A heat map represents the density of specific data within an area of a map. It presents as color-coded circles on the map, depending on set parameters. The aggregation of this data formulates with location and the radius of influence, which is manually adjusted depending on the user’s preference. When the density of data increases within an area, a heat map will display a color indicating higher density. Alternatively, places that hold minimal density (under the threshold determined) will appear in lower density colors or not at all.
For heat maps with a single color, the opacity will vary depending on the data uploaded to the map. A map with varying density will show deeper colors for high density and translucent shades for minimal density.
USING A HEAT MAP GENERATOR
A geographic heat map helps the user identify trends in data that would be difficult to see otherwise. A user may pull this data into a heat map to establish market saturation or opportunities available based on geographic location.
Businesses can combine various metrics within the spreadsheet with a geographic heat map to evaluate specific locations. Using current sales data, a sales team can determine the highest sales density locations. Create a heat map by zip code or region to determine the highest density areas. This will automatically generate demographic data of the regions with the most sales.
A heat map is also used for market availability overall. Quickly determine which customers access specific locations by importing spreadsheet data of your stores. The heat map will show areas close to these physical locations and indicate addresses too far for customers to visit.
USING GOOGLE MAPS
While Google Maps is a typical application for mapping, it currently doesn’t offer heat map functionality. A few outside mapping programs do allow integration with the popular platform. For example, the popular mapping program Maptive facilitates Google Maps’ capabilities while performing various map-based functions. This software is often available on a subscription basis, although software typically offers a free trial to get started.
To add a heat map to your Google map, create a free account with the mapping software (or log in to your account). Import the collection of raw data into the software and develop the initial map for further review.
BUILDING YOUR HEAT MAP
When starting the heat mapping process, determine what data visualization you require. The default view weighs each marker equally, highlighting any density trends within the area. Creating a competitor analysis can help you establish areas with high quantities of salespeople and where further resources are required.
Using the heat map functionality, any location-based information can transform into a visual representation on the map. Select the data you wish to see, along with any corresponding data you’d like to include in the visualization. This personalization caters to all mapping details to your specific industry or business functioning.
Most mapping software incorporates customizable options within the map, including radius settings, intensity, and color scales required. Users can tailor the map’s appearance to match corporate colors and integrate cohesive design elements overall. Most maps can export to various formats when you’re happy with the overall design. These might include professional-looking maps for presentations or reports, incorporating the map on websites or social media, or simply storing the maps for comparison over different periods.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF HEAT MAPS
While heat maps all offer visualization, different types offer different insights overall. For example, choropleth maps combine different colors or shades throughout the map, depending on the value of a statistic. For instance, standard choropleth maps include population density or overall demographics covering large areas of a map.
HOT SPOT MAPS
The hot spot map is also called a density heat map. It often helps visualize values within a boundary, measuring the density of data points within a specific radius. These are used for qualitative analysis, like concentrations of individuals or general population density.
REGIONAL HEAT MAPS
Often known as boundary heat maps, regional heat maps visualize a specific dataset’s aggregate or average value. These often include direct comparisons of ranges in data over large regional sets of data.
PROPORTIONAL SYMBOL MAPS
These maps often use symbols representative of actual objects. These usually occur on an area-by-area basis. The size of the shape is proportional to the quantitative numbers. The higher the number of data, the larger the shape appears overall.
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