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I am in a process to create an interactive map which displays sales of a product by region. Based on the data shown there is a possibility that I may find similarities between a few regions and want to visualize them as a group. Something like: China : 20 Japan : 445 USA : 10 Russia : 50 UAE : 200 where the number denotes the sales count for a product.

Now as a user I see these infographics on a map and want to group all regions that have a sales count below 100 and view them as a single group. In this case it is China - USA - Russia should be grouped as Group 1 : naming it as "Regions below 100"

One option is I allow the user to have a multiselect from a list of regions and the have a button that allows the user to Group the selected items. However this shall navigate my focus from the map and I as a user would need to remember the names of the region before grouping them using the list.

Can anyone suggest a more Interactive way to group regions on the fly while I am analysing the map. Any inouts or similar example shall be helpful

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4 Answers 4

Nice concept. I would play with providing a color palette on the side, turning the mouse cursor into some kind of brush or color bucket (like in MS Paint) and using it to fill the countries with different colors.

You can use different tricks to make it clearer that the colors represent groups. E.g. at first you can have one color and label it "group 1", requiring/encouraging the user to rename it into something more meaningful. Once the color is used once, you add another color to the selection and so on. You can have a table somewhere on the side or under the map, summarizing the countries in each group and providing totals if you need them. The live creation of the table with its values will also help users understand how this works and what happens once a country is marked with a color.

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I found a site that has a set of examples for interactive maps with region selection.

The examples are in flash, which is not ultimate, but to utilize as a selection of concepts to find a suitable interactive patterns they work great.

Disclaimer: some are very wonky and have a very unsatisfying look n' feel.

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In data visualization terms, you've described dynamic queries or dynamic brushing on a chloropleth map. Selection of regions on the map is supported through either a second view of the data, e.g., a table containing all countries on the map, or a set of controls. See this paper for a history of one of the more well-known examples of this UI - although this example does not include a map, it easily could.

You will need to create a data model supporting the interactivity described in those examples. This paper gives an overview of that topic.

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If I have understood you question correctly. I am a bit unsure of whether the task is creating a map or analysing the data.

A "Add country to group" button, changing the function of the cursor, is quite a common way, used certainly where there is navigation on the map. Removed example as had changed

If there is no navigation you could try the hover for information and click to add to a right hand pane to display the data. Although is may cause some accessibility issues, if that is a consideration. You could present the data in either a tabular or tile style for easier comparison.

But also consider that the manual selection of map misses the ability to allow the data to do the work for the user.

For example if I have selected China and the sales figures are 100 and there are 8 other countries with data of <100, how are expecting the user to find these? Yes a manual method would be useful, but a automatic way would potentially better complete the task you describe. Once I have selected China, within the information there could be the option to select other countries with Sales of less than (rather than < which everyone struggles remembering) 100. Then the system would automatically select and display these countries.

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