written by
5000fish Team

Data Visualization: When Maps Are NOT Your Best Option

BI Problems and Solutions 6 min read

We’ve talked a lot about how maps and other data visualizations can be excellent for various use cases in business intelligence. However, in some scenarios in which data visualization is not that necessary.

In this guide, we’ll break down map visualizations and the few scenarios in which they are not that good of an idea for embedded analytics.

Is Data Visualization Necessary?

Many SaaS applications require embedded map visualizations. As the market for SaaS business apps expands, it's more critical than ever to include visualizations in these apps so that users can learn from data.

Typically, developers will construct these representations and incorporate them into their applications using a business intelligence tool. Developers may also create these embedded visualizations without using a BI tool, but this requires much more effort and resources.

Consider the following example of data visualization: Finding the highest value by comparing numbers in a flat table is exceedingly tough and time-consuming.

This is where using a graphical representation to visualize your data may help you.

Finding the highest number from a year's worth of data in a few seconds, if not a fraction, is achievable if you plot the data pictorially using visualization. Consider the same comparison with a decade's worth of data.

Here, data visualization is critical in assisting decision-makers in efficiently analyzing data and swiftly comprehending it using widgets.

What are Embedded Map Visualizations?

Embedded map visualizations are simply maps that incorporate analytical and location data integrated into another software program. End-users may receive insights and essential information from real-time maps and dashboards by incorporating them into an external application.

Sounds very useful, right? So why would anyone not want to use embedded maps and other data visualization for BI use cases?

Data Visualization: When is a Map Not Necessary?

To summarize what we mentioned above: Maps assist us in visualizing the size, position, and distance between objects or concepts. We've been utilizing them to navigate our way across the planet since the dawn of time, both historically and digitally.

Let's look at what we'll need for an engaging, action-oriented presentation. Data visualizations allow you to swiftly emphasize and draw your reader's attention to the most critical, immediate issues that need to be addressed:

  • A bad performance in comparison to the objectives.
  • There's a chance you'll run into financial, operational, or personal issues.
  • An opportunity to reach or exceed a target.

Maps are frequently used in data visualizations. It's appealing to the eye, but what does it truly convey? Maps generally show us where the significant quantities are in terms of size, markets, profit margins, and so forth.

If you're thinking of utilizing a map to visualize anything, consider the following:

  • Is there anything I can learn about the performance of goals by utilizing an integrated map visualization?
  • Is there any danger of financial, operational, or experiential concerns if I use an embedded map visualization?
  • Does utilizing an integrated map representation inform me whether I have a chance of achieving or exceeding a goal?

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you should consider alternatives to integrated map displays.

Alternatives to Embedded Map Data Visualizations

One of the most significant drawbacks of map representations in some applications is that they might produce the "illusion of dominance." Dominant markets, for example, might appear much more exaggerated on maps than they are. What if we used a different structure to include more relevant and necessary information about the situation?

There are a few charts you might attempt if a map is too intricate for your data. The traditional chart formats work well with most location-based data. When comparing two or more numbers, you can't go wrong with a bar or line chart. Pie or area charts are ideal for demonstrating composition or how different pieces combine to form a whole. Scatter plots are a good option if you need to display a distribution or a range of data.

How to Make a Map Work for You

If you absolutely must use a map in a situation where such visualization is not ideal, follow these best practices:

  • Make your map more than a map. Give your users detailed information on the overall breadth of the problem and what matters the most.
  • Consider time, which is a dimension that maps struggle to convey. One of the most critical aspects of any data display is time. It tells us when something happened or will happen and if there is still time to act.
  • Avoid bubble maps. Each site will have a circle on top of it by the bubble map. The bubbles will be varied sizes depending on the size field. However, the difference between the most prominent and most miniature bubbles is insignificant. This can give a poor representation of actual size comparisons between different areas of your map.
  • Make a clear, straightforward, and well-organized map. Consider the size of the finished map and where it will be shown when deciding how detailed or generic to make it. Give your map a distinct title, caption or scale, and data source. To minimize congestion or vast vacant spots, experiment with alternative layouts. Everything on your map should have a reason for being there. Ask yourself, "Does this aspect serve a vital purpose?" Is it possible to make things simpler? Is it necessary to explain? Is it also essential for reading comprehension? Keep in mind that little is more.
  • Include enough information to allow folks to get to the heart of the topic. You'll want to give your audience the option to pick multiple trips into the material and return with what they need, whether through point-and-click descents into depth or following pages.

How DashboardFox Can Help

Data visualization is essential in many aspects because it can still show you the most important things, even if it is not perfect. It can help you better understand what is going on and make better decisions.

There are different ways of data visualization, but one of the most important things is to use the right tool for the job. If you are looking at a lot of data, you might want to consider using a tool that can provide you with the best options in terms of embedded maps and other data visualizations.

DashboardFox is here to save the day!

With DashboardFox, you can create highly-interactive dashboards, maps, charts, graphs, and even more using their wide range of available options and tools. You don’t need to be proficient in any computer or programming language because the developers designed DashboardFox to be user-friendly, from complete programming noobs to experts in IT and computers.

Add to that their impressive one-time payment scheme (no subscriptions to maintain!), its self-hosted structure that ensures data security, and their dedicated team that will treat you like a VIP whenever you have concerns. You have the best possible tool for your data visualization needs.

Please take advantage of our free live demo that you can book online, or let’s hop in on a meeting to discuss your needs even more. The Fox is waiting!

What was our guide on when to not use embedded map visualization? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Data Visualization Embedded map visualizations Dashboards