Building a Washington, D.C. Museum Crawl with Tableau

Data

Building a Washington, D.C. Museum Crawl with Tableau

Washington, D.C. is packed with incredible places to visit. As someone who didn’t grow up near the U.S. capital, I am constantly amazed during each visit by the access to museums, culture and history I could only read about while growing up in Colorado.

The trouble with having so many amazing sights to visit is trying to choose which to see first. A few weeks ago, I decided to try and map out all the major museums in D.C., as well as provide information on when they were open to build a quasi-trip planner. For a self-proclaimed history nerd and data geek, the chance to try and answer this question using Tableau proved irresistible.

Building the Data Set

After researching, I found a few websites that offered lists of museums in D.C., but none provided an all-inclusive list of the information I was looking for. I also ran into the fun difficulty of trying to decide what constitutes a museum. In the end, I settled on crowdsourcing the definition with help from Wikipedia. The Wikipedia page listed 77 of the more popular museums and I added a few of my own as well.

Washington DC Museum Tableau viz dashboard

Above: My Washington, D.C. dashboard.

After a simple copy, paste and basic cleaning, I had my list of museums, but I still didn’t have information on exact geolocations, visiting times and official websites. Fortunately, I knew of a source that had these values all in one place: Google Maps.

When you look up a specific location on Google Maps, Google helpfully provides the opening and closing times for that institution. Plus, if you look at the first half of the URL, you can find the exact latitude and longitude coordinates for that specific address.

Unfortunately, I am a novice programmer at best. What followed was a long process of googling every location, manually inputting the hours into an Excel file, copying the websites and URLs, and then extracting the latitude and longitude values.

Thankfully, I use Excel 2016, so Flash Fill helped automatically retrieve the correct numbers from the long URLs. I am 99% confident this data is easily accessible via the Google Maps APIs. After I wrap my brain around more APIs, I’ll have a much more elegant way of handling this. However, it did give me a chance to work while listening to my backlog of podcasts, such as Silver Linings

Visualizing the Data in Tableau

Once I had my Excel file set up, I connected it to Tableau to build my dashboard. Rather than creating everything using dropdown filters, I opted to use dashboard actions and icons to do the high-level filtering on museum types. This required putting together a quick, custom shape palette, but in the end I really liked the simplicity and visual cues they provided.

There were a few more complex calculations that allowed for the dynamic, parameter-driven Is Open flag, as well properly formatting the Open and Close time labels. Overall, having control over the data set from the beginning allowed for a relatively smooth development process, resulting in a fun and interactive way to explore the museum offerings of Washington, D.C. You can see my final viz below. I hope you enjoy!

 

More About the Author

Ben Young

Solutions Lead
Questions from Tableau Training: Moving Column Headers to the Top of the View “Tableau is an Excel complement, not an Excel replacement.” Whenever I teach a training class, I make this point multiple times ...
How to Create Bins on a Histogram in Tableau (Note: This post is an expanded version of an article I originally posted on the Tableau Community Forums prior to joining InterWorks.) ...

See more from this author →

Subscribe to our newsletter

  • I understand that InterWorks will use the data provided for the purpose of communication and the administration my request. InterWorks will never disclose or sell any personal data except where required to do so by law. Finally, I understand that future communications related topics and events may be sent from InterWorks, but I can opt-out at any time.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

InterWorks uses cookies to allow us to better understand how the site is used. By continuing to use this site, you consent to this policy. Review Policy OK

×

Interworks GmbH
Ratinger Straße 9
40213 Düsseldorf
Germany
Geschäftsführer: Mel Stephenson

Kontaktaufnahme: markus@interworks.eu
Telefon: +49 (0)211 5408 5301

Amtsgericht Düsseldorf HRB 79752
UstldNr: DE 313 353 072