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I have a map that I've divided up into a grid. I want to be able to show whether a grid sector contains at least one point. Due to the volume of points, it's impossible to render each point on screen, perform some sort of clustering, or get a count of the number of points in each grid.

Currently, if a sector has at least one point, it's shaded green. However, this approach isn't aesthetically appealing (see attached image). Any ideas on a better way to do this?

enter image description here

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If I understand you correctly, you can distinguish the sectors by "contains one or more points" or "does not contain any point". In such case instead of marking the sectors with point(s) I'd rather "unmark" the point-less sectors by making them pale or grayed-out.

However, if you could get at least the number of points in each sector, there would be much more possibilities. If I may ask - what's the problem there?

  • We have billions of points in a database. Calling that data and counting would be costly. – Justin Borromeo Apr 13 '17 at 1:10
  • I understand. However, running a query telling you that there are some or none points is acceptable qua cost? I have no knowledge of your system and I don't want to interfere with it, but perhaps you could arrange some intermediate tables for those points counting, updated periodically? Depending how accurate the points counting needs to be. – Mike Apr 13 '17 at 7:23
  • I'll take a look and see if the write cost is too high. Thanks. – Justin Borromeo Apr 13 '17 at 13:07
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I am also interested what the value of your binary highlight is? Part of the reason why it isn't "aesthetically appealing" are the seemingly artificial rectangles that reach far into the ocean, typically you want to use political boundaries, hexbins or geohashes (rectangles similar to yours) and use either counts (like you do) or metrics (attributes of your data, e.g. property value) for your thematic map.

Next question is what does the user do with this information, can they interrogate details by clicking on the rectangle?

There are technologies out there that allow you to handle large datasets like stream layers on big data stores (example: https://github.com/Esri/aggregation-viewer-client-feature-layer)

enter image description here

  • The binary property is whether or not the box (a geohash) contains any points. Clicking the box should show the points within the box. – Justin Borromeo Apr 17 '17 at 13:26

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