For last week’s #MakeoverMonday the topic was land used for the production a single gram of protein for different food types. While my mission to try a new Tableau feature continues, I chose transparent charts this week, which, at least I think, is befitting to the topic, as this data visualization aims to create some transparency in what the real cost of our food is.

The environment is a very prevalent issue on my mind. Admittedly I’m not the biggest advocate, but I try to do my part. It is for this reason that I found this topic so interesting. But of course, the fact that over 68% of land usage goes to the rearing of cattle, lead me to other questions, such as, what is the usage of other resources, like water, and how does this relate to what we actually pay for our produce?

What I saw, by comparing a few different data set, all from, is that, of the food produces measured, beef has the lowest value for money. It also uses the highest amount of land for the production of one single gram of protein. In addition to this, it has one of the highest usage of water for the production of that one gram of protein, this probably also has to do with the irrigation of the fields that the cows graze on. So, not only does beef cost the most from our wallets, it also has an extremely high cost to the planet. For the meat lovers, pork and chicken are more sustainable, while fruit and vegetables may use up quite a bit more water, all in all, they are a more earth friendly option.

Transparency – of course, I chose the simplest of simple new Tableau tricks for this week. And once I figured out where to click, it really was super simple. It’s just a matter of selecting the chart you’d like to make transparent, right licking, selecting the format options from the data pane, selecting the pain bucket and changing the worksheet colour to ‘None’. And now you have a chart with your image as the background!


And of course, here is the viz if you would like to explore. Clicking on the image will take you to the Tableau Public Link.

Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 22.36.50

Happy Holidays!


Just the thought of spiders, fills me with fear. The same can be said when I was at client site and I was asked to make a spider chart. It’s one of those charts I thought, yes it looks kinda cool, I don’t personally find it the best way to represent data and really, is it really worth the effort?

Well, this time I just had to do it. And you know what, I actually really enjoyed the challenge!

And a challenge it was. I know a few people have blogged about how to make a spider/radar chart or other round kinds of charts, but because I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, my mind went on a serious mental block and I couldn’t even read the posts. Eventually after going through the process in baby steps, I got the gist of it. If you are anything like me, this may be helpful. I’m going to break my process down into baby steps if you want to follow along.

The Data

I can’t seem to upload files here, so here is a screen shot of the sample data I used to create the Spider:

the samples data

The Data Prep/Alteryx Part

steps 1 to 8

1. The data is split into streams. The ‘current’ (apples sold) and the ‘ambition’ (target number) scores.

2. The first row (in both cases) is replicated and repeated at the end of the data set in order to form a full circle.

3. Create a path ID with will give direction to the lines between the points for each set of scores.

4. Name these sets of scores! I called them ‘current’ and ‘ambition’.

5. Bring both sets of scores back together using a union.

6. Find out what the highest score and the highest path number is.
The highest score will be used to draw the outline of the web and the highest path number is used later to calculate which values will be positive and which will be negative (because it’s a circular format, we will need negative numbers to make a full circle).

7. Append the highest score and the highest path number to the rest of the data as new fields.

8. Because I decided to make an outline for my chart, we now have to generate an extra set of rows (to one of the data streams, I chose the ‘current’ steam). This just creates a duplicate of what you already have, with an indication of if it’s the first or the second row.

steps 9 on

9. Sort these just to make life a little easier to follow.

10. Name and define the radar outline.
Since we have created a second lot of rows for the outline,
IF row count = 2 THEN Call it radar outline
and IF row count = 2 THEN fill in the max number for all values
(please see the formulae in the workflow)

11. Bring the ‘current’, ‘radar outline’ and the ‘ambition’ streams all together.

12. Create a copy of the value that you want to plot. Save it for later (this is really just so you can use them as labels in Tableau).

13. OK, this is where it started to bend my brain. Bring on the math.

To create the circluar effect, the first thing we need to do is make the latter half of the data negative. Luckily we we already have the max path so we can just use these  formulae to update the ‘value’:

IF [Path] > ([Max_Path]/2)
THEN -[Value]
ELSE [Value]
IF [Path] = [Max_Path]
THEN -[Value]
ELSE [Value]

14. Next we have to work out angles

– Work out the number of dimensions:

– Break the circle into segments:
360/[Number of Dimensions]

– Angles through the circle:

– Work out the radians (for some reason this just works better for calculating the SIN and COS than degrees)
[Angle Through Circle] * (PI()/180)

15. Now we have to calculate the adjustment for the X and Y coordinates and then apply this adjustment:

X adjustment: SIN([Radians])
Y adjustment: COS([Radians])

And then multiply X and Y by those adjustments. These are the values you will be plotting.

Again, unfortunately I can’t seem to upload the Alteryx file, but if you need it, feel free to  leave a comment or tweet me @amanda_patist.

The Tableau Part


The tableau bit isn’t hard, you just need to know what the tricks are. This frustrated me to no end.

The dotsCreating the dots: 

  1. plot the avgerage x and y.
  2. Bring day to detail and status to colour.

the lines

Creating the lines: 

  1. Duplicate your Y axis.
  2. Move path to the dimensions.
  3. Change the marks to a line.
  4. Bring Path to the line path.
  5. Remove day from detail if it’s there.
  6. Dual and synchronise the Y axis.

Now you can format to your heart’s content and then… TADAAAA…

Finished product

Feel free to have a peak at the workbook here:

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