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Engine Works Blog

Under the hood of Alteryx: tips, tricks and how-tos.
Creative Director
Creative Director

Last summer I went to a fundraiser for a little farm sanctuary in my hometown. I learned of the sanctuary through a Facebook group and participated in the initial work days and attended their volunteer orientation a few weeks prior. I was really excited that a farm sanctuary opened in my town and that it not only offered the opportunity to save neglected animals from their abusers, keeping them out of slaughterhouses and off of dinner plates, it also offered the opportunity to be around these creatures, and to get to know the dedicated and compassionate humans that are committed to making sure these castaways have a meaningful life with no suffering.

 

LA_Heart_Logo_Medium.pngI introduced myself to Shaleen Shah, co-founder of Luvin Arms - a kind and soft spoken man who thanked me for my support. I told him to let me know if there was anything I could help with – specifically if he had any need for data analytics. His eyes lit up as I described Alteryx, the software. He asked all the right questions and before too long my excitement describing Alteryx the company and then gushing about Alteryx For Good had me racing home to wrangle the data for the use case he described.  Shaleen said how in just 12 short months they had outgrown their first home and were looking to purchase land to expand their sanctuary so they could save more animals, do more outreach and build permanent structures. I love building Alteryx workflows. I love working for Alteryx. I cannot begin to describe how much I loved doing this project for Luvin Arms. Their use case was so simple, yet without software – so overwhelming.

 

 

datasets.pngAs it turned out, the Boulder County, Colorado website had all the data he needed, but it was in many csv files. There were a number of codes mapped to a catalog in a pdf with land zoning rules. He was only interested in parcels that were > 20 acres and zoned Agricultural, Industrial, or Commercial. He needed to know if the land was vacant, if it allowed outbuildings and if they already included permanent structures. To complicate matters, in this preliminary stage of discovery, their preference area was a moving target. My smile grew larger with each data challenge Shaleen described and I couldn’t wait to get started.

 

The first thing I did was download the Parcel Data. Parcels were in a SHP file that I quickly read into Alteryx, filtered out the parcels <20 acres and immediately saved them off into yxdb format, because yxdb format.

 

 shpfile.png

 

Now, I’m a spatial person. So before I even messed with any of the other data, I wanted to see what we were working with and knowing Shaleen really wouldn’t consider property west of Highway 36 (mountain land and Boulder proper$$), I needed an easy, modifiable way to change the area of consideration. The Map Input tool was perfect for this process! I was able to display the parcel yxdb along with a base map and could draw a simple polygon to indicate the area we were interested in. Even better, I could change this polygon on the fly, and zoom around until we pared the area down.

 

 afg_mapinput.gifThe Map Input tool in action!

An easy Spatial Match with this simple polygon returns all the parcels that intersect it.

 

 

After I downloaded all the CSV files, all it really took were a series of joins to make sure the data aligned. Boulder County did a great job documenting the data relationships of their files. I made a pdf map of all the parcels that met Shaleen’s criteria – adding in the existing Luvin Arms location and logo for good measure. The whole process took about 20 minutes to build, plus another 20 minutes to fine tune the map. The demo I did for Shaleen took twice that only because he was asking a lot of questions about Alteryx and what Alteryx can do. He signed up for an AFG license and built his own Luvin Arms Farm Sanctuary land finder!

Map_Parcels_byLandType.png

 

Luvin Arms wound up expanding their search into adjacent Weld County where they were able to purchase 40 acres. The new sanctuary will eventually house a community/education center, a garden, medical and quarantine barns, a bird barn and duck pond, many animal runs and pastures, an events venue and more! 

 

A team of community-luvin Alteryxians participated in a workday in December to lend their hands in the construction of the main barn. Fun was had by all!

 

twitter_afg_workday.pngIMG_0036.JPG bigbarn.png

  

I want to thank Luvin Arms for their commitment to animals, for ‘Connecting Community through Compassion,’ and for letting Alteryx help you find a new, forever home.

 

It’s #AlteryxForGood, y’all.

 

alteryx_for_good_logo.svg

 

The workflow I created can be downloaded from the Alteryx Analytics Gallery.

 

Tara McCoy

Tara McCoy is the Creative Director at Alteryx. Since joining Alteryx in 2004, Tara has held roles in Product Management, Content Engineering, and Community where her focus has always been on delivering an amazing product experience with Alteryx. From designing product icons and community badges, procuring excellent swag, concocting engaging contests, and crowdsourcing content from internal and external Alteryx advocates alike, Tara is dedicated to the Alteryx brand and wants everyone to experience the thrill of problem solving with Alteryx.

Tara McCoy is the Creative Director at Alteryx. Since joining Alteryx in 2004, Tara has held roles in Product Management, Content Engineering, and Community where her focus has always been on delivering an amazing product experience with Alteryx. From designing product icons and community badges, procuring excellent swag, concocting engaging contests, and crowdsourcing content from internal and external Alteryx advocates alike, Tara is dedicated to the Alteryx brand and wants everyone to experience the thrill of problem solving with Alteryx.

Comments
Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

@TaraM Thank you for  sharing your experience, efforts and story with Luvin Arms. We're excited that the team got to go onsite to build and help construct the barn for the furry loved ones 🙂

Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

This story, from start to finish, is wonderful. (Although I'm sure there really isn't an actual "finish" because of #AFG and your dedication to animals!) I love everything about it - the results for Luvin Arms (staff and animals), your excitement while describing Alteryx to Shaleen, decriptions of your Alteryx workflow process, and the volunteer day!! 

 

Thanks for sharing this, @TaraM. It is so heartwarming.

Asteroid
Asteroid

Tara,

 

Thanks so much for packing great info into this article. I learned a lot. I also was able to dream of living in CO, with my timber framing tools, and teaching Jett how to build a barn. That was an inspirational piece from a great employee of the company that inspires me the most!

 

Congrats,

 

Ken

ACE Emeritus
ACE Emeritus

Bravo Tara.

Creative Director
Creative Director

Thanks everyone. This was a lot of fun and so easy for Alteryx. @Ken_Black - you are welcome to come to CO anytime and bring Jett - my daughter Posy and I do fun fundraisers for Luvin Arms all the time. We bake vegan treats to sell and bring the proceeds plus more treats for the volunteers to the sanctuary. Then we get to give ear scratches and belly rubs to the pigs, goats and horses. I love following your journeys as well - you are taeching Jett some amazing lessons with the way you combine analytics and philanthropy. Raising little activists is very fulfilling.

Chief Customer Officer
Chief Customer Officer

Thank you Tara for helping with the 'forever home' for these animals.  YOU ROCK!!!  

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