Dashboard Digest Series – Episode 2


Welcome to the second episode of the Dashboard Digest Series! So what do we have for Episode 2? Waves!

The use case here was to display real-time and historical parameters and statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations National Data Buoy Center or NOAA NDBC for short.  Thanks to an add-on created by Julien Ruaux on Splunkbase, I was able to easily collect data from the NDBC’s data feed and start creating dashboards right away.   While the NOAA NDBC site has it’s own dashboard (pictured right) I figured it might be useful to access and visualize the data in different ways through Splunk.  That and eventually correlate the buoy data with other data sources.

Purpose: Display meaningful statistics on NDBC buoy information in historical and real-time. Easily drilldown, aggregate and visualize data from 1000s of buoys transmitting information.
Splunk Version: Splunk 6.4 and above
Data Sources: Polling NDBC RSS feed that produces JSON payload
Apps: Add-on for NDBC, Custom Cluster Map Visualization, Clustered Single Value Map Visualization, Splunk 6.x Dashboard Examples

Tips n’ Tricks:

Let’s take a look! Using some new custom visualizations from Splunkbase I was able to show current/max wave height by station much easier.  Additionally a simple drilldown allows me to see specific details by station over time quickly and effectively.  I can pick location of the buoy, wave height, water temperature, windspeed etc. and plot it over a map.


I began to notice there were also ships reporting information.  Wouldn’t it be nice to separate visually what is a ship and what is a buoy? Enter the Clustered Single Value Map Visualization.  You can even add html and Splunk results within each click box to add more context.


Other than those two custom visualizations I’m just using some form input examples from the Splunk 6.x Dashboard Examples App.  I’m using Dropdown, Multi-select, and Link Switcher which are all available to use in SimpleXML and require no JS! The Link Switcher allows switching between different map visualizations as some map types did better to show wave height, water temperature and other information as opposed to just location.   Finally I used chart overlay (also available in Dash Examples App) to plot multiple data points over wave height.

That’s it for today folks, as always Happy Splunking! As a side note, for anyone going to .conf2016 I will be conducting a session called  “Next Generation Dashboards” where you can learn more about creating dashboards in this series!

– Stephen


Stephen Luedtke
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Stephen Luedtke

Stephen started his career as a Network and Systems Engineer for one of the world's largest and most sophisticated communication networks—the FAA's Telecommunications Infrastructure. After 7 years and catching the data analytics bug, he found Splunk and joined as a professional services consultant. For almost 2 years he worked directly with clients to design and implement data analytics solutions using Splunk as a platform spanning almost every industry before moving to technical product marketing. After 4 years of building demos, enabling the field and presenting to audiences of all sizes, he just recently joined the blockchain team as a Data Engineer. Stephen is a Splunk Dashboard Ninja and Splunk's just about anything including his cars, thermostats, garden, energy usage and much more. He lives in Denver, CO with his wife and dog, loves beer, car racing and anything outdoors.