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Tableau Fringe Festival – Keep your eyes open

2018-01-04

What is the Tableau Fringe Festival?

Originally Emily Kund founded the Tableau Fringe Festival to provide a platform to @paulbanoub & other speakers who weren’t accepted at TC 15. Basically, this is a one-day virtual conference where some really awesome presenters from the community deliver great dataviz content to the community.

From the community, for the community

It was the first time that I got the amazing opportunity to speak at the Tableau Fringe Festival.

My topic was ’Keep your eyes open’

One of the reasons why data visualization is emerging as a powerful information force is in the crowded, intensely contested world of social media. Nowadays, everyone encounters visual information on a daily basis.

While most people in the U.S. and Europe get familiarized with graphs and charts during their secondary education, a minority of them continue to use this skill throughout their working life. Later on, the vast majority of these people become unaccustomed to the information that’s being conveyed in the charts.

If I can see it I shall believe it?

In the courtroom, in a meeting, in the supermarket but actually in every situation, visual imagery is often the primary weapon of choice for those who want to influence decision-making and change others’ minds.

In a number of contexts, such as in politics, in the media, in the pharmaceutical and the food industry where many people can be reached, this side of human nature can be taken advantage of. There is no problem with this until it is not used for misdirection.

White lies

The best example of this visual lie is our world map.

All maps are a lie, but they all lie about different parameters. Thus, the things that are chosen to be distorted in a map provide us with clear insight into human behavior.

The most commonly used map in the world is the Mercator map. This is the map that we see in our classrooms all over the world. “Most of us have grown up with this world image.” This is also the map that shapes our basic ideas of what our planet looks like. In fact, even Google Maps and Tableau use the Mercator map projection for mapping.

OK, but what is the problem with this?

One of the dangers of the Mercator map is that it can enlarge certain countries and, as a result, they seem unnaturally powerful and intimidating. Flat maps significantly distort the sizes of countries and continents, the result of converting a spherical surface to a handy rectangle. With the Mercator projection, the area of landmasses becomes increasingly exaggerated towards the poles.

That’s why Africa — sitting on the equator, reasonably undistorted — is left looking much smaller than it really is. In fact, Africa is HUGE. It is 14 times the size of Greenland or 3 times the size of North America despite the fact that in the Mercator map Greenland and North America look larger.

This was not a big problem for 16th-century sailors but it is thought-provoking why we still use this map despite many challenges to its fairness and accuracy. It’s because it underpins the persisting Anglo-Euro-American presumption that the world belongs to them, and pivots around these geocultural axes.

How does politics skew the data?

Do you remember the last American presidential election? Donald Trump’s campaign has posted more than 40 bar-chart graphics showing favorable poll results.

Notice anything strange? Let’s look closer!

If you didn’t get a chance to catch the live #TFF here is my and others’ session on Youtube Videos.

And what about you? Have you never lied? Really? Could you please open your CV!?

    

Hope you enjoyed it and please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions at all.

Tableau Fringe Festival is coming to EMEA on 9 March 2018!  

Are you interested in speaking? Don’t miss it and register for the next @thefringefest here: Application

 

@IvettAlexa

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Author

Ivett Kovács

I love taking datasets into beautiful and informative visualizations. Besides data, I am also very passionate about traveling, surfing, cooking and exploring the outdoors with my dog.

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