how to:How to Visualize Your Data on a Map with OpenHeatMap
Have a set of data that you want to visualize on a map? With OpenHeatMap, anyone can create customized heat maps using their own data. A heat map is a way to represent data that uses color to represent the data values in a two-dimensional map.
OpenHeatMap was created by Pete Warden in 2010 and aims to “transform data from a traditional data source such as a spreadsheet into an interactive animated view of a particular area.” Check out some sample maps from their online gallery. As O’Reilly Media's Alex Howard notes, OpenHeatMap “has the potential to make public data relevant to the lay user.”
So far, OpenHeatMap supports maps from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, and Ireland. Warden is actively working to cover more regions and countries.
You will need a spreadsheet of information to create your OpenHeatMap. So far, OpenHeatMap supports Excel spreadsheet files or Google spreadsheets. Follow the steps below to properly save/publish your spreadsheet so it can be used to create an OpenHeatMap.
Saving an Excel spreadsheet:
Go to ‘Save As’ in the main menu, and choose ‘Other Formats’:
In the dialog that appears, name your file and make a note of which folder you’re saving to. You’ll need to navigate back to that folder when you’re ready to upload the data. Choose ‘CSV (Comma delimited)’ from the ‘Save as type’ drop-down.
Click ‘Yes’ on the warning about saving only the active sheet. Also choose ‘Yes’ on the features warning
The CSV file on your hard drive is now ready to upload to OpenHeatMap!
Publishing your Google spreadsheet:
If you have a Google Docs spreadsheet, follow these steps to publish your spreadsheet. For maps you want to be available publicly, you do this by publishing the spreadsheet on the web and giving OpenHeatMap the URL.
Select “Publish as Web Page” from the “Share” menu at the top right of your spreadsheet.
Choose “Start publishing” from the dialog
Copy the URL, which will be pasted into OpenHeatMap’s upload page.
Now you are ready to create an OpenHeatMap!
Point your browser to http://www.openheatmap.com/
Click “Create Your Map.”
Select whether your spreadsheet is an Excel/CSV file or a Google spreadsheet.
For a Google spreadsheet, paste the public URL of your spreadsheet into the box. Then click Upload.
For an Excel/CSV file, you will be prompted to find the file and then click Upload.
After you map loads, click View your map.
You will be re-directed to a page with your map. Mouse over an area to see the data behind it.
You can add a title, author name, and time fr ame. You can also update the key to set what different colors indicate and adjust the map’s transparency.
Click “Save and view.”
On the next page, you will see your map. Drag the timeline to see changes over time, or click the play icon at the bottom of the map to see changes over time.
Click Share to share your map with others.
Click embed to copy the code to embed your map on your own website. See this guide to learn more about embedding.
Want to map your Twitter followers on an OpenHeatMap and visualize where they are located? Point your browser to http://www.openheatmap.com/examples/twitter/.