Lab Day: Maps built with Tableau Public

The web team here at EDF, inspired by Google’s “20 percent time” (and lobbying by web producer Porter Mason), is experimenting with setting aside occasional Lab Days. The goal is to allow our producers to experiment with new tools, build new skills, and otherwise do cool stuff that wouldn’t fit into a regular work week.

Today is my first Lab Day, and I decide to recreate (or create) some maps we’ve worked with using Tableau Public, which I learned about at a really good data visualization session at last year’s NTEN Conference.

And here’s my first map!

It uses the same data that our membership crew used to create this map of polluting coal plants near you. This Tableau map doesn’t allow to to type in an address to search for it, which is one of the things we wanted to do, but I think it’s easy enough to identify a location that it’s fine. I am, however, finding the map manipulation kind of clunky. It might be that there are just too many points for it to handle gracefully.

Next step for me: Seeing if I can figure out how to make this more interactive, or maybe looking at some straight charts that won’t have the navigation issues that a map does.