Dashboard Day 2

For the second day of Dashboard Week we were tasked with accessing the Global Fire Dataset from Nasa. This dataset contains information on fires globally since 2000. It includes longitude and latitude location data for physical heat and fire sensors as well as date, time readings plus a number of metrics to indicate strength and intensity of the fire reading.

I looked up the top 5 fires of the 20th Century on wikipedia and decided to compare a number of the top 5. There wasn’t any data for the 2023 Canadian Fires and I wasn’t sure about the distinction between Siberia and Russia so decided to pick the 3 highlighted fires.

Here’s how I approached the challenge.


The first step was to download the relevant years for each countries dataset.

I soon realised there might be some more insights by comparing each country across a 5 year scale so that these can be visualized with a heat map and (hopefully) the areas of the major fires could be seen.

Because the Australian fires occurred over our summer which is across 2 calendar years I had to group them via seasons. I then unioned all the files together, extracted the date and made a flag to indicate if the current row level reading occurred in the year of the major bushfire.

Here’s a pic of the Alteryx Workflow I made to achieve this:


After working on the data it was time to build the dashboard.

I played around with a few ideas before deciding on having an animation play via the pages function. Using a heat map and having the user select one of the fire metrics, the pages function shows the change over the years preceding the major fire to provide some context and baseline for ‘normal’ fire activity.  Then the slideshow would cycle through the years and a flag made in the data would reveal when the year of the major fire occurred.

I added an extra bar chart to visualize the metrics in a different way which enables comparison across 5 years before the major fire in each of the countries.

Here’s an overview of the final result.

Tim Fawcett
Author: Tim Fawcett