Create a Vertex AI tabular dataset

The model you create later in this tutorial requires a dataset to train it. The data that this tutorial uses is a publicly available dataset that contains details about three species of penguins. The following data are used to predict which of the three species a penguin is.

  • island - The island where a species of penguin is found.
  • culmen_length_mm - The length of the ridge along the top of the bill of a penguin.
  • culmen_depth_mm - The height of the bill of a penguin.
  • flipper_length_mm - The length of the flipper-like wing of a penguin.
  • body_mass_g - The mass of the body of a penguin.
  • sex - The sex of the penguin.

Download, preprocess, and split the data

In this section, you download the publicly available BigQuery dataset and prepare its data. To prepare the data, you do the following:

  • Convert categorical features (features described with a string instead of a number) to numeric data. For example, you convert the names of the three types of penguins to the numerical values 0, 1, and 2.

  • Remove any columns in the dataset that aren't used.

  • Remove any rows that cannot be used.

  • Split the data into two distinct sets of data. Each set of data is stored in a pandas DataFrame object.

    • The df_train DataFrame contains data used to train your model.

    • the df_for_prediction DataFrame contains data used to generate predictions.

After processing the data, the code maps the three categorical columns' numerical values to their string values, then prints them so that you can see what the data looks like.

To download and process your data, run the following code in your notebook:

import numpy as np
import pandas as pd

LABEL_COLUMN = "species"

# Define the BigQuery source dataset
BQ_SOURCE = "bigquery-public-data.ml_datasets.penguins"

# Define NA values
NA_VALUES = ["NA", "."]

# Download a table
table = bq_client.get_table(BQ_SOURCE)
df = bq_client.list_rows(table).to_dataframe()

# Drop unusable rows
df = df.replace(to_replace=NA_VALUES, value=np.NaN).dropna()

# Convert categorical columns to numeric
df["island"], island_values = pd.factorize(df["island"])
df["species"], species_values = pd.factorize(df["species"])
df["sex"], sex_values = pd.factorize(df["sex"])

# Split into a training and holdout dataset
df_train = df.sample(frac=0.8, random_state=100)
df_for_prediction = df[~df.index.isin(df_train.index)]

# Map numeric values to string values
index_to_island = dict(enumerate(island_values))
index_to_species = dict(enumerate(species_values))
index_to_sex = dict(enumerate(sex_values))

# View the mapped island, species, and sex data

The following are the printed mapped values for characteristics that are not numeric:

{0: 'Dream', 1: 'Biscoe', 2: 'Torgersen'}
{0: 'Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae)', 1: 'Chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica)', 2: 'Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua)'}
{0: 'FEMALE', 1: 'MALE'}

The first three values are the islands a penguin might inhabit. The second three values are important because they map to the predictions you receive at the end of this tutorial. The third row shows the FEMALE sex characteristic maps to 0 and the MALE the sex characteristic maps to 1.

Create a tabular dataset for training your model

In the previous step you downloaded and processed your data. In this step, you load the data stored in your df_train DataFrame into a BigQuery dataset. Then, you use the BigQuery dataset to create a Vertex AI tabular dataset. This tabular dataset is used to train your model. For more information, see Use managed datasets.

Create a BigQuery dataset

To create your BigQuery dataset that's used to create a Vertex AI dataset, run the following code. The create_dataset command returns a new BigQuery DataSet.

# Create a BigQuery dataset
bq_dataset_id = f"{project_id}.dataset_id_unique"
bq_dataset = bigquery.Dataset(bq_dataset_id)
bq_client.create_dataset(bq_dataset, exists_ok=True)

Create a Vertex AI tabular dataset

To convert your BigQuery dataset a Vertex AI tabular dataset, run the following code. You can ignore the warning about the required number of rows to train using tabular data. Because the purpose of this tutorial is to quickly show you how to get predictions, a relatively small set of data is used to show you how to generate predictions. In a real world scenario, you want at least 1000 rows in a tabular dataset. The create_from_dataframe command returns a Vertex AI TabularDataset.

# Create a Vertex AI tabular dataset
dataset = aiplatform.TabularDataset.create_from_dataframe(

You now have the Vertex AI tabular dataset used to train your model.

(Optional) View the public dataset in BigQuery

If you want to view the public data used in this tutorial, you can open it in BigQuery.

  1. In Search in the Google Cloud, enter BigQuery, then press return.

  2. In the search results, click on BigQuery

  3. In the Explorer window, expand bigquery-public-data.

  4. Under bigquery-public-data, expand ml_datasets, then click on penguins.

  5. Click any of the names under Field name to view that field's data.

View penguin public dataset.