Dashboard Week Day 1 - The Change in Water Temperature around the Gulf of Mexico

by Alisha Dhillon

I started dashboard week with the intention that I would not rush my planning process. I know that this can impact me, especially when I jump into something without truly understanding the data and the granularity of it. Therefore, I gave myself a good hour - hour and a half to work on this. I wrote out my questions as follows.

When - Time series. How much has the water temperature risen over the duration in years. A year on year analysis could be conducted here, or a simple percentage difference from the year previous.

Where - Where has the water temperature risen the most. I knew that this could be mapped but also noted that it could be achieved through a simple bar chart .

What - At what time is the water at it's warmest, shallow or deep? I wasn't entirely sure about this question or what in general. I noted that it was a maybe in terms of exploration.

How - Compare measures, add different levels of detail. Does anything stand out? With this question, I thought it may be interesting to look at the depth of the water and temperature. I wondered if there were any correlations. I know that the deeper the water, the colder it gets, but wondered if that was truly the case and what the data showed us.

Who - I thought it may be interesting to look at the organisations and the % of samples they conduct however, again, was unsure how to tie this back to the question.

With this plan in mind I thought to look at the data and figure what to exclude and drill down to as it was a very large dataset. In the end, I looked at 2004 - 2014. I have to say that the dataset was still very large and causing issues in terms of speed and load time. I then extracted the data which took several minutes. I thought this would help with the speed but it was still very slow. After tableau freezing, closing and giving me error messages, I finally got to a stage where I could start dragging fields in. I realised very quickly that there were some extreme values, which I then excluded. This caused tableau to freeze once more and so I had to start again with my exclusion process. After an incredibly frustrating morning, I had to get myself together and produce something to present in the 2 and a half hours I had remaining.

Below is my final output.

Link to viz: https://public.tableau.com/profile/alisha7755#!/vizhome/Dashday1/Dashboard1

I didn't have much time to really even think back to my questions and see how they answered my main question about the change in water temperature. I would have loved to supplement this with extra data to say what the change in water temperature was doing to the environment. I'd also have loved to have a fact card with core statistics, supplemented with information. The water is getting warmer - but why and what is the impact that it is having on us. These were the issues I truly wanted to dig deeper into. Time was something that I really struggled with. The issues I had with tableau really threw me off my thought process and plan.

I guess, in the end, I did produce something to present, even if it wasn't my finest work. However, I need to become better with time and understanding that unfortunately, things do go wrong, and it's okay to ask for help in those cases. Taking a step back to re-evaluate is also okay. Especially when things don't work as you think they would.

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