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Heat Map Tool

Last modified: May 11, 2020

Use the Heat Map tool to generate polygons representing different levels of heat in a given area. The tool considers individual records (for example, customers) as sources of "heat" (demand). This can be helpful by rendering a large amount of point-level detail as more intuitively understandable hot spots.

The tool divides the world into grid cells and calculates a heat level for each cell by giving the cell full credit for heat sources within it, and some smaller amount of heat from nearby cells. Cells are then tiled relative to one another and aggregated into polygons.

Configure the Tool

The Questions section has 5 parameters that make the heatmap more specific.

  1. Grid Size: The tool's process is based on grid cells. A smaller grid size produces more grid cells, giving a more detailed map as a result, but takes longer to process. Since the processing time is related to the grid size exponentially, even a small increase in size can impact the run time considerably.
  2. Maximum Distance: This is the maximum distance at which heat from one cell can contribute to the final heat level of another cell. While heat propagation generally decreases with distance, it is helpful to entirely cut it off at some point to avoid excessive processing time calculating insignificant contributions from far away cells.
  3. Decay Function: Cells get full heat from points inside them, and no heat from points beyond the max distance, but in between they must get some fraction based on the distance to the heat source. This is controlled by the decay function. The default (1 - [Distance]/[MaxDistance]), gives a simple linear slope.
  4. Smooth Results: The results of the tool consist of aggregated grid cells, which can look quite jagged. Selecting this causes a series of smooth/generalize operations designed to straighten edges and round corners.
  5. Output Type: The tool produces polygons representing different levels of heat. It can be helpful to have these as either non-overlapping Donuts each containing a single heat level, or as Stacked polygons each containing their own heat level, and all higher levels.

The Input tab contains 2 mandatory fields.

  1. Choose Field: Point (SpatialObj): A spatial object field containing points the represent the heat sources.
  2. Choose Field: Heat (Optional) (Double): An optional numeric field specifying how "hot" this particular point is. If the points represent customers, this might be a revenue figure, for example. If this is omitted, all points are considered to generate equal heat.
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