• garycollins24

This Beautiful World | My Positive Distraction from COVID-19

Hi, and welcome. Well, it is now October 2020, and what a year it has been so far! One that no one could have predicted, and where we are all having to navigate some truly challenging times.

When the world went into lockdown in mid March (seems so long ago now), like many others, my daily routine was thrown into disarray. As a distraction from all things COVID-19 related, I decided to focus on more Tableau learning. I did all the Tableau badges (thanks for the free resources Tableau) and caught up on many blogs and you tube videos I had saved.

It was also about this time that I watched the excellent webinar that Jonni Walker did on Mapbox, and I had participated in the March round of #Ironquest which was focused on maps. These 2 activities really sparked my interest in developing my skills in the mapping and visualisation capabilities of Tableau and other tools. I had seen so many amazing vizzes with maps and wondered how they were created, so this was the time to find out! I even entered #IronQuest twice on this round as I had lots of ideas buzzing about my head. I was also lucky enough to get my first #VOTD with a viz on Flytipping in London.

My #IronQuest entries that sparked my curiosity in learning more about Mapping Visualisations:

So, with the tailwind of #IronQuest and Jonni’s webinar, and while the worlds’ press was dominated by the messages of COVID-19, I decided to direct my energies into a personal mini project which I called “This Beautiful World" where I intended to step up my mapping knowledge and find some interesting topics to visualise in ways I had never done before, as well as finding out some more about this planet we get to live on. For me, it was all about escapism, experimenting and learning something new. I was a complete mapping newbie, and was excited to begin a new learning journey.

I have had a few people comment on the vizzes I have put onto Tableau Public/tweeted about, and asked how I have done some of the techniques, so I am going to do a series of blogs to go through what I wanted to learn in each of the vizzes, and then how I created them. Hopefully you will find some useful tips in this series that will help you on Tableau and data visualisation journey.

Here are the future blogs coming in this series, focusing on what I wanted to learn, and how I did it.


Blog 2 | Less is more... | Visualising the Volcanic Island of Tenerife

My learning objective | to learn how small changes to colour and detail can make your map POP!


Blog 3 | Learning the Impact of Long Shadows | Flam and Anchorage

My learning objective | How to give maps extra depth and feel with shadows.


Blog 4 | Visualising an Iconic Driving Road | From Kranjska Gora to Soca

My learning objective | How to visualise a detailed road on a map.


Blog 5 | Blending Maps into Background Colour | Protecting Our Global Heritage

Learning Objective | How to improve my design capability to mix maps with other types of visualisations to give a more seamless look.


Blog 6 | The Mapping of Terrain with LIDAR data | Salisbury Cathedral

Learning Objective: I had seen several vizzes created with a very unique style, I needed to learn it...I had no idea what they were called at the time.


Blog 7 | Using Highlighting Features in Mapbox | The Skyscrapers of Manhattan

Learning Objective | How to use conditional formatting in Mapbox to highlight buildings, and to create a viz with a ‘Fly By’ view of them.


I have had great fun over the last few months learning more about the great mapping tools and techniques that are available, and now I feel like I have lots more visualisation options up my sleeve. I am by no means an expert in this space, but definitely feel more confident than I did, and I am continuing to learn.

Thanks for reading, and see you next blog, when I will talk about how small changes to colour and detail can make your map POP, by going through my viz of Tenerife – see you then!