As we enter another month of Iron Quest, I first want to congratulate all previous participants who recently entered an Iron Viz feeder for the first time!

Iron viz isn’t easy and often people feel uneasy about entering a competition of this scale. Despite this, I know many people ‘took the plunge’ this year which is fantastic. There were an incredible 371 Iron Viz entries for the single global “Health and Wellbeing” feeder this year (compared to a total of 294 entries across the three global feeders in 2019). I am fortunate to be an Iron Viz first-round judge this year and I must say, it’s no easy task! It fascinating for me to see the diversity in approaches to the topic, ideas, analysis and the application of Tableau Desktop features. It’s also refreshing to see more entries by authors from different countries around the world. Best of luck to everyone who entered!

The Theme

A few weeks ago I asked the #datafam on Twitter what topic people would like to visualise for the next round of #IronQuest. There were a diverse range of responses which included happiness, comics, space and science. However, the suggestion from Mark Bradbourne of ‘Folklore, Myths and Legends’ stood out as the most popular by a significant margin. Given that folklore and legends are essentially popular myths, stories or beliefs, they would be included under a ‘myths’ theme. I’m therefore excited to announce this month’s’ #IronQuest theme; ‘Myths, Mystery and Magic’.

If you need of some inspiration to help you, read on.

Whilst trying to come up with ideas that fit the theme, I thought of several potential topics including;

  • UFO sightings
  • Harry Potter
  • Game of Thrones
  • Superheros
  • Folktales
  • Conspiracy Theories
  • Ghosts / the Paranormal
  • Unsolved Mysteries
  • Famous Magicians
  • Greek Mythology
  • Famous Legends
  • Witchcraft & Spells
  • Debunking myths with data

However, this is by no means an extensive list. The possibilities are endless!

Below are some vizzes on topics which fit the theme, just to inspire you. Click on any of the vizzes to view them in full.

First up is viz by Adam Crahen:

In this viz, Adam mapped the location of reported UFO sightings in the United States, as well as looking at the time of day or months they are most commonly sighted.

I have a suspicion that this month’s’ theme will attract many Harry Potter and Game of Thrones fans. Therefore, I thought it was only right to include a Game of Thrones viz by Pablo Gomez:

In this viz, Pablo visualised the number of killings by location at killer, focusing on the characters who killed the most (who just so happen to be women).

I’m sure we’ll see some Bigfoot / Sasquatch vizzes submitted in this round. Here’s one I found by Kate Schaub for inspiration:

In this viz, Kate used the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organisation dataset to visualise the location of Bigfoot sightings across the United States.

I would love to see some vizzes that debunk common misconceptions. A great example of this is the famous ‘Snake Oil Supplements’ visualisation by David McCandless (Information is Beautiful):

This eye-catching viz shows the so-called health benefits of many well-known supplements and strength of the evidence to support these benefits.

Finally, this visualisation by Jillian Coelho shows 100 of the most popular conspiracy theories split into five categories; the date the theory started, the credibility, the type of theory, the current status, and Jillian’s on opinion on each theory:

How do I enter?

The process is simple:

  • Source your data and build a viz that somehow touches upon the chosen theme for the month.
  • Upload your viz to Tableau Public or somewhere where it can be openly viewed online.
  • Fill in the submissions tracker (embedded at the bottom of this post) so we can keep track of who is participating. This step is essential if you want to request feedback or be credited in the wrap-up blog post.
  • If you opted in for feedback in step 3, the guest judge and myself will provide some constructive feedback on your viz after the submission period closes.

Top Tips

  • You can use any data set which fits the theme (assuming you have permission to share it publicly).
  • Always remember to credit your data source/s on your viz.
  • Refrain from using any images or logos on your viz unless you have permission to do so.
  • Remember the Iron Viz judging criteria and try to focus on all three; Design, Storytelling and Analysis.
  • Think outside the box!

Who is my guest judge?

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be teaming up with Sam Parsons this month!


Sam is a Lead Data Visualisation Developer at Dyson Technology Limited, based in the UK. He is passionate about data design, building data communities and feedback. He co-leads the South West England Tableau User Group and has recently started a new initiative for community feedback, #datafamfeedback. Sam is part of the #MentoringMeetup program and enjoys spending his own time to think about data design and uses Tableau Public to practice his skills. Sam writes about design principles on his blog; reflectionsindesign.com.

Sam has an impressive Tableau Public portfolio with vizzes like ‘The Golden Record’ and ‘The Full History of the Six Nations’.

When is the submission deadline?

The deadline for submissions is midnight PST on Sunday 6th September 2020 extended until midnight PST on Monday 7th September. Feedback will be provided (to those who request it) by Sam and I shortly after the deadline date.

Please note, if we receive a large number of feedback requests (more than we can cover in a two hours), we’ll prioritise those from Tableau beginners or those entering #IronQuest for the first time for the feedback recording. Any remaining feedback will be shared with authors via email.

Continue the conversation and connect with other participants by following the #IronQuest hashtag on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing your entry!

*Cover photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash.

Submissions Tracker