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Chris Gerrard – Exploring the world of Better Business Intelligence

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BI as the path to art.

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Two months on the Panamanian Pacific coast. The beach is right below us, the surf a constant presence. The tides here are quite high-averaging almost 15 feet.

Living right on the ocean has it’s great benefits. The beaches here are strikingly beautiful; the surf intermingles black volcanic and white sand into fantastic patterns visible from space. Or at least in Google Earth and maps. The ocean has shaped the beaches into a steeply sloped upper section, and a nearly flat lower zone wonderful for all types of activities. Here’s a time lapse video of high tide in the early morning (it’s receding):
As you can see in the video, there’s not much room on the beach at high tide, and plenty at low tide.

It’s hot here. Not absolutely blisteringly hot, but hot enough to avoid strenuous outdoor activities, walking or running on the beach say, during the middle of the day.

It’s important to know the tides so that you can plan your beach activities. Fortunately, the local community has posted the tides online in a series of web pages, one for each month; March, 2012’s page is here. Unfortunately, the tides are presented in a table that, although it contains the data, is minimally useful.

But there’s good news: it’s pretty easy to scrape the data from the site’s HTML tables and build some Tableau dashboards to present it more effectively. I published several versions to Tableau Public, one for standard browsers here, one sized for iPads here, even one suitable for blogs (although WordPress doesn’t support Tableau’s JavaScript embedding).

Written by Chris Gerrard

March 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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