The Trans-arctic Expedition

Interactive viz

E is for Explorer

I love a good school project themed viz!

This weeks ‘E’ is brought to you by…..

My 6 year old sons home project – Poles apart. The class are focusing on all things North and South poles. For the geography and history component they are looking at explorers, a key focus being Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton – an Anglo-Irish Explorer who attempted to reach the south pole, he was involved in, and led multiple Antarctic expeditions in the early 1900.

My challenge this week was not so much the idea but the implementation, so I’m not ashamed to say I reached out to a few peeps in the Tableau community to help me realize some of the components in this weeks viz.

One of the reasons I love Tableau is how the tool perfectly facilitates business analytics but also enables creative play. Of late, I have been inspired by various visualisation incorporating some kind of data art, examples such as pointillism and loom art come to mind.

I therefore decided to incorporate some data art into this weeks viz by creating a pointillist image of Shackleton as the opener for my viz. inspiration came from a brief sweep of Ivett Kovacs incredible Tableau public profile where some time ago she created a Mr bean viz which caught my eye. She kindly directed me to George Gorczynski’s blog post and viz series which features a Pointillism in Tableau how to blog – despite being about 7/8 years old it is fantastic, and i really enjoyed playing with this technique.

Next I knew I needed to visualise Antarctica and Shackleton’s planned and actual route of the ill fated expedition. Who knew this would open up a can of worms and many challenges to overcome!!!!!

Quite quickly I realised visualising Antarctica was not as easy as I had anticipated. Therefore I reached out to two map legends in the Tableau community. Jonni Walker and Adi McCrea. Jonni kindly pointed me in the direction of Sarah Battersby blog series and having read and failed to get the penny to drop, Adi kindly walked me through the process over numerous messages and a screen share to get me over the hump of fooling Tableau using tweaked map projections.

thank you so much Adi, I learned alot.

Viz Techniques


Thanks for reading, any questions or feedback most welcome, please get in touch.

Stay tuned for Laura’s take on ‘E is for Explorer’ next week on her blog