Venngage offers two types of charts for representing data related to geographic location and population statistics: choropleth map charts and bubble map charts.
But how can you determine which chart will let readers and stakeholders visualize your data most effectively?
Let us show you!
Choropleth map chart
Choropleth maps use color to indicate higher and lower values across a regional map.
Viewers can easily identify areas with the highest data rate and lowest data rate are, without having to refer to a table of values.
Here's a choropleth chart we made in the Venngage Editor, showing the distribution of a fictional survey reporting on the number of people per province who love to eat ice cream:
The map, colored with a pink gradient, represents 10,000 people across Canada self-reported that they love ice cream.
29% live in Ontario
25% in British Columbia
23% live in Quebec
and the remaining 23% are distributed across the other provinces.
Without showing exact percentages, the choropleth map clearly indicates:
the highest concentration of people who like ice cream in the darkest color provinces
the lowest concentration of people who like ice cream in the lightest color provinces
When to use a choropleth map chart
Playing around with how you want to visualize your data sets and swapping chart types to see what works best is always your best strategy. But when it comes to picking the best chart for you data, choropleth maps will certainly provide an extra edge when representing:
population data (e.g., density, average age)
political sentiment (e.g., party support, voter turnout)
development indicators (e.g., food access by household, wealth distribution)
public health concerns (e.g., risk factors, birth weight, health outcomes)
weather indicators (e.g., rainfall distribution, soil condition)
horticulture and agriculture (e.g., crop yields, forest cover, plant biodiversity)
technology (e.g., social media use, cell phone adoption)
Bubble map charts
Bubble maps (sometimes called "proportional symbol maps") use circles of varying diameters across a map to represent the distribution and measure of variables.
Bubble maps are helpful for differentiating increments in data sets that are spread across many geographical regions large or small by highlighting specific "hot spots" or relevant parts of the map.
We took the same stats from the choropleth map above and put it into a bubble chart:
It doesn't have quite the same effect, does it? That's because the bubble chart is less ideal for visualizing a smaller data set with minor variations spread out across a large region.
Here's what happened when we made up a bigger data set distributed across a smaller geographical area:
This bubble map chart represents fictional survey respondents who live in the province of Ontario and said they love ice cream.
In this chart, the overlapping bubbles create a "hot spot" that makes it easier to see the part of the province where the highest concentration of ice cream lovers live—in this case, the southwest region of Ontario (makes sense—it gets pretty hot down there)!
When to use a bubble map chart
Bubble maps are useful for representing many of the same categories as choropleth maps, but with an emphasis on:
Displaying data sets with multiple inputs
Showcasing trends and patterns in data sets across geographical areas
Representing growth in data sets across regions, over a period of time