Meet Portage: Navigating Spatial Data Visualization
The world of Data Visualization is a vast and varied beast. For every piece of data you name, there is likely two or twelve or twenty-three ways in which it and its cohorts may be visualized...and potentially even more software programs to aide you on your quest to visually vibrant data.
This is no different for spatially-sound data. Typically, in the GIS world, we visualize our data with the help of Esri's ArcGIS platform. Spatial data and mapping software go together like peanut butter and jelly, after all. However, there are organizations who wish to get the most out of their data, find every which way to make it visually stunning, and try out different software programs in the process. One of our favorite pieces of software that fits all of the above? Tableau.
What is Tableau?
Tableau is a powerful platform of applications that facilitates interactions with and visualization of data. Hoards and hoards of data. Working with hundreds of data sources, Tableau allows for its customers to quickly and easily view their data in interactive visualizations and dashboards, producing infographics, discerning metrics, and doing almost anything their data-doting heart desires.
ArcGIS to Tableau or Tableau to ArcGIS
"Well, I thought I was here to meet Integrated Portage," I hear you mutter over there. Yes, you are correct.
Integrated Portage provides tools for sharing data between ArcGIS and Tableau -- giving you the best of both worlds. It allows you to reap the benefits of advanced spatial analyses combined with high-quality visualizations.
Deployed as an Add-In for ArcGIS, this solution features tools specific to common GIS formats -- such as Feature Classes and Layer Files -- as well as import and export formats typically found in Tableau, like Microsoft Access Databases (MDB) and Tableau Data Extracts (TDE). The latest release of Tableau automatically supports the import of Shapefiles, but we all know that all files are not created equally...and Shapefiles are not always the preferred form of spatial storage. With this approach, data can be shared round-trip from ArcGIS to Tableau and from Tableau to ArcGIS.
Integrated Portage offers full support for these GIS formats among others, quickly exporting them directly into high performance Tableau Data Extract (TDE) files. Features may be exported as complete geometries or as simple points, customized to include select columns, queries applied on the fly, and workflows automated by including the Integrated Portage tools in Model Builder.
We realize that having your cake and eating is too is not always the end-game -- Sometimes you want ice cream with that cake. We get it! Because of this, we have ensured that Integrated Portage is backwards compatible. Not only can you get your spatial data into Tableau, you can also get your Tableau data into more spatially aware programs (hint hint, ArcGIS).
This solution allows Tableau-specific exports to be transformed into GIS datasets without relying on manual data conversion and georeferencing. Build Tables and Feature Classes directly from Tableau Worksheet exports without having to define data data models of column types, or having to perform data conversions.
With the help of this Add-In, navigating the waters of visualizing spatial data just got a bit easier!