John Mathis Wins the Fourth Annual Iron Viz Championship

The Iron Viz Championship is over, and the great John Mathis has been crowned our winner!

The Iron Viz Championship is over, and the great John Mathis has been crowned our winner!

This year, the competition leading to the Iron Viz Championship was exceptional. Floating dashboards, complex calculations, storypoints, custom images and a high level of visual best practices were seen in almost every entry. What's most impressive, besides the level of competitiveness, is the sheer volume of entries in our feeder contests that met that exceptionally high standard. If there's one thing that the Iron Viz and it's feeder contests show us, it is that the Tableau Community is growing; both in skill and size.

This year we were lucky to have Jonathan Trajkovic (our first foreign contestant!), Jeffrey Shaffer, and John Mathis join us on stage for the Iron Viz. They all made amazing visualizations but unfortunately, only one of them would take the long trip home with $2,000 and the title of Iron Viz Champion.

The data this year was a full Yelp archive of Las Vegas since 2004, containing detailed reviews on hotels, bars, casino’s and restaurants. The contestants all created fantastic visualizations to show off the data, but John Mathis stood out by taking a slightly different approach than the other two contestants.

Jonaathan Trajkovic took a very objective view of the data. His speed enabled him to create several different views and combine them into a set of three story points to illustrate a detailed analysis of the best and worst places to visit in Sin City. He even included ALT star characters to match up with Yelp's ubiquitous and well known star rating system.

Jeffrey Shaffer looked to answer a similar question but used different methods to do so. First, he filtered down to the Strip and focused on only restaurants. Then, he created a viz that show the distribution of different star ratings and made it easy to filter down to highly rated restaurants. As an added special, he even included a roulette viz that randomly suggested a top rated restaurant. The similarity of that chart to a donut chart likely didn't help him with Visual Analysis specialist, Judge Jock Mackinlay, but it was certainly a favorite with the crowd.

John Mathis took a slightly different approach to the YELP data. Consistent with his background in statistics, he evaluated the amount of confidence YELP users should have in their fellow reviewers. A visual highlight was his inclusion of a lollipop chart to illustrate how each reviewer deviated from the average review of a Las Vegas establishment. Ultimately, his use of visual best practices and simplicity won him the title.

Of course, all of our contestants created visualizations worthy of the crown. The disappointment is that we can't give the honor to them all, and that we can only bring so few of our community on stage to participate.

We'll be sure to post all of their vizes once we have a chance to upload them to Tableau Public.