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It's the most wonderful time of the year - Santalytics 2020 is here! This year, Santa's workshop needs the help of the Alteryx Community to help get back on track, so head over to the Group Hub for all the info to get started!
The Q2 2020 Business and Location Insights data packages are now available for your analysis. The packages include analytics-ready data from a variety of vendors as well as data-specific analysis tools which will empower users to get the most from the packaged data. Here’s what you have to look forward to in this release!
When registering the point datasets in Allocate, it is possible to get them mixed up between the Experian FULL US and Experian US datasets. When this happens the datasets are put into an error state and the Allocate tool will not open properly.
Platform Product: Allocate/Behavioral Issues – Working with Alteryx Customer Support Engineers (CSEs)
To EXPEDITE the resolution of your case, please include the below information.
Allocate/Behavioral - Requested Information
*** Suggestion: copy/paste the questions below and email the supporting documentation to email@example.com
1. Detailed Description of the Issue
2. Screenshot of Alteryx Version
3. Screenshot of Error
4. What dataset and vintage are you using?
5. Please send a copy of your workflow (*.yxmd or *.yxzp)
6. Please send your .ini files in the data install folder for the data set. (optional)
Allocate/Behavioral – Requested Information (Detailed Instructions):
1. Detailed Description of the Issue – What issues are you having? Has it worked in the past? When did the issue start? Are all users affected or just some? What are the steps to reproduce your issue? What have you tried to resolve the issue? Have you searched the Alteryx Community?
2. Screenshot of Alteryx Version– Our CSEs need to know the precise version of Alteryx so we can replicate any issues. In Alteryx, click Help > About and provide a screenshot.
The screenshot will include whether it is Server or Designer. In addition, whether it is “Running Elevated” Admin vs. Non-Admin.
3. Screenshot of Error or Exact Text of Error- Click CTRL-Print-screen to capture the error and paste into your e-mail. Also include where was the error encountered – Gallery, Designer, Scheduler?
Note: You may wish to Google the error text research the issue. The Knowledgebase is also a great place to search the error text as well!
4. What dataset and vintage are you using? From the Allocate Input tool, click the Drop Down for Choose a Dataset. What dataset is selected? If “Most Recent Vintage”, what is the Dataset below? i.e. Experian US 2018A (Q4 2018).
5. Please send a copy of your workflow (*.yxmd or *.yxzp) and sample data if possible. Either create a .yxzp and include macros and data by clicking Options>Export Workflow. Or, include the workflow *.yxmd and sample data if possible.
6. Please send your .ini files in the data install folder for the data set. (optional) C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\DataProducts\DataProducts.ini
Renaming Allocate Variables
Have you ever used the Allocate tools and received back some strange looking variable names? You're not alone! The Allocate Rename Fields Macro will allow you to rename your fields into readable variables.
The macro can be downloaded here. Note: This will navigate you to the Alteryx Gallery. Select "Download & Install the Allocate Rename Fields Macro" and follow the prompts to install.
USING THE TOOL
The Allocate tools allow users to enrich their workflows with third party data provided from Experian and the US Census. This data contains demographic and household information by geography. Allocate tools can be found under the “Demographic Analysis” tab in the Alteryx toolbar; they include the Allocate Input, Allocate Append, Allocate Report, and Allocate Metainfo.
Allocate Input and Allocate Append tools allow users to select variables to display by geography. Once configured, the fields returned look something like this:
Add the Allocate Rename macro after the Allocate Input/Append. In the Configuration window, select the Dataset that you are pulling from. Press Run for the magic!
Voila! Your field names are now human-readable.
What if my company blocks access to downloading new tools/macros from the Gallery?
In the case that you cannot download this macro, you can use Alteryx to dynamically rename the field names. See is it possible to get the variable name I see in the Allocate tool?
Canada Business Insights customers, formerly "Canada Data", may have noticed that we've built up our 2016 Statistics Canada demographic variables inventory over the past handful of releases. The 2016 demographic data is accessed via the Demographic Analysis toolset by selecting Statistics Canada 2016 Census in the drop down. In addition, we deliver 2011 Statistics Canada demographics as Canada Data within the same drop down. Both data sets receive quarterly updated Forward Sortation Areas and geography summarized business counts.
Effective with the Q3 2019 Insights data release, update efforts will be focused on the 2016 census only; we will no longer update the 2011 Statistics Canada data set. We will continue to provide the 2011 data set without updates in the installation package through the Q2 2020 release.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Update Allocate Append tool using XML
You’re running a process to select certain variables to be used within a model. You’ve built your process, but you’re getting tired of having to run it twice. Once to pull thousands of variables to check for relevance, and a second time with just the variables you want to include in the final model based on the tests you’ve run.
There’s good news! You can use the Action tool within the Interface toolset to update the Raw XML of the Allocate Append tool to dynamically select the variables you want to use, and it’s not as hard as you might think.
The first thing we need to do is find out what the XML code is for the variables we want to use, and the format it needs to be in for the Allocate Append tool to recognize it. You can enable the XML view from the User Settings menu (Options -> User Settings -> Edit User Settings). On the Advanced tab, there is a check box to “Display XML in Properties Window”:
Once you’ve checked the box, return to your Allocate Append tool, or any tool on your canvas, and you’ll see a new option on the right hand side that will allow you to see the XML code the tool is creating.
From here you can get the format you need for the XML code that we’ll pass into the macro to be created later.
Once you know the variables you want to use, you can use the variable name (code, not description) to build out the XML string as show above. If you select multiple variables, what you’ll notice is that they are each on their own line under the “<Variables>” tag in the XML code. The list you make must follow the same format:
In the sample workflow attached, you’ll see that I am using a Text Input tool to simulate the data stream that contains the fully compiled XML strings needed. As you will most likely see in your data, I have one variable per record. The problem is I need all of the variables in the same cell, on their own line. So how do we combine the records into one, and add a new line?
The answer is we use the Summarize tool. Within the Summarize tool we can use the Concat function to combine the XML strings into a single cell, and in the concatenate Properties section, we can indicate that we want to use a new line as the separator by typing in \n.
Now that the prep work is done, all we need to do is pass this new variable list into the Allocate Append tool through XML. This can be achieved with a simple Batch Macro. For the Control Parameter you want to use the Variable list that we just created. The Control Parameter gets connected to the Allocate Append tool which adds the Action tool as shown below.
In your Action tool, select the option to “Update Raw XML with Formula”, expand the options under Allocate Append until you see “Variables” and highlight that section. You’ll want to update the Inner XML, and the formula to use is the connection from the Control Parameter as shown below.
Once you have this set up, simply add your Macro Input (for your incoming data stream) and Macro Output (to feed back into your workflow) to complete the macro set up.
Return to your original workflow, insert your newly created Batch Macro and connect your inputs. Your variable list stream will feed into the ¿ input, and your main data stream to the other.
You’re now set to dynamically change the variables you are pulling! Simply run your process for selecting relevant variables, build your XML strings through the Formula tool and pass them into your macro.
The Q3 2018 US Data package includes analytics-ready data from TomTom, Experian, Dun & Bradstreet and the US Census as well as data-specific analysis tools to get the most from the packaged data. The documentation package attached includes –
Release notes, variable list and change log
Experian CAPE demographic data methodology document, Mosaic segment descriptions
Experian ConsumerView Analytical file – user guide and penetration report
D&B Analytical file - data description, SIC lookup code, penetration report
Kalibrate Technologies traffic count overview and metadata
Spatial products include documentation on drive time methodology and Alteryx map layers
What's new in this release?
Sample workflows included with the data installs are now grouped within a top-level "Data Install Samples" category
Annual updates for Places, Other Name Places, CBSAs, and CCDs/MCDs
Please download and extract the attached 'Q32018_US_Data.zip' for the complete documentation.
In the Q3 2017 US Data release there were six reports that incorrectly reference the D&B Business Summary Employees and Establishments vintage as “Q2 2017” instead of the correct vintage of “Q3 2017”. This issue is purely cosmetic in the report – the data is still from the Q3 2017 vintage. The reports can be found in the dataset, “Experian US 2017A (Q3 2017 Release)(v.8.6)”, within the Demographic Analysis tools in Alteryx.
Demographic Snapshot Comparison Report
Demographic Snapshot Index Comparison
Demographic Summary with Index
Demographic Trend Summary
Population Comparison Report
Action Required: Replace the incorrect report template files.
Close any open instances of Alteryx or Allocate
Download, unzip and extract Q3_2017_Fixed_Report_Templates.7z from the Community Article to the local Alteryx data install location.
You need to place these in the Reports folder – found under […]\Portfolio\ALTERYX_US_Experian_17A_17B\Reports. A typical install location is C:\Program Files (x86)\Alteryx\DataProducts\Portfolio\ALTERYX_US_Experian_17A_17B\Reports
Overwrite the existing templates with the updated templates
How to Validate: Generate a report using a corrected template.
Drag out an Allocate Input tool
Select the dataset “Experian US 2017A (Q3 2017 Release)(v.8.6)”
Select any single geography
Drag out and connect an Allocate Report tool to the Allocate Input tool
Select the dataset “Experian US 2017A (Q3 2017 Release)(v.8.6)”
Select the “Executive Demographic” report
Click the Index button and select any State geography
Press run – the report should now reference “Q3 2017” – and not “Q2 2017” – for the Employee and Establishment fields
If you are an Allocate GUI user, the updated reports can be validated there.
If you have other concerns or need assistance with these instructions, please contact our Customer Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When using the Demographic Analysis tools in the Alteryx Designer there are two types of variables you’ll be able to utilize from the Allocate Engine: built-in and virtual variables. Built-in variables are the most granular demographic measures the engine offers and virtual (custom) variables are calculated from these built-in variables. If you’re interested in taking a look at the underlying formulas that constitute these variables, there are two ways to do so:
Through the Alteryx Data Products GUI
You can find the Alteryx Data Products Allocate Interface in your start menu
From here just locate your variable in the “Variables” tab
Then select “File” and “Variable Information”
The Allocate Metainfo tool
In the Allocate Metainfo tool select “Variables”
After running the workflow, the list of variables in your chosen dataset will be output, along with their constituent formulas (if they are virtual variables)
You can also create your own custom variables! For your reference, a list of demographic variables that are included in the Alteryx Data Packages can be found here.
I have CAPE installed and a newer version of a VGF (with updated names) is available in a new install. I uninstalled that version of the data, ran the new install but the old VGF names are still visible. I reran the install twice. What am I doing incorrectly? I notice when I run the install, the process happening more quickly than usual.
More than likely you have an incidence of Alteryx open (employing an Allocate tool) when running the install. Alteryx can prevent files from being overwritten, especially when reinstalling data. Before running a data install, close all open Allocate and Alteryx programs. The closure should allow the updating to happen as expected.
When you drag and drop an Allocate Report tool onto the Alteryx canvas or are browsing reports in the Alteryx Gallery, do you feel overwhelmed by the number of Allocate reports visible? Your next question might be, "what's included in each report?" The report name helps somewhat but not always and there isn't a listing in Help to guide you.
Attached is a spreadsheet on the available reports grouped by Type (List, Rank, Summary, Comparison) and displaying report name, description and check marks in columns for key content items (Age, Employment, Income, Retail Demand, etc.).
If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact email@example.com.
If you can't find the ZIP code you are looking for, it is likely that it is a ZIP point, ZIP codes are assigned to military basis, college campuses and other large facilities. These ZIP Codes are not registered by default, to be added to Allocate they have to be registered. For this you will need to have Admin rights to your computer to do this. If you don't, you could try right clicking on the Allocate product and selecting Run as administrator. If this does not work, you will need your IT to register the file for you. First, open the stand alone Allocate product (outside of Alteryx): Choose the dataset you are using in the first window: Next, go to the Pick Geography tab and go to File > Manage Virtual Geographies… The below window will pop up, click on Register: Go to the Program Files (x86)AlteryxDataProductsPortfolio[your dataset]Data folder (or the folder for the dataset you are using): And select the ZIPs with Points VGF files, click Open: You will see that the Zip Codes w/Points is now loaded in the list, click OK: Allocate will say it needs to restart, click OK. Once open again, go to the Pick Geography tab and the Zip Codes w/Points is now selectable and will also be available in the Allocate tool within Alteryx.
Census data is calculated based on census designated boundaries which range in increasing size from Blocks - Block Groups - Tracts - Counties - etc. However, when solving most business issues, custom polygons are often used. Since custom polygons almost never perfectly mirror Census Blocks, a method to subdivide Blocks must be created. Block Centroid Retrevial
Alteryx utilizes Block Centroid Retrieval when allocating demographic data to irregular polygons such as custom radii, ZIP Codes, and custom trade areas. For the US datasets, this retrieval is based on the centroids of the US Census 2010 Blocks. Each record is tagged with the percent of the household and population it represents as a fraction of its associated block group. Development changes in the years since the census are not reflected in this inventory of block centroids.
To address this requirement, Alteryx designed a methodological approach to update block groups to reflect areas of growth. By utilizing the Experian household database of 127 million U.S. consumer households in conjunction with the Census Bureau, Alteryx has created additional points, within the block inventory dataset, utilized by Allocate to represent population and household growth during the time since the previous census.