Thinking spatial: non-geographic representations in Spotfire

Spotfire’s geographic mapping capabilities have long been recognized as some of the best in the business. Spotfire maps have been used to gain insight for improving operational efficiency, such as supply chain point-to-point routing or oil field exploration and discovery. But did you know this same mapping technology can also be used for non-geo mapping? In this post, we explore an alternative to the Spotfire basemaps that allow us to step out of the bounds of the traditional world map.

When creating a Spotfire map visualization, the default map layer is a World Map. This is just one of the many layer types that are supported.   For creating a custom map, it’s possible to specify your own map layer as either an image, SHP file, or WMS map layer.

Consider this example created by my colleague Frank van Praag. Frank is a Senior Solutions Consultant based in Australia.  Here, he’s created an analysis that is used to track common injury areas on athletes, along with the degree of pain that has been reported for each site on the body.  A image was used as the mapping layer, along with an additional marker layer.  The positioning of the markers is determined by X and Y coordinates supplied by the data set.  Because this is Spotfire, everything is dynamic such that the markers will update to reflect interactions from the user (filtering, marking, etc.).  Click here to view this analysis on Spotfire Cloud.

Pain Score Analysis

Here’s another example that uses a store’s layout to provide insight into operational efficiency of the various departments.

RFID Retail Beacon
For creating these types of visualizations, just add a map chart to your page.  Configure it with at least two layers.  The first will be your image layer.  You’ll be asked to select the image file, which will then be embedded with your analysis.  Be sure to set your coordinate reference system to “none” if this is a non-geographic map.  When adding this image layer, it’s possible to configure the image “extent”.  This allows you to set the range of possible values for both the X and Y access.
Image Extent
 Then, add a new marker layer.  For placement of markers you’ll need an X & Y column in the data set.  This is how Spotfire will know how to align the markers over the correct place on the image.
Marker Layer