Hacking Open Government Data for the Tableau Public Hackathon

In February of 2017, Tableau Public announced a hackathon to make open datasets approachable. They paired
applicants into “Data Duos” to work in remote pairs on the various teams. I signed up for the government team (#VizzingGov). I was paired with a fellow data-enthusiast named Neil Lord to work on this project.

Early on, we narrowed our topic to two choices: the impacts of refugees and the costs of social care. We chose to go with refugee impacts, as it was a very timely topic following the recent Brexit vote in the UK and US presidential election. We decided on a two-fold approach to look at refugee data in a global scope, and then focus more locally on the impacts to a single country. Germany, the UK, and the US were the front runners for the local scale our project. We divided up the research, with Neil working on the global scale and myself working on the local scale.

I soon learned that the data available on refugees was voluminous and confusing. One country might consider a person a refugee, and another might consider them an asylee. The number of refugees collected by the UNHCR might not match the number reported in a country’s statistics. Some countries only reported the number of refugees and nothing more, which doesn’t make for very good story-telling. In the end, I chose to focus on the United Kingdom because they had the most recent most thorough data. I also ended up learning a lot about the programs that the UK has in place for refugee support and resettlement.

The final product we made is something I am very proud of. As a self-taught Tableau user, it was particularly interesting to see how someone else puts together a worksheet and a dashboard, and I learned a lot from working with Neil. The opportunity to work with a partner was an especially good experience for someone like myself who is trying to break in to the field of data analytics and visualization.

Anyway, I’m guessing you’re dying to see this visualization by now!

(Click image to interact on Tableau Public)
Click to view on Tableau Public

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