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It's Iron Viz Season!

It's that time of year that all you Tableau Public Wizards (or Viz-ards) have been waiting for. Starting this month we will be kicking off our three big contests that feed into the Iron Viz at the Tableau Conference in Seattle in September.

For the uninitiated, Iron Viz is the ultimate battle of Tableau skills. Three challengers are selected based on contests help through Tableau Public. The challengers will face off head-to-head in a 20-minute viz battle in front of a live audience at the Tableau Conference. This event has continually been one of the favorite events of conference.

Last year, three contestants were chosen through a series of contests. Ryan Sleeper won our Elite 8 Viz Makeover contest by revamping an old Tableau Public 7 viz to look great in 8. Jim Wahl earned his spot in our Civic Data Challenge, by visualizing volunteerism in America. The last spot went to zen master Kelly Martin with her analysis of Game of Thrones tweets for our social media viz contest. The three challengers all entered viz stadium with impressive skills, but in the end it was Ryan who came out on top.

How do you get in on the glory? By entering the feeder contests, of course! There will be three feeder contests into Iron Viz, the first running in March, the second in May, and the third in July. This year, we want to make sure that everyone is prepared and has enough time to create the vizzes for the contests, so we are going to let you in on a couple of the themes ahead of time! Get excited! Here's what our contests will be this year:

Contest #1- Sports

Our first contest, which will be officially announced next Monday, March 10th, will have a Sports theme. You can visualize whatever sports-related data you want to. For our first contest, we will be bringing back last year's March Madness style bracket format. In this format, popularity matters, so create something viral and rack up those votes!

Contest #2- Quantified Self

Our second contest, which will take place in May, is all about YOU. We want you to use quantified self data to create a dashboard about you. Create a dashboard about your diet, exercise, sleep patterns, music listening habits, social media stats, or whatever you want to learn about yourself. If you aren't already tracking data about yourself here are a couple of tools you can use to start building your dataset:

  • Music tracking: Track what you listen to on your computer and mobile using Last.fm. You can have all your last.fm scrobbles automatically write to a Google spreadsheet using this IFTTT recipe.
  • Sleep tracking: You can track when you went to sleep, woke up, and the quality of your sleep using apps like Sleep Cycle on iOS and SleepBot on Android.
  • Anything tracking: Use Nicholas Feltron's new iOS app Reporter to track almost anything you want. The app prompts you at random times throughout your day with survey questions that you can customize yourself. It also automatically takes geolocations and ambient noise levels using sensors in your phone.

That's just a small sampling of tools that I personally use for self-tracking. An abundance of tools and ideas for quantified self are available through this guide by quantifiedself.com.

Contest #3- Surprise!

We aren't going to divulge the details of the third contest just yet. We wouldn't want to give away all of our secrets! We can tell you that Contest #3 will take place sometime around July.

Now that you know what's coming up, start thinking up viz ideas and hunting down those datasets! Keep an eye out for official contest announcements. I can't wait to see all the great dashboards the community comes up with!

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