Heat maps, also known as geographic heat maps or location heat maps, are graphic maps that show the distribution of a particular variable or data value (e.g., temperature, electricity usage, etc.) across a geographic area. Essentially, a heat map is like a mini Google Maps for your website’s location, displaying the location’s average temperature, rainfall, pollution, or some other metric that you can map.
Why display the data this way? Consider what would happen if you had millions of blog articles, all vying for your attention? The key to effective content marketing is learning to surface the most important information in the clearest, most concise manner. So if you’re able to present important data in an eye-catching way, you’ll naturally stand out from the crowd.
With millions of blog articles competing for attention, it’s no secret that your website could use some love. That’s where heat maps and location data come in. With the right data and tools, you can display key info in the most compelling way possible. This, in turn, could help drive more traffic to your website and increase your conversion rates. Sounds like a win-win, no?
Of course, like with any tool, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. The first being that you need to get the data properly. Having a complete and accurate set of data is the key to effectively creating these maps. And secondly, you need to choose the right visualization for the data you have. As we’ll discuss below, there are numerous tools on the market that can help you map out important locations on your website.
Where Do I Start?
When it comes to getting started, the first and most crucial step is to identify the right data. You’ll want to find out things like average temperatures and rainfall for the area, as well as any thresholds you may need to keep an eye out for. Remember, these maps are only as good as the data they are based on.
For an even more comprehensive look at the climate of your area, you could also check out the National Weather Service’s excellent interactive climate map. The nice thing about this climate map is that you’re not just limited to viewing local data. You can also choose to view historical data, track current conditions, or examine climate change over time. All this mapped out on a single page, which is quite handy.
How Do I Make This Data Easy To Understand?
One of the primary goals of any good data visualization is to make the information easy to understand. When you have access to a lot of data and there are a lot of variables to track, a heat map can help provide a clearer picture of what’s going on. This, in turn, could help you make better decisions and optimize your website’s performance.
One approach to making the data easier to understand is through color. Rather than having multiple shades of gray, you can use color to highlight differences in data across your maps. This makes it much easier to pick out exact areas of interest.
How Do I Make This Data More Engaging?
Now, we come to the fun part: turning monochrome raster maps into eye-catching, animated visualizations. With a little bit of skill, you can turn any plain ol’ map of locations into an engaging visualization. There are numerous tools out there that can take your regular old heat map and give it a nice, interactive makeover. The nice thing about these tools is that you’re not limited to making 2D maps. You can also produce 3D and 4D maps using the same engine. So, if you’re looking for a new way to showcase your data, give one of these tools a try.
What Kind of Visualization Should I Use?
This is a question that gets asked a lot. And for good reason. There are numerous different tools available for mapping out data, and each one has a unique way of displaying information. For heat map examples, you could use anything from a simple line map (e.g., Google Maps) to an interactive 3D map (e.g., Tableau).
The choice of visualization tool is largely determined by how much data you have and what you’re looking for in terms of display. If you have a lot of points you want to visualize, a simple line map might be the way to go. If you want something more polished and interactive, check out Tableau or Google Maps, as these allow for much more intricate visualizations.
Make Sure You Practice
Before you begin creating your heat maps, you should find a quiet corner of your home and practice making them. Even if you’re using the simplest of tools, like a pencil and paper, you should still find the time to practice making these maps. After all, the more you practice, the more confident you’ll become.
Why? It’s simple. As we’ve established, a heat map is only as good as the data that goes into it. And the more confident you are in your mapping skills, the more you’ll be able to rely on the data you have. If you practice making heat maps with the same data you’ll use for the final product, you’ll find it much easier to create an accurate version. Plus, the more you practice, the faster you’ll be able to produce a finished product. So, there’s really no reason not to practice mapping out your locations. Even if you think it’s not necessary, you should still find the time to do it.