Category Archives: Tableau

Fragile States Index 2016

The Fragile States Index 2016 was just mentioned on beBee and I saw a nice dataset to visualize in Tableau. Here is the original high resolution image:


And here is the image that resulted from my very simple import of the data into a Tableau workbook:


The states of the Mideast, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa have been an interest of mine for the past several years. Here’s a nit with Tableau, but it’s probably a deficit on my part – the only way I could make Syria visible would be to suppress the appearance of Lebanon. Tableau also treats Western Sahara as Terra Nullius, when it’s an ongoing problem between Morocco which administers it and Algeria which hosts many refugees.


Here are the grimmest of the grim, seven states with fragility scores in excess of 110. Iraq is one bad summer away from joining them.


I’ve made a copy of the Fragile States 2016 workbook available. I really should start pulling in other data, but what I want here would be food and water security information, and that’s often scattered and dated.

EU GDP, Countries & Cities

Here are the European Union’s countries and their respective GDPs.



Here are the top twenty metro areas and their GDPs.



France, Spain, and the U.K. each have a capital city that makes up 15% to 20% of their GDP. Germany, with an economy 30% larger than the next biggest country, has no specific economic center. Can you envision why that might be?


Here are the top four German cities.


And here is a map of Germany in 1946, during the Allied Occupation. Germany was utterly ruined by World War II, then rebuilt as four separate areas.


Occupation Germany.png


The phrase Deutschland über alles is commonly associated with Nazi Germany’s conquest of Europe, but it has much older roots. The German Unification in 1871 finished a century long process of melding 300 principalities into a single nation.



The U.K.’s decision to leave the European union has rocked financial markets, despite the fact that they retained the Pound Sterling rather than switching to the Euro. There are serious political implications as well; the U.K. has almost always been first aboard when the United States is in the mood for an adventure. The U.K. will be less able to herd the rest of Europe into line behind them.


Germany’s unification in 1871 preceded a series of six realignments among Europe’s powers … which left them in a configuration that only needed a spark in Sarajevo to set World War I in motion. The idea that there might be a ground war in Europe, beyond the Cold War turning hot, was considered far fetched, at least until the breakup of the Soviet Union provided the preconditions for the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

The U.K.’s recent decision will not lead to armed conflict in Europe; the U.N. Security Council is very good at thwarting such things. It will lead to significant changes in the Mideast, as conflict averse France makes gains, while warlike (but war weary) U.S. contemplates a world where its facilitator in chief no longer has a seat at the EU table.

European Imperial Network 1872-1907

European Imperial Network 1872-1907


Crypto-Assets Report 2016-06-17

The major news this week is the $50 million heist from The DAO. Due to value fluctuation our charts only show a $39 million loss. The Tableau Workbook is available as CryptoAssets-2016-06-17.


Here are the six crypto-assets platforms, in order by decreasing market capitalization with their own tag lines.

Ethereum – Blockchain application platform

OmniLayer – Open-source, fully-decentralized asset platform on the Bitcoin blockchain

Counterparty – Platform for free and open financial tools on the Bitcoin network

Nxt – Advanced blockchain platform

BitShares – Your share in the Decentralized Exchange

NuBits – The World’s Best Stable Digital Currencies


Sorry this is so short, it’s been a long week, and I have to get my head around the robbery of The DAO. I may update this later in the weekend.

Crypto-Assets Report 2016-06-10

As I hinted in Crypto-Asset Market Capitalization, I’m going to be producing a weekly infographic each Friday based asset values listed on CoinMarketCap. Once I get a better grip on what is happening we’ll delve into the particulars of the six platforms in use by the fifty nine markets. This was produced used Tableau and the CryptoAssets-2016-06-10 workbook is available for you to download.


Here are those six platforms, in order by decreasing market capitalization with their own tag lines.

Ethereum – Blockchain application platform

OmniLayer – Open-source, fully-decentralized asset platform on the Bitcoin blockchain

Counterparty – Platform for free and open financial tools on the Bitcoin network

Nxt – Advanced blockchain platform

BitShares – Your share in the Decentralized Exchange

NuBits – The World’s Best Stable Digital Currencies

Four of the fifty nine crypto-assets do not use any of the six blockchain based platforms employed by the others and there is no information available on their value. Given that there are six solutions that provide the foundation for fifty five assets, that is more than enough diversity to cover whatever those fringe players were attempting. Life is short; we’re going to ignore them unless they do something press worthy.


Thanks to the explosion of interest in TheDAO, Ethereum’s 76% of the total crypto-assets market capitalization equals Bitcoin’s dominance in the overall cryptocurrency market. The two Bitcoin based systems command 17%, leaving just 1.9% of the notional value to Nxt based systems.

But here’s another view that matters:


Nxt has the smallest overall market capitalization visible in our pie chart, but twenty eight of the fifty five assets we’re watching are based on it. Knowing nothing beyond what can be discerned from these charts, it’s a reasonable guess that Nxt is a rich development environment, and we may see some of those assets jump to the newly energized Ethereum bandwagon.

BitShares, with eight assets but only about $1m in market capitalization, appears to be a set of proxies for fiat currencies and the larger cryptocurrencies. NuBits stands alone.

One of the untraceable offerings, TRMB, is a Chinese effort responsible for 39% of today’s liquidity. Ignoring this non-blockchain crypto-asset, the two that are Ethereum based move at a volume four times greater than the the rest of the assets combined. I’m not here to egg on day traders, but liquidity does matter a bit, so I need to do something to recognize it. That’ll be a programming change between now and next Friday’s report.


So there you have it, the adventure has begun. If there is a specific question you want answered or a specific visualization you’d like to see, contact me on LinkedIn and I’ll try to accommodate you.

East Baltic Russian Influence

There is a lot of chatter on LinkedIn about a brigade strength U.S. four battalion NATO force making the rounds in the East Baltic NATO countries – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Why they are so concerned about Russia after the seizure of Crimea might be a little more clear with an infographic.

First, something I made with Tableau. Sorry for potato layout, this is a new package for me and I can’t figure out how to get the percentage of Russian population to land anywhere but on top of the country names. The little green snippet is the Russian exclave of the Kaliningrad Oblast, obtained via ethnic cleansing after World War II. Two million Germans fled and the 300,000 that remained were gulag’d.


Here’s a much modified Cold War era map with some pie charts that are no longer quite accurate, but they give a good sense of details I couldn’t work into the Tableau workbook.



Finland, Poland, and Sweden are all taking measures of their own, calling up troops for exercises, making a public show of solidarity, or in the case of Sweden, spooning with NATO despite long time neutrality.

Welcome to Cold War 2.0, now with added heat. You heard it hear first, folks …


Bonus: more tuberous Tableau goodness from my NATO & Russia Military Expenditures & Troops workbook. First number is military budget in millions, then count of personnel. The Baltic NATO members don’t have the air power to stop a reindeer stampede.



Tableau: Benefits & Limitations

During the first four months of this year I was in Indiana’s IVMOOC. I was very excited to find that we were using Sci2, an open source workbench that integrates a variety of other open source data visualization tools. Sci2 was complimented with InkScape, a free alternative to Adobe’s Illustrator. I’ve still got both books from the course on my desk, a reminder that I intend to revisit the course contents on my own.

But then we touched on Tableau. The company’s one line self description is concise:

We help people see and understand their data.

Education on FOSS tools can be uneven. Tableau provides a rich learning environment. There are …

Then I landed an academic version of the software, thanks to this unusual consulting arrangement I have, and that saved me $999. I’m free to tinker with Tableau as much as I want.

The second thing I did after the California power map was a global map of NATO spending vs. Russia. And then I found a couple puzzles I don’t know how to solve.


The first number is military expenditure in millions, the second is total military headcount. I have numbers for Turkey. What isn’t Turkey visible? OK, proximity to Italy, but what about Russia? There is no excuse for that red dot to not have a proper legend. I could have done a total for NATO and placed it in the Central African Republic with a different color code, but it seems like there should be an easier way to do that.

Then I zoomed in …


Now we can see all the NATO countries and their contributions, as well as Belarus and Ukraine. There isn’t any decent way to move the red dot for Russia where it can be seen. Overall the map will be frustrating to anyone who has used Google Maps or Mapbox – it zooms in, it zooms out, it shifts focus to a double click. There is no other way to steer it, so you end up doing a drunken wobble, back and forth, changing focus point and zoom, trying to get what other packages will do with a single mouse movement.


What I like about Tableau is that, in addition to producing nice charts, graphs, and maps, it also looks great on a resume all on its own. I need to spend time on this, the same sort of time I’ve spent with Maltego and Gephi. I need to either investigate InkScape a little closer, but it was a bit clumsy, the way some Linux ports to OSX feel, or just suck it up and pay for Adobe Illustrator.