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Interface 2011 and Micromaps

Last week, SAS and JMP hosted Interface 2011: Statistical, Machine Learning, and Visualization Algorithms, 42nd Symposium on the I.... The deep statistical issues were mostly over my head, but I found enough discussion of visualizations to keep me interested. Leland Wilkinson shared his recent research on Venn diagrams, which may find its way into JMP Genomics, where similar diagrams are already used for some results. I gave a presentation on some of the challenges JMP has faced integrating geographic map visualizations into an interactive statistical product.

Related to mapping, Dan Carr presented some of his work on "micromaps." I have his book, Visualizing Data Patterns with Micromaps, but it was very helpful to see the presentation and talk with him afterward. Micromaps incorporate small maps into arrangements that allow multivariate data exploration. He defines several types of micromaps, and it occurred to me that JMP can already approximate the conditional micromaps in Graph Builder.

Here is a pseudo-micromap of Europe colored by Human Development Index (HDI) for each country. HDI is a development measure used by the United Nations that combines life expectancy, education and income. The grouping variables condition the maps and make it easier to see the relationships between the grouping variables, the coloring variables and the countries.

Each country appears in one panel. In this case, we can see that lower HDI appears to be correlated with lower GDP per capita since countries in the top three panels are generally bluish, and because it's a map, we can also see that those countries are in eastern Europe. I don't see a similar pattern going across, suggesting median age is not correlated with HDI.

My mock-up misses some key micromap features, including

• simple, reduced detail maps

• enlarged tiny countries

• sliders to adjust the grouping categories

• categorical coloring to simplify comparison

• We hope to address those with a JMP add-in. Let us know if you have a particular interest in micromaps.

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Creating micromaps in JMP wrote:

[...] and have learned a lot especially while working on my Micromap project, which is explained below. In June, Xan Gregg blogged about a Micromaps presentation by Dan Carr. At the time, Graph Builder could approximate Conditional Micromaps minus a few key features. My [...]