Dashboard Week: Day 1

by Joe Phillpott-Clark

The first day of dashboard week is over and what a perfect time to write my first (long overdue) blog post. I’ll try to go through my thoughts/struggles throughout the day.

So, I join the call with the rest of my cohort to see that the first day’s challenge has already been posted. After trying to download and input the data into Alteryx a discussion begins immediately on how soon after the challenge being set, we can ask for help. After 20 minutes (felt like an hour) of struggling to input a .kml file into Alteryx we had to ask for some help. The solution was changing the file format in the input data to .xml. I think even if I spent a week on trying to solve that I wouldn’t have worked it out.

After one too many text to columns tools (I really should be using RegEx) I had the data ready to take into Tableau.


The dataset was quite small, with the only information being the location of US agencies using drones in 2020, but not the number of drones. These were split by Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue and Emergency Management. Based on Andy’s post, he mentioned not to use all the data (thanks for the reminder Tim), so I decided to focus on Fire and Rescue agencies.

Next was finding supplementary data, because otherwise, my best insight of the data was through a count of the number of rows.

I thought it’d be interesting to look at the same datasets previously recorded in 2017 and 2018, as well as some data on the number of wildfires by state.

My assumption was drones were mainly used for outdoor fires but based on some articles I came across they seem to be used for a lot of different fires (oh well, I’ve already got the wildfire data and its nearly lunch so I’ll focus on this).

The data I was left with was fairly easy to work with, and so I decided to produce a few charts but try and pick out the most interesting insights out of each one.

The dashboard could’ve probably done with another chart or some more data for context, but I couldn’t find any decent up-to-date data on other aspects I would’ve liked to include.

Thanks for reading and here’s the final dashboard 👍



Joe Phillpott-Clark

Sat 09 May 2020

Sat 09 May 2020

Thu 23 Apr 2020

© 2022 The Information Lab Ltd. All rights reserved.