IdeaCrop Labs

Symbols for Multi-variable Data

Multi-variable data comes up frequently within business intelligence where quantitative values to measure a company’s performance are known as metrics or measures. While there are several approaches for visualizing multi-variable data, they all tend to require large amounts of space to impart the information.

IdeaCrop has done initial work with Moonlite Systems to use symbols to represent multi-variable data compactly. The concepts behind this approach are described in detail in Condensed Display of Multivariable Data by George Moon of Moonlite Systems.

A live example that uses this approach to represent the performance of a company’s stores is available at the following link:

Store Performance Demo

In this example, the performance of a company’s stores is shown on an interactive Google Map. Furthermore, existing entries can be edited, or new store locations and performance measures can be added. Updated values can then be seen on the map once the the tabular data is saved.

Each store symbol consists of three parts with the first part representing store revenue, the second cost, and the third profit. Arrow direction in each part shows the trend of the associated measure from the previous time period. Arrow color provides an alert, where green is a positive result, yellow is neutral, and red is negative. The color in the lower half of each part shows whether the measure met or missed the expected target. The magnitude of the bar in the lower half represents the relative contribution to the company aggregate of the store compared with other stores.