Using images to convey a message has become prevalent in modern day life. Given that humans learned to communicate with pictures before words, it’s unsurprising that many of us find it innately easier to understand a concept when it is presented visually rather than in text. I’m pretty sure this is one of the subliminal reasons why infographics and videos now dominate social media. Need to get a message across quickly and hold the attention of the viewer? Easy! Draw a picture, film the action or animate a scene.
A map takes this idea one step further. It is, quite simply, The Original and Mother of All Data Visualizations. Aside from tapping into that basic human instinct to make sense of the world around us, a map is the most succinct way of presenting and describing complex geo-specific information.
At mappl we design interactive, schematic heatmaps (the fancy name for this is choropleth) whose component vector shapes are created by country, region, county, constituency and ward boundaries. Multiple sources of data are inputted, whizzed around by our tech guru and then directly displayed by means of colour, saturation and shape on the mappl interface. Anyone can hit the funky mappl icons and view one set of information, overlay another set or combine the two into what’s called a bivariate. Think of those results maps you see at election time and you’ve got the idea.
Almost any set of statistics can be accurately presented in visual map form whether it be on a local, national or international scale. In so doing, we can get an overall snapshot or more focussed understanding of a certain issue, trend or situation with speed and accuracy. Need to compare the environmental landscape of the North compared to the South of England? Or identify the area with the lowest crime rates yet highest quality of public services? Or perhaps the number and type of people living in a specific town or neighbourhood? It’s all there.
Whatever the motivation, this type of choropleth mapping is an easy way to digest and analyse disparate geo-specific data, whether it be qualitative i.e. good/bad, or quantitative i.e. many/few. It uses the simplest visual language which everyone, of any age, can understand (it’s not just for geeks). And of course, it is fun to play around with and looks awesome!
Go on, give it a try...