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Anirudh Somadas

Anirdudh Somadas - Developer at Infotopics | Apps for Tableau

Namaskaram!

I am Anirudh, one of the developers at the Infotopics | Apps for Tableau team. Almost a year and a half ago, I completed my master’s program in Geoinformation science and Earth observation from the University of Twente. My journey so far has been very interdisciplinary with multiple paradigms shifts in my academic and professional activities. It took a while for me to decide, identify and pursue my passion for the data.  Especially I am passionate about how “Important” and “strategic” data is for informed decision making.  That’s what brought me to Infotopics | Apps for Tableau. Here, my work mainly focuses on building and upgrading our data visualization tools.

Journey

I grew up in a small village in Kerala, India, right below the mountains. I spent most part of my life there, on our farm with my father, walking along the rivers and mountains. As my school, activities and everything was within my village, the only door to the outside world was a small computer with 128 MB ram and an Intel Pentium 3 processor (yes it was super slow), with a dial-up modem with a maximum speed of 10 kbps. From where I am coming, it must have cost a fortune for my dad to buy and maintain that setup, but he wanted me and my sister to have a wide-open eye towards the world, so he did everything he could. 

That access I got to the outside world through that small dial-up modem, got me a broader view of the world and brought me to the Netherlands three and a half years ago to do my Masters’ program.  During my journey so far I decided to expand expertise from one domain to multiple ones. Yes, the aim was to build an interdisciplinary profile so I studied and worked on wide range of topics like, geoinformatics, social science, computer science, glaciology etc. I was involved in research activities related to Remote Sensing, Human wellbeing, and ecosystem services.

However, at some point you find something you really enjoy doing, for me my work at Infotopics | Apps for Tableau is like that and I was sure it’s going to be like that after the first interview with Richard and Merlijn.  Here I get to wear multiple hats, thereby again expanding my level of exposure. 

Initial Days

It was quite challenging to move from non-profit research and work in a commercial aspect. So that was my first challenge, “To stop thinking like a researcher”. The remaining challenges were related to picking up the pace, which the team had helped me with a lot.

Maps always fascinate me, especially when you can interact with them,

My first assignment was a prototype extension, which generates isochrones on a map based on one simple question “How far I can travel from a location within a given time period”.

Prototype

The prototype extension enables you to click and add a point on the map, on submitting it generates travel time-based isochrones. You also get the option to choose single or a combination of travel modes.

Ischrones
Map features

Map-based form input

Spatial data or data with spatial attributes (coordinates) adds a lot more value to the business and decision-making processes. So my second assignment was a map-based form input in WriteBackExtreme, which lets you add location information to a field in your database, with just one click. This particular feature in the extensions comes in handy on many occasions.

First, you can easily add coordinates to the database with one click. Second, an inbuilt address lookup service lets you check the address of the selected location before proceeding to store it. The third assignment, yes, another map. This is a new visualization that is going to be a part of the ShowMeMore extension.  This spatial data visualization tool lets you visualize flows spatially, a very useful tool to get an overview of freight movements, etc in the field of logistics.

Maps are only a smaller portion of my work. What I am mostly working on at this moment is improving the user experience of two of our extensions: DrillDownTree and ShowMeMore.

 

Analytics pane

Together with the team, we added some cool new features to these extensions, interested in knowing more about it? Check out our What’s New overview!

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