Last week we spoke to Directions Magazine about how executive dashboards can display business intelligence and KPIs to decision makers. The conversation revolved around whether or not these dashboards should contain a map element.
Although maps are one of the most recognizable forms of data visualization, they take up a large amount of on-screen real estate that can be better used to display more relevant information. That’s not to say that maps serve no purpose in data visualization! If you’re a shipping company that wants to monitor all of the items that are currently being delivered, plotting that information on a map makes the most sense.
A popular alternative that was also discussed, involved path-binding and object-binding to create maps that are relevant to you. By plotting data to a custom path you’re able to create maps of your warehouse and storage area, office blueprint and cubicle placements, or even full human body maps to track injuries.
There’s no clear cut answer for whether or not you should have a map on your dashboard. It depends on your industry, your data, and your preferences. Just because you have a visualization object on your dashboard that isn’t in line with data visualization “best practices”, doesn’t mean that you should let it stop you from understanding the information in a way that’s easily digestible for you.