During my time as a Tableau user, I've had the good fortune of getting to know people all over the world. I tell my wife all the time, "we could travel to just about any city in the world and I would have somebody to have dinner with". And interestingly enough, every time I travel (for business or pleasure), I always wonder, "who from the datafam lives here? Who might want to grab dinner with me?" (Of course, most of this occurred pre-COVID).
Over time, I've found more and more reasons why I wanted to know where people were located geographically, even if I wasn't travelling. I've seen numerous occasions where new users or transplants wanted to connect with people in their local communities (even in more of a "remote" world that we are currently living in, this is important). Recently, Andrew Watson (from TAR Solutions) wanted the same thing and put out this tweet:
Unfortunately, there was not a huge response. I doubt because there aren't any Tableau users in North East England, but probably because they just didn't happen to see Andrew's tweet (thanks Andrew for letting me use this as an example).
Or recently, the Boston TUG starting trash talking the Cincinnati TUG (we all know that the Cincy TUG is better). That trash talking led into a sort of "viz quiz battle". My colleague, Jennifer Dawes, got involved, created a viz quiz, and wanted to share it on Twitter while calling out those Boston trash talkers (my words, not hers...ha). She asked me, "who in the datafam is from the Boston area?" I named several, but I missed a ton.
It seems that more and more often, I find interest in who lives where. I don't mean that I want to know the location of someone's home, but I want to know who lives in the area that I am traveling or I want to know who lives in Chicago so I can connect them with a new user that I've been mentoring. In general, I want to be able to do everything I can to help our community of Tableau users stay strong and connected. (See my Tableau Community blog post to learn more of why I think it is so important).
For this reason, I have developed the Datafam Finder. The Datafam Finder allows members of the Tableau community (the datafam) find other members in their area or any other area. First, members register their name and general information via a Google form. When I say general information, I am only requiring a name and simple latitude and longitude measurement for the city or a near city. For me, I used the latitude and longitude for Burlington, KY, not the exact latitude and longitude for my home. (And as one additional safeguard, I am rounding the coordinates as well.) From there, anybody can use this Tableau Public visualization to find datafam members in a particular area. Simply set the distance range on the left side then click anywhere on the map (even if no "mark" exists). The buffer will show the selected area within range and populate a list of datafam members in that range. Then click the "Download List" button to get people in Excel format. It's that simple.
During the registration process, you will be asked for your name, city, State / Province (if applicable), country, Twitter handle, LinkedIn link, as well as this "general" lat and long values. Name and lat/long are the only fields that are required.
I do want to be clear that some people are uncomfortable with providing this information. I completely understand and do not want anybody to feel guilted into providing information. This is completely voluntary and I've tried to only include information that is already readily available on someone's public social media accounts (like Twitter and LinkedIn). I do not want to pressure people into providing information they don't want to provide...I simply want to help connect people.
Anyway, my hope is that the Datafam Finder will help our Tableau community continue to grow in numbers and in strength of our personal connections. If you are interested, please check it out by clicking the image below. Thanks!
Kevin Flerlage, February 8, 2021