I'm working on a dashboard for regional tourism agencies (both private and governmental). One requirement is to visualize popular connections between points of interest (POI). So for each POI where are people most likely to come from and go next.

The dashboard is aimed at management to answer questions like: what POIs are popular at what time? Which POIs are likely to be visited next or have been visited before (do we need public transport, improve signs, sell tickets for multiple POIs together...)?

What'd be a recommended way of visualizing that? I read through this post on this site and I agree with what was said about the map getting confusing with a lot of intersecting lines particularily in the city center. What would be good alternatives?

I found some circular flow charts like thatcircular flow chart but I'm not sure if there's any benefit of visualizing the data that way of if it's just overwhelming and confusing.

I'd like the dashboard to be more engaging than a simple table with source POI, target POI and number of visitors visiting them both in sequence but I also don't want to overwhelm the user. So I'm happy to find inspiration and recommendations how to best present data like that. Thank you.

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    I really like the question, but it is difficult to give an answer with the given information. What is the need of the users. Are the users travel agents who have to advice clients for the best route? Is it management to see where which routes are the most common? The reason or goal of this visualization has a great impact to the solution. – BrunoH Apr 19 '18 at 10:03
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    @Androidicus I agree with BrunoH but I want to add one thing: this visualisation is intriguing but almost impossible to understand. If your target is something usable (not just - maybe - visually appealing) then a much simpler matrix (each row/column is a city and crosses are routes between two cities) is definitely easier to read and use. Combine it with an heat map and you're probably done (but the number of columns/rows might be prohibitive then an interactive view with some sort of aggregation may help) – Adriano Repetti Apr 19 '18 at 10:34
  • @BrunoH I added clarification. It's aimed at management and governmental agencies to improve marketing meassures as well as infrastructure (public transport, signs etc.) – Androidicus Apr 19 '18 at 10:42
  • @AdrianoRepetti Thank you. I agree that it's confusing. The matrix is a good idea as long as the number of POIs/cities is restricted. But that's probably true for every visualization imaginable – Androidicus Apr 19 '18 at 10:44
  • Yes, it starts to be a nightmare when you have too many columns. Given that upper half and lower half are specular then it might be simplified (columns = rows/2 - 1) but it still grows quickly. That's why some sort of aggregation is required (for example grouping by province, municipality and so on...) and interactively expanding on demand (but showing one column group while keeping all the rows you need) – Adriano Repetti Apr 19 '18 at 10:51

You are right in that the circular flow chart is overwhelming and confusing yet stunning visually.

My idea would be that the user would only be focusing on one POI at a time. This brings forth the concept that the chart should be interactive based on where the user is focused.

This could be done by using a hover-over interaction, when they hover over a particular POI, that POI label and it's connections are brought forward, made larger and clearer to the users (alternating colour could be used also).

For example:

enter image description here

Charts in Google forms are responsive to hover over actions and give the user more detail on that piece of data by highlighting it, expanding it and giving an info popup.


As others mentioned in the comments you could group destinations like shown here:

enter image description here

I think the answer is a combination of both of these.

BTW: Your question is really interesting and I believe it deserves more attention from the community.

  • Someone care to explain the downvote so I can make the answer better? – RobbyReindeer Apr 20 '18 at 7:10

Interesting problem to work on! It reminds me a bit of Mixpanel's functionalities of correlation. Management is mainly focused in the correlation between different sets of behaviour right? So you want to highlight the most popular connections between variables and communicate those in the dashboard.

Mixpanel signal view

Mixpanel tackles the problem by visualizing the separate correlations and differentiating them using a bar chart on strength of correlation.

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