Better Dashboards

Working with Microsoft enterprise chart, dashboard and reporting technologies.

Maps in .NET Using Charts?

Posted by milang on February 2, 2009

Microsoft does not provide any built-in data visualization solutions for maps, and outside of Dundas Map for .NET, there aren’t any good .NET mapping tools currently available, so I set out to create an equivalent mapping visualization using a bubble chart.

In theory, the bubble chart should show the relationship between two variables, with an important twist: in addition to defining the x and y variables, you can also define the size of the bubble.  This is relevant when we are graphing world data because size becomes a third dimension, sort of like an imaginary z-axis on the chart.

My idea was to take the “health vs. wealth” graph shown in Hans Rosling’s TED presentation on third-world myths and put it into the chart.  I graphed infant mortality rate (defined as the rate of deaths per 1000 births) vs. GDP (PPP) per capita.  I even set the x-axis to be logarithmic like Hans did in the presentation.

After struggling for several hours with it, the result wasn’t as pretty as I thought it would be:

Besides the fact that there appears to be a bug with setting fonts for axis titles on the chart, the USA bubble actually draws over some of the other bubbles.  The legend colors are too small and I had to hack around to get every point to be colored separately.

Bottom line is, the bubble chart is an epic fail as a substitute for a map when trying to visualize world data.  I guess it is back to pestering Microsoft for that .NET map component.  🙂


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