Today marks the first day of DS14’s dashboard week which brought us a rather interesting dataset – UFO sightings across the world (courtesy of Nick and Lily).

The requirements for the week:
– work independently
– must finish everything by 5pm
– present what you created on the following morning
– no complaining

So here is how I approached the task and what I created

Downloading the data

To actually get the dataset, we needed to scrape the National UFO Reporting Center’s Online Database. This was fairly straightforward: after connecting to NUFORC’s main page, I parsed the downloaded data to get a list of links, each pointing to a table of UFO sightings for each year and month between 1954 and 2019. I used some regex here to get the actual information contained in the tables and cleaned my data a bit.

My worklfow to download and clean the data

Building the dashboard

After cleaning the dataset, I loaded it in Tableau and started exploring it. There was data on the sightings’ location and duration, however, these were rather messy so I decided to focus on the UK only and not look at how long each sighting lasted. Instead, I wanted to see what days of the week and what time of the day most UFOs were reported so I created a heatmap.

Interestingly, most sightings occur on the weekend

I also wanted to look at which shapes were reported the most often (lights) and where (London – however, I did not normalise the data for population due to the time constraint). Eventually, I ended up creating this dashboard:

Looking forward to day 2!