3D map – Time Animation – Part 2

Showing familiar data on a map and that too with time animation added is a completely new and powerful way of visual thinking and analysis.We will continue to explore three different way of showing time based data.

3d map - time animation by Dr. Nitin Paranjape

Required Reading

Read the following articles before reading this one.

3D Map with Date/Time based animation: In-depth
Uncover hidden secrets: 3D, Time Animated Map using Power Map
Instant, Interactive 3D mapping of your data – Power Map

Consider this data. There is no data for years 2004, 2005, 2006.


Data shows for an instant

Here are the settings for the map.


Data shows for an instant is setting which changes the way the numbers are plotted. We are going to show the data by year. Starting from 2003 to 2010. That means, the animation has to cycle through each year between 2003 to 2010. However, for three years there is no data at all. So now the question is, what should be shown while the map is animating through 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Click play to watch the video and you will see what happens.

For missing values, nothing is shown. Currently shown year is the INSTANT. If no data, nothing to plot. That is what the setting Data shows for an instant means.

Data Accumulates over time

This option keeps adding up previous values. If a value is missing, the current total will just remain as it is, till more data is added in the next period.

Click play button to view the video.

Data stays until it is replaced

This is an interesting option. Let us choose this option and run the time line animation again.

This time the value of 2003 remains even when 2004, 2005, 2006 is being shown.

This is a very important difference to understand. If you interpret the video without noticing the animation option, it can mislead you and lead to wrong conclusions or actions.

Which option to use when?

The default is second option – Data Accumulates over time. This is the right option where you want to show accumulation of data. For example, you want to show total revenue over time – each time period adding more and more revenue.

Now let us take another example. We have three columns – time, and how many people came into your store and how many left – footfall counter. Now at any point of time you want to know how many people are inside the store. This is the perfect example where Data stays till replaced option can be used.

If data is completely transient, and then you want to see only that time slot status, the option Data shows for an instant is the right choice. For example, number of flights in a day or week or year.

Try this with your data

The best way to learn is to use your own data. Choose data which has some locational information and date time information. Play with various options to understand the mechanics.

But more importantly, you must realize that this is a completely new way of viewing the information. What does that indicate? If you observe things carefully, you will be able get some NEW USEFUL INFORMATION (the technical word for it is called Insights) about data that is very familiar to you. This discovery of new useful information is the real value of Power Map.

Now look at the standard reports you are already creating and sharing. Use the same data and create Power Map reports and show these to your colleagues and superiors. This way, everyone will understand the importance of geographic visualization.

If you know more, you can take relevant action – thus improving the outcome of whatever your job is. That is called GROWTH.

What next?

Till now we saw only a bar chart being plotted. In the next article we will see how to use different types of visualization. We will also see how categories can be incorporated into the visualization.


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