We’ve heard a lot about ‘Dashboard Week’ during our time with the Data School. It is spoken of in hushed, fearful tones through hidden corners by those that have battled before us. Well, our time has finally come…

Monday morning and our first challenge is to use an API to obtain a dataset from the NSW Transport Open Data API. After registering with them the next step was to create an API Application in order to obtain a personal API Key.

An initial obstacle was creating an application, since the website didn’t respond very well while using Google Chrome, and wasn’t particular thrilled with Microsoft Edge either. But with a little perseverance I was able to wrestle my two selections into my application; Live Traffic Hazards and Live Traffic Cameras.

I used my API Key in Alteryx –via cURL and the Download Tool— to acquire four Hazard datasets (Major Events, Roadworks, Alpine and Incidents) and one for Traffic Cameras. The Traffic Camera ended up having very few rows, so I made the decision to focus on Road Hazards for this project. I parsed, unioned and prepared the four datasets through Alteryx to make it easier to work with in Tableau. A new column was added called ‘Type’ to distinguished between then and unneeded or empty columns were excluded. Additionally, the Create Points Tool was use to generate a geographical field for visualisation in Tableau.

One element that I felt was a good learning experience during this process was need to convert 13 digits millisecond output into a usable date and time. This may be done using the following process;


Once in Tableau, I spent a little time grouping ‘like’ categories within fields and exploring the data. I created a range of charts, including a lollipop chart resembling street signs. When it came to the map, well, I’ve always liked the sharp contrast offered by a Dark Layered Map. However, when looking at data at a street level, it is not the most informative choice. So I built in a Parameter that switches between a dark contrast and street map to enjoy both!

For a secondary view, I also made a second Parameter to switch between a Start and End Time chart, and once the overall dashboard was completed I applied dashboard actions to employ interactive filtering between all the charts within the dashboard. The final stage was to polish it up by adding some informative tooltips.

All in all, a good start to the week!

Tamara Allcock
Author: Tamara Allcock

Tamara has an interesting background in veterinary science, data analytics and retail. She discovered her passion for analytics while working on a range of research projects involving Australian and exotic wildlife. She was excited to learn about the Data School and the opportunities it provided to develop this interest into a career path. It may be a common preference, but she thinks you can’t go wrong the variety of options a delicious pizza offers. In her spare time, Tamara is an avid reader and watcher of fantasy, science-fiction or assorted pop culture and also enjoys painting, craft projects and writing.