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Types of Data Visualization - Detailed Explanation

Types of Data Visualization - Detailed Explanation

In this blog post, we’ll examine various types of data visualization, fundamental visual data formats, and the practical applications of data visualization within the field of data science.

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Types of Data Visualization

Data visualization is a diverse field, encompassing numerous techniques and chart types to represent data. Here, we’ll cover some of the most common types of data visualization.

1. Bar Charts

Bar Charts

A fundamental data visualization type is the bar chart, which employs rectangular bars to represent values. The length of each bar corresponds to the value it represents. Bar charts excel at comparing quantities across various categories, making them a favored option for data display.

2. Line Charts

Line Charts

Line charts are another essential visualization type, connecting data points with lines to display trends over time. These charts are particularly useful for understanding the progression of a variable and identifying patterns or trends.

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3. Pie Charts

Pie Charts

Pie charts represent data as slices of a circle, with each slice corresponding to a category’s proportion of the whole. This visualization type is ideal for displaying the relative sizes of different categories within a data set.

4. Scatter Plots

Scatter Plots

Scatter plots are a popular choice for visualizing the relationship between two numerical variables. By plotting individual data points along two axes, this chart type can reveal correlations, trends, or outliers in the data.

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5. Heatmaps


Heatmaps use colors to represent data values within a matrix. The varying shades of color enable viewers to quickly identify patterns and relationships in the data. Heatmaps are particularly useful for visualizing correlations and identifying clusters in large data sets.

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6. TreeMap


A treemap is a space-filling visualization that uses nested rectangles to represent hierarchical data. The size and color of each rectangle correspond to the value and category it represents. Treemaps are useful for displaying proportions and relationships within hierarchical data.

7. Geographic Maps

Geographic Maps

Geographic maps are a powerful tool for visualizing data with a spatial component. By overlaying data onto a map, viewers can quickly identify trends and patterns tied to specific geographic areas.

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Visual Basic Data Types

Visual Basic Data Types

A fundamental aspect of data visualization is understanding the types of data being visualized. In this section, we’ll discuss basic visual data types and their implications for data visualization.

Numerical Data

Numerical data, also known as quantitative data, represents values that can be measured on a numerical scale. This data type can be further classified into discrete data (countable values) and continuous data (infinite values within a range). Line charts, bar charts, and scatter plots are well-suited for visualizing numerical data.

Categorical Data

Categorical data, also known as qualitative data, represents values that can be grouped into distinct categories. Pie charts and bar charts are popular choices for visualizing categorical data.

Ordinal Data

Ordinal data is a type of categorical data with a natural order, such as rankings or ratings. While this data type can be visualized using bar charts or line charts, it’s essential to maintain the order of the categories for accurate representation.

Time-Series Data

Time-series data represent values measured at specific intervals over time. Line charts and area charts are ideal for visualizing time-series data, as they effectively display trends and patterns over time.

Spatial Data

Spatial data represents values with a geographic component, such as latitude and longitude coordinates. Geographic maps and heat maps are common choices for visualizing spatial data.

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Data Visualization in Data Science

In the realm of data science, data visualization is a critical tool for exploring, analyzing, and communicating data insights. Here, we’ll discuss the types of data visualization commonly used in data science.

Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA)

During the EDA phase, data scientists use visualization techniques to explore and understand the data, identify patterns and trends, and detect outliers or anomalies. Common EDA visualizations include histograms, box plots, and scatter plots.

Model Evaluation

Data visualization also plays a crucial role in evaluating machine learning models. By plotting the actual and predicted values of a model, data scientists can assess its performance and identify areas for improvement. Popular model evaluation visualizations include confusion matrices, ROC curves, and residual plots.

Data Storytelling

Data science professionals often use data visualization to communicate their findings and insights to stakeholders in a clear and compelling manner. By crafting a data-driven narrative with the help of visualizations, data scientists can effectively convey complex information and drive data-driven decision-making.

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Types of Charts in Data Visualization

There is a wide array of charts available for data visualization. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most popular types of charts in data visualization and their applications:

1. Histograms


Histograms are a type of bar chart that displays the distribution of a continuous variable by grouping data into bins. By visualizing the frequency of data points within each bin, histograms help identify patterns and trends in the distribution of a variable.

2. Box Plots

Box Plots

Box plots provide a visual summary of key statistics for a numerical variable, such as the median, quartiles, and outliers. By displaying these statistics in a compact format, box plots enable quick comparisons between different categories or groups.

3. Area Charts

Area Charts

Area charts are similar to line charts, but with the area between the line and the horizontal axis filled with color. This chart type is particularly useful for visualizing the cumulative effect of a variable over time or for comparing the proportions of different categories within a whole.

4. Bubble Charts

Bubble Charts

Bubble charts are a variation of scatter plots, where each data point is represented by a circle (or “bubble”) whose size corresponds to a third numerical variable. This chart type is useful for visualizing the relationship between three numerical variables simultaneously.

5. Radar Charts/Spider Charts

Radar Charts

Radar charts, also known as spider charts or polar charts, represent multivariate data by plotting each variable on a separate axis that radiates from a central point. By connecting the plotted points, radar charts can effectively display the relative strengths and weaknesses of different categories or groups.

6. Sankey Diagrams

Sankey Diagrams

Sankey diagrams are a type of flow diagram that visually represents the flow of data between different nodes. With their unique structure, Sankey diagrams are particularly well-suited for visualizing complex relationships and dependencies between different data entities.

7. Parallel Coordinate Plots

Parallel Coordinate Plots

Parallel coordinate plots are a multivariate visualization technique that displays data points as connected lines along parallel axes. This chart type enables the exploration of relationships between multiple numerical variables and can reveal trends, patterns, and outliers in high-dimensional data.

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Data Visualization Best Practices

Data Visualization Best Practices

To create effective data visualizations, it’s essential to follow best practices. In this section, we’ll discuss key principles to consider when designing your visualizations.

Choose the Right Chart Type

Selecting the appropriate chart type for your data is crucial for accurate representation and effective communication. Consider the type of data you’re working with and the insights you want to convey, and choose a chart type that best suits your needs.

Keep it Simple

Simplicity is key when it comes to data visualization. Avoid clutter and unnecessary elements that may distract from the main message, and focus on presenting the data as clearly and concisely as possible.

Use Color Wisely

Color is a powerful tool in data visualization, but it should be used with care. Choose a color scheme that is visually appealing and easy to read, and use colors to highlight important information or differentiate between categories.

Be Mindful of Data Scale

When visualizing data, it’s important to consider the scale of your data. Be consistent in the use of units and scale, and ensure that your visualizations accurately represent the magnitude of the data.

Label and Annotate

Clear and informative labels and annotations can greatly enhance the effectiveness of your visualizations. Be sure to label axes, provide legends, and include annotations to clarify any important insights of trends.


Effective communication of complex data can be achieved through data visualization, which presents information easily and visually appealingly. To create engaging and impactful visualizations, it is important to understand the different types of data visualization, visual basic data types, and the role of data visualization in data science. With a wide variety of chart types available, the potential for creating compelling visualizations is limitless.

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About the Author

Principal Data Scientist

Meet Akash, a Principal Data Scientist who worked as a Supply Chain professional with expertise in demand planning, inventory management, and network optimization. With a master’s degree from IIT Kanpur, his areas of interest include machine learning and operations research.