Tableau launches new COVID-19 global data tracker

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The product aims to help businesses as well as governments.

Tableau this week announced the launch of its new COVID-19 Data Hub and global tracker. The platform offers users a data visualization dashboard for cases and deaths. It also shows trends such as infection rates, testing and vaccination rates. The platform can also be used for contact tracing and testing eligibility. It even shows the economic impact of the pandemic, according to the company.

This data tracker aims to give governments, businesses, humanitarian groups and other organizations in-depth visualization into publicly available COVID-19 data. It will then process and display the data in a way that will allows customers to understand the situation and make effective decisions.

Gaining an understanding from many nuanced factors

Jeremy Blaney, Tableau’s director of Global COVID-19 Data Hub and project manager, announced the unveiling in a blog post. “With the gradual rollout of vaccines, the coronavirus pandemic has entered a new phase,” he wrote.

“Yet progress cannot be measured simply by tracking the number of vaccinations. In order to make the right decisions on the path to recovery, it’s critical we have a more nuanced understanding of the factors related to the spread of the disease.”

For the past year, the focus of most trackers has been cases and deaths, says Blaney. Vaccination trackers have begun to proliferate. But he maintains that data on such things as new tests administered, positive test rates and contact tracing are just as important. We also need to look at what containment and public health policies are in force. All of these, he notes, vary by region and change frequently. 

How the hub gathers data

First, all data sources are mapped to a canonical data model, which was developed in partnership with Tableau teammates from Salesforce and MuleSoft. Then, anomalies like incorrect or missing country ISO codes are addressed. Finally, the team automated the running of this flow through Tableau Prep Conductor, available as part of the company’s Data Management add-on.

“Early on in the pandemic we realized you can’t let perfect be the enemy of good,” Blaney observes. “In fact, visualizing what’s there as well as calling out what’s not there has helped data source providers identify areas for improvement.”