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Holiday tinkering – R & Tableau – #1

Over the holidays I’ve decided that I should try and teach myself something new.  I rather like data visualisation and also have an interest in maps, so I went looking for something to bring together these two areas.  Down the track I might rue not having an actual question to answer , but after listening to a podcast with Ben Wellington from I Quant NY who described how he sometimes started without a specific goal in mind, I might be ok…

My starting point is the PSMA Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF) dataset which contains more than 13 million Australian physical address records including latitude and longitude map coordinates.  My initial aim is to create a subset of the data in my local area (Hornsby NSW 2077, so I can add context by proximity & familiarity) using both R and Tableau.

Using some of the scripts that come with the data as a guide I manage to load the address data to a MYSQL database on an old home NAS.  I then create a view with a subset of fields which might let me add some colour to the initial plots.  For now I extract some data in a semicolon delimited text file based on a subset of postcodes in my local area. (I should look to connect directly to the data at a later stage.)

First Plots

First plots were in R, using both Google Maps and Open Street Map (OSM) and colouring by suburb.

R plot 1 – Google Maps R plot 1 – OSM

While the Google Maps are more familiar to me, I couldn’t work out how to enlarge the area to include all of the data points (without just having a much larger square) – the zoom function is a bit course.  The area for the OSM map however could be specified by minimum and maximum latitude and longitude resulting in a map that contained all the data points for these postcodes.

What’s next?

There are a couple of things which I’d like to look at next:

  • Does the G-NAF dataset have any interesting features (aside from having every address in the country) I can investigate
  • What other data sets can I start to merge in to add more insight? e.g. can I get shape files that describe the boundaries between suburbs?

If you’ve any suggestions please let me know!

From the Obelisk in Newcastle

During the school holidays we managed to get a weekend in Newcastle with two of the kids.  We did a lot of walking, some bike riding and managed to find a couple of great places to eat.

From Newcastle's Obelisk by David Ferguson.

360 degree view from the Obelisk in Newcastle

One of the walks took us up to The Obelisk, one of Newcastle’s highest points.  On the day we were there we saw a couple of shows running past offshore with some bright sunlight inland, as always there was activity on the Harbour.

Of the places to eat, we loved Blue Door and returned a couple of times (even visiting their kiosk at Merewether). More shots in their Instagram feed


We also really liked the food at One Two Seven on Darby Street where we sheltered from the rain on a Sunday afternoon. The food was lovely and there were lots of shops to step in and out of the rain as we wandered back to the hotel.

We also visited the Newcastle Museum which had a lovely photography exhibition called ‘The way we see’ exploring ways to empower young women’s self identity and resilience.

Based on this weekend’s experience, I think we’ll be heading back to Newcastle one day to do some more exploring.

img_9851-1 by .

More Moonpar

Here’s some more photos from our stay in Moonpar. 

Heading down to the Nymboida River  
A quick swim 

Liv trying to find the biggest possible stick for Boof 

 Late afternoon back at the house 
 Herding the cows 
Climbing on the tractor  
Finally a composite shot to try and give you a feeling of the afternoon light during ‘golden hour’. It was lovely and peaceful under the giant trees.  

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