Summary: For the data viz nerds among us, I share my fascination with a groundbreaking data viz project at the 1900 Paris Exhibition.
In Tim Harford’s excellent book “The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics” the author mentions a set of infographics produced by W.E.B. Du Bois and assistants for the 1900 Paris Exhibition. The “Exhibition of American Negroes” is a powerful collection of photographs and data visualization that provide a strong counter to racist propaganda and ignorance of the time.
I encourage you to explore the entire contents of the exhibit, but in this post I’m going to highlight some of the data visualizations. You can browse the collection here, the charts are on the first two 100 entry grids.
Du Bois and his Atlanta University students made 63 hand-drawn diagrams. The data visualizations were created on presentation cardboard and conceived for a temporary installation at the fair. The original diagrams still exist and have been displayed in various museums.
The hand drawn nature of the charts makes them feel very personal and they tell their stories very well. I expect that the team was pushing the boundaries of data viz knowledge and technique of the time.
This multivariate diagram is one of my favorites
There are charts covering many aspects of African American life — professions, geography, income, property — and importantly showing change over time. This is a chart comparing marital status of African Americans to Germans. Why Germans? I’ll let you research that.
Measured against our current standards for data viz, we could make some criticisms about choices of shape and scale, but I don’t see any dishonesty. One of the design choices I found amusing was what to do when the bar size exceeded the available space. Wrap it!
I hope you find this bit of data viz history as fascinating as I do. I’ve provided some additional reading links below. Again, you can browse the collection at the Library of Congress. I’m curious to hear which visualizations you find most interesting and why.
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve joined forces with Motio, Inc, producers of the great DevOps tools Soterre and Gitoqlok. Motio has acquired my QSDA Pro product and I’m excited to combine our tools to provide a comprehensive platform for professional Qlik App development in Qlik Sense and Qlik SaaS. You can read the announcement here.
I will continue to lead the development of QSDA Pro, enhancing the product and bringing new superpowers to my customers in the integration with Soterre and Gitoqlok.
The QSDA Pro customer base is growing fast! To date hundreds of organizations have purchased QSDA Pro and are realizing the full benefits of the tool. More are joining every day and I’m excited to add Motio’s dedicated product support and admin teams to handle this growth.
You may have heard by now that the Qlik Luminary program has shifted to be more customer focused, which I think is good.
Those of us who were previously Qlik Luminaries are proud to have received the designation “Luminary Alumni” but some of us don’t go so quietly.
That is why we have formed the “Qlik Illuminati”, a shadowy cabal of former Luminaries.
As soon as this pandemic thing is over, we will be holding our first worldwide meeting in a secret ice cave or mountain bunker somewhere (If you have an ice cave or mountain bunker available for rent, please contact our events coordinator).
Do you doubt our power and influence? Ever wonder why you see Mike Tarallo only on the “green screen”? That’s because we abducted him andRalfdistilled Mike into pure code. MikeBot now reads our scripts! We let physical Mike go (we’re not brutes, we’re technicians) but an unfortunate side-effect of the distillation process is that Mike now seems unable to focus on a single topic for more than 60 seconds.
We have been incredibly successful in getting our “Q” symbol insinuated everywhere — in social media, signs at demonstrations, footage on the nightly news. Everywhere.
The “R” users think we’re crazy — they think they are the real deal. But we know that Q are the rational ones.
I bet you’re looking for a list of Q Illuminati members. Sorry I can’t share that with you. We are a shadowy organization. (Ralf, did I say Ralf? I meant Ralph! Oh well…)
Here’s an opportunity to fast track your Qlik team in using Qlik Sense APIs to create extensions, mashups, portal integrations and custom content pages that leverage data and visualizations from Qlik Sense.
In this four-day hands-on course you will learn:
Creating Visualization Extensions.
The differences and use cases for the various QS APIs e.g. Capability, Visualization, Engine.
Key QS API concepts such as the generic object model.
Connecting to the QIX engine to retrieve existing content or generate aggregations (hypercubes) on the fly.
Visualizing data using third party libraries.
Students will come away with example code and completed exercises giving them the confidence to move ahead on their own.
No prior experience with web programming is required as the course will provide an intro to web dev technologies and how they are used in Qlik Sense Web Development.
Even if you don’t have a specific project in mind, I recommend taking this course to understand the power and potential of the QS APIs. You’ll be surprised and inspired!
The instructor for this course is Rob Wunderlich, a well-known and respected Qlik Consultant and Trainer, Qlik Luminary and publisher of QlikCookbook.com. For more information on the course please contact email@example.com
I just wrapped up the week at Qonnections 2018. I found it to be an inspiring conference and the most positive I’ve attended in years.
What was inspiring? The cognitive insights demo was fantastic. This is the future of BI. We have well understood principles and algorithms recently formalized in the discipline of machine learning. Let’s incorporate them in the tool. If the goal of data visualization is to amplify cognition of data, then I would say cognitive insights is to visualization as visualization is to data.
On the technical front, the previews and demos of elastic cloud and Qlik Core provided me the “aha” moment to understand how the Qlik Big Data Index will be possible. I can see how many distributed indexing and aggregation engines can provide massively scalable access to a data lake.
The most exciting announcement to me wasn’t technical, but on the commercial side. For a “small uptick in maintenance”, QlikView users will be entitled to use the same license for Qlik Sense. To me this signals a new strategy for dealing with the two products going forward. There was also a roundtable discussion on feature gap between the two products and the announcement that some level of pixel-perfect control will be available in Qlik Sense.
Taken together with main stage comments from CEO Mike Capone and CTO Mike Potter, I’m seeing a needed correction to the “two product strategy” which so heavily favored Qlik Sense. No one expects QlikView to live forever, but loyal QlikView customers want to adopt a new product only when they see that it clearly benefits them. Ideally we will see a converging product that blends the best features and lessons learned from both products.
Are you going to Qonnections in Orlando April 23? I’ll be there and presenting three breakout sessions. In addition to checking in with colleagues and hearing about what’s new, here are some things I’m looking forward to:
Hearing from the new Leadership team
Learning more about subscription pricing
I’ll be presenting three technical breakout sessions.
148255 – Options and Levels for Qlik Sense Mashup Integration: Tuesday 10:30am – This session aims to introduce you to the possibilities for re-using Qlik Sense content and data in other applications such as web pages. We’ll cover the very simple “codeless” embedding using URLs all the way through data fetching and custom visualization using enigma.js. This session is suitable for technical and management staff who want to understand the potential in mashups and get a measure of the effort involved. My colleague Nick Webster will be joining me in this presentation.
148870 – Automated Testing of Qlik Applications: Tuesday 3:00pm – A favorite of mine, I’ll be discussing and demonstrating the free regression testing tools from Qlik that allow you to completely automate the QA testing of your Qlik — both Qlik Sense and QlikView — applications. I’ll also touch on some current trends in unit testing and operational monitoring.
148256 – QlikView Document Performance Tuning Using Document Analyzer: Thursday 9:30am – Document Analyzer (DA) is a popular free tool that can be used to examine and improve the performance of a QlikView document. In this session I’ll be showing the tool and my typical approach to improving the response time of a specific document. Admittedly, Document Analyzer has little documentation so consider this your DA training session. If you’ve never seen DA, Dalton Ruer, aka @QlikDork recently produced a DA intro video.
Other sessions I hope I can make it to: Nick Webster’s “Putting Qlik in a Mirror” – just for the wow factor; Göran Sander’s sessions on Butler SOS and SenseOps; Sessions on Qlik Core and View/Sense coexistence. Sadly I’m going to miss Speros Kokenes’ sessions because he’s scheduled at the same time as me.
I’ll also be hanging around in the Discovery Expo — look for the hat at the Masters Summit booth or elsewhere.
My wife Linda favors warm so we are heading south.
Through my experience with this site and the greater Qlik Community, I’ve been blessed to travel and make friends all over the world. So now I’m reaching out to that larger community with a question that has nothing to do to with Qlik or BI.
Should we spend two weeks in Southern Spain or one week in Spain and another in Morocco?
I’m expecting to hear from my Portuguese, Greek and other friends as well 😉
This past spring I enjoyed a glorious week of whitewater kayaking with Noah Weinstein at the incredible Otterbar Lodge on Northern California’s Salmon river.
Noah runs the Artists In Residence program at Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop in San Francisco. Autodesk is a long time big QlikView customer and the Pier 9 Workshop is a working lab that demonstrates and tests practical applications of Autodesk products.
During downtime at Otterbar Lodge, Noah introduced me to the work of sculptor Adrien Segel. Adrien sources data sets of observations from the natural world and transforms those data into beautiful, fascinating and challenging sculptures.
Adrien’s “Wind at Ravenswood Slough” project visualizes wind speed and direction over a 48 hour period at a single location. The Y-axis (vertical) represents time, the X-axis (length of the bars) represent speed — and here’s the advantage of a physical 3-D rendition — the Z-axis indicates wind direction.
Mount the finished sculpture at the site where the data was collected and you have a deep understanding and delightfully personal relationship with data. Brilliant!
Check out some of Adrien’s other projects like the Snow Water Equivalent Cabinet I found this dataset personally interesting because of my love of rivers and river seasons. Adrien takes a direct approach in mapping the data and the result is a functional, fascinating and intimate piece of furniture.
Join us at the free QDG event in SF on June 28 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. The easy to access location is 44 Montgomery, same building as Montgomery BART.
We’ve got a great lineup in store with David Freriks of Qlik talking about the latest big data strategies, Patrick Vinton of QlikMaps showing off some innovative GeoSpatial analytics, as well as community presenters Gerry Castellino and Rob Wunderlich covering data heirarchies and automated testing. The full program can be viewed here.