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Choosing the Right Plot for your Data and Analysis - Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week

Choosing the Right Plot for your Data and Analysis

TIBCO Spotfire ships with an extensive set of built in visualization types, all with their own strengths for displaying specific types of data. It is important you select the most appropriate visualization to make your data easier to interpret and more informative. 

The goal is to provide the appropriate information to your consumers. Different visualizations can be used to deliver different messages about your data, like the distribution of the data, trends and correlations in the data, and summary statistics about your data. Different visualizations are also suitable for displaying different categories of data, like categorical or continuous, aggregated or raw, and bivariate or multivariate.

The following figure depicts a flow that represents Spotfire visualizations that are good to use based off what message you are trying to display and what category your data is.


Right Plot

If you would like more information on each visualization type, when you would use it, why you would choose it over another visualization type, we have a audio based eLearning module called Introduction to Data Analysis and Visual Analytics which discussed this topic in detail in one of its modules. The datasheet for this course is available from here   and you can register for the course here.

We also cover this topic in our Authoring Best Practices live webinar. Click below for more details and schedules:

There will also be future posts here which will discuss specific differences between certain visualizations, like Box Plot and Bar Chart, or a Line Chart versus a Scatter Plot.

Since it is very important to select the right visualization for your message and data, you may have business requirements to display data in a visualization that is not built-in to TIBCO Spotfire Professional. If this is the case, our SDK allows developers or Spotfire Professional Services to integrate existing charting components or built a new visualization from scratch.   The screen shot below is an example of a Gauge plot integrated into TIBCO Spotfire for a specific business requirement:



The visualization, once integrated, can utilize all the key aspects of TIBCO Spotfire including marking, filtering, and drilldown.



Andre Kooy said:

Excellent flow diagram, very usefull for our customers!

On the Speedometer: do you think it will become part of the standard shipment?

Kind regards, Andre

October 14, 2009 2:30 PM

Kevin Hanegan said:

Thanks Andre,

Glad you like the flow diagram.

I can't speak for product management, but I will let them know there is interest in this type of visu alization in the standard shipment. This specific plot is from a third party charting component called ZedGraph.


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Even i need to integrate some speedometer, traffic lights and other such widgets.

does Spotfire provide such widgets or would i need to build it.

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