Friday Fun with BI: Mapping my happy birthday worldwide with @tableau and @plusonesocial #crazycool


Last week on March 26th I had my birthday.  Well, just for fun I thought I would use Plus One Social to harvest all the tweets that included the keyword “happy birthday”.  After retrieving over 925,000 tweets.  Yes, you heard that correctly.  Over 925,000 tweets using the English spelling of “happy birthday”.


Is that crazy or what?  Look at the United Kingdom, they just love to tweet “happy birthday”.  Even down to Israel you see a lot of birthday wishes.  Actually, all over the world people are wishing happy birthday to others.  So cool.


Even by time of day is really interesting.  I’m on the west coast so I’m 3 hours from New York but a lot of tweets are international too.


You want to do this kind of social analysis in minutes using Tableau?  Just browse on over to and check out the Tableau Analyst Pack.  You’ll be a Master of the Social Media Universe too.

Enjoy, Patrick

PS:  Happy Birthday!

Population Change by Decade, 1910-2010


Decade-to-decade population change by county has varied greatly in the last century in many parts of the United States. For example, in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, much of eastern Texas saw population decline (signified on the maps by pink shading), but those areas have seen strong population growth since then (signified by green shading). Much of Appalachia, including parts of West Virginia, has seen cycles of population increase and decrease as well.

In the lower-right corner, you can play an animated series of these maps to see how the patterns change over time.


Enjoy, Patrick

Microsoft Announces Power BI for Office 365 at #WPC13


Big Data and self-service Business Intelligence are all the rage at the Microsoft 2013 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).  The big announcement to come out of the WPC is a suite of self-service Business Intelligence tools for Office 365 and Excel 2013 called Power BI. The suite of tools includes the following:

  • Power Pivot – rapid deployment of reporting data models.
  • Power View – enables interactive and dynamic visualization of data through charts and graphics.
  • Power Map (formerly “GeoFlow”) – a tool for rich visualization of geographical location data on a map.
  • Power Query (formerly “Data Explorer”) – enables the quick import of data into Excel for transformation, analyzing and reporting.

Working together, these tools further enhance Excel to be one of the best and easiest to use self-service Business Intelligence tools in the marketplace today.

With Power Pivot, users can quickly build reporting data models without having to understand the deep intricacies of building data warehouses or KPI cubes. Power Pivot does it all for the user with a just few clicks of the mouse. Love that!

Power Pivot

Similarly, Power View enables users to create rapid and quick visualizations of data using charts and graphs that are cohesively linked and tied together.

Power View

With the increased use of smartphones and GPS data, more and more data points are geographic location-centric. Want to plot counts and metrics against a map? Not a problem with Power Map. Select your Excel table, identify your latitude and longitudinal data (or address, city, state, zip) and let Power Map do the heavy lifting.

Power Map

Do you have organization data that needs to be transformed and manipulated? Or do you not have data at all to chart or map? Not a problem with Power Query, which enables you to do quick online searches for publicly available data sets to load into Excel for transforming, analyzing and/or reporting.

Power Query

To learn more about this great Microsoft Power BI Suite, go here:

If I was a FULL-TIME Data Scientist, this is what I would do. #excel #geoflow

GEOFLOW, Microsoft, Excel, Extended Results

For years, we have been helping customers get the most out of their data.  But one visualization that has always been tough without spending a ton of money is geo-spatial analysis.  Until now. Now you have a FREE add-on for Excel 2013 called GEOFLOW.

One of my rock-star developers, Gabriel, got a data set on Adult Family Homes in the Seattle area and created this in-depth analysis on the market and coverage.  In the past, it would have taken a lot of time and money to do this and he cranked this out in a few minutes.

GEOFLOW, Microsoft, Excel, Extended Results

As our generation ages, Adult Family Centers are an important asset to our country.  Gabriel used this data to find pockets of areas that are under-served and discovered market opportunities existing in those areas.  Fantastic!

I could play around with data and maps all day and get paid well for it!  But, you still have to have good formed data.  If you would like some assistance getting started with GEOFLOW, we would be happy to help.  Contact me and I’ll help you get started quickly.

Enjoy, Patrick

Microsoft GeoFlow in action. Taking it for a test run. #excel #geoflow


Microsoft recently released a beta of their GeoFlow add-on for Excel 2013.   It is a pretty amazing geo visualization tool.  I brought in a simple set of data from the U.S. Census on Washington State population by county and quickly put this together.

First and foremost, before you begin your mapping adventure, you need to make sure you have your data well-formed before starting.  I found that if you don’t have good column names in the data, then it uses whatever is there and you can’t really go back and change it without having to start over.


You can throw a chart of the data on top of the map.  Not really useful unless you are going to publish this image into a PowerPoint or Word document for publication.  I’m still trying find out where you can add labels to the top of a bar.



I think the neatest feature is if you have time series data.  Meaning, data with DATES, then you can use the play button and see your bars grow over time.  It is great from a presentation and maybe from a data scientist perspective.  I could see some of our marketing over time and how it lights up across the U.S.  Very interesting.

I look forward to seeing what else gets added before launch.  I, for one, am happy to see Microsoft putting out these FREE add-ons to Excel 2013.

If you would like help getting started with this tool for your analytical adventures, contact me and I would be happy to give you an assist.

Enjoy, Patrick

Microsoft GeoFlow Preview now available for download #excel #geoflow


We have been evaluating GeoFlow for a few months but now a much better version is available for download.  Go check it out at the following link.

Project codename “GeoFlow” Preview for Excel 2013 allows you to plot geographic and temporal data visually, analyze that data in 3D, and create interactive tours to share with others. This preview gives you an early look into the new features that provide 3D data visualization for Excel and a powerful method for people to look at information in new ways, enabling discoveries in data that might never be seen in traditional 2D tables and charts.