Silver Blog7 Techniques to Visualize Geospatial Data

In this article, we explore 7 interesting yet simple techniques to visualize geospatial data that will help you visualize your data better.

4. Dot Map

A dot map (also called dot distribution map or dot density map) uses a dot to indicate the presence of a variable. Dot maps are essentially scatterplots on a map and are useful for showing spatial patterns.

This is a dot map of the world showing nearly 700,000 geotagged Wikipedia articles, each represented by a yellow dot.

geospatial data, geospatial visualization

A dot map gives an accurate representation of the value of the variable in granular locations on the map. To ensure location accuracy, it’s important to geocode the data accurately during the data-collection process.


5. Cluster Map

Cluster maps help represent dense pockets of data points using a single point. Each cluster is either relatively sized to or labelled with the number of points that have been grouped together.

This map contains clusters (each cluster represents one village) of varying colors and sizes to show the number of households in Vijayawada. The SocialCops platform was deployed to collect primary household-level data and then create this interactive cluster map that allows drilldown to view household level details on the map.

geospatial data, geospatial visualization

Clusters are ideal in interactive maps where the user can drill down to see individual data points contained in a cluster. Cluster maps help reduce clutter when there are many overlapping data points in a small geography.


6. Bubble Map

Bubble maps help represent two variables — one by varying the size of the bubble and one by varying the color —simultaneously in a single visualization.

In this map of Africa, the size of each bubble represents the number of births in the corresponding country in 2010-15. The larger the bubble, more the number of births. On the other hand, the color of the bubble represents mean age of childbirth in the country. The darker the shade of red, the higher the mean age at childbirth. A quick glance shows that the bubbles are either large in size and light red in color or small in size and dark red in color. This points to a negative correlation between mean age at childbirth and number of births.

Try creating awesome bubble maps for free on SocialCops Viz.

Bubble maps help viewers makes sense of three parameters at once through the location, size, and color of the bubbles. However, you must be careful while creating bubble maps that contain many small geographical regions to avoid overcrowding of bubbles.


7. Cartogram Map

In a cartogram, the mapping variable is shown in a diagrammatic form. The mapping variable often substitutes the land area or distance in the map due to which the map gets distorted in proportion to the mapping variable.

The India social cartogram project maps, for instance, contains cartogram maps representing India’s population for different caste groups.

geospatial data, geospatial visualization

Cartogram overcomes the limitations of other forms of geospatial visualization in that it represents the mapping variable relative to the corresponding geographical area. However, cartograms must be used with care because knowledge of the actual land area is essential for the reader to make sense of the distorted version shown in the cartogram. It is a good practice to show the actual map before introducing the cartogram.

Now that you have these techniques in your arsenal, go ahead, try out these geospatial visualization techniques and re-discover the power of maps!

Bio: Vasavi Ayalasomayajula was previously in content growth marketing at SocialCops.

Original. Reposted with permission.