we'll show just how simple the whole thing is - I give you Tweets, ScraperWiki and OData.

So again, I'm not starting in Tableau on this one.  I'll be heading straight to www.ScraperWiki.com, and creating an account to scrape Twitter based on keywords.  Given the team effort of yesterday, I'm going to look at Tweets with @Slalom and we'll put those together in a quick dashboard.  I select Search for Tweets and I'm asked for what I want to search for:

You'll be asked to authorize the app and you'll have to put in a Twitter Account and Password.  And ScraperWiki is off to the races!  Give it a few minutes to a few hours and it will go back up to two weeks to get tweets matching your criteria.  You can also set it to continue to capture matching tweets going forward.  Now, for the coolest part - You can now make this connectable via OData (per that fun story at the beginning).  Disclaimer - This option is only available to "Premium Level" customers - ie it's $29/month.  We're cool and have an account at this level, so when I click on the @Slalom Tweet data set I made, I see this option:

Once I do that I'm given a URL right here:

I copy that URL and pop open Tableau, select the OData connection and paste in the URL:

There's no user name or password (because remember - OData is the only type of dynamic data that can be used on Tableau Public - that's why!).  Click OK and Tableau sucks the data in and creates an extract.  To get the new data from the web just refresh the data source at any time.  

So below is the visualization I made, with the Live OData connection! As you can see we have tweets in there as recent as yesterday's (4/23) Viz of the Day win by Peter Gilks!  Congrats Peter!

I hope you enjoyed that one.  I'd encourage you to think about other ways you might be able to leverage the ScraperWiki tool.  If you're already doing so, drop me a line as I'd love to hear about it.  Many thanks!



  1. Thanks for the great writeup!

    Our pricing model has moved on a bit, we're now offering the OData connector on our free 30 day trial, as well as our two paid account levels at $9 and $29 per month.

    I'm using the Odata connector regularly, as much to avoid managing downloaded files, as to get live data. I've used to to get stock data from the Yahoo!Finance API. And we're working on getting our Table Xtract tool, which is a general table scraper, to serve up data in the right format for it.

    We're always keen to hear from people as to what data, and functionality,l they want from our platform.

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