Ask A Cartographer

heat map

June 26 2008 | 5 comments
Categories: ArcGIS Methods, Cartographic Effects, Symbology

I feel silly asking this but I can't find the way to create "heat map" style surface representations in ArcMap. Can you help?

Mapping Center Answer:

No problem, our profession is riddled with ambiguous terminology (one of the reasons I have a job).  The Spatial Analyst has a suite of interpolation tools, and the online help for this area is generally quite good.  The intro. help topic is called Understanding interpolation analysis and the related topics will get you to the rest of what you need to know.

From your follow up email, it sounds like you've got  point data which will be the input to any of the interpolation tools.  Read about the various methods and determine which tool is best for your needs.  You can either set an analysis mask or use the Raster Clip tool after the fact to trim the edges of your raster output to your geography (if needed--the values outside of your geography will become NO DATA).

From there it is just a matter of choosing a color ramp to represent that values in your raster output.  See the Hot Spot Analysis map on mapping center (panel #4) for an example of this process.

Renderer not analysis posted by Richard White on Jul 12 2012 6:38AM
I've been meaning to ask this for a while: why isn't there a heatmap renderer in addition to the analysis tools? This is something that we can generate server side via Silverlight or even MapServer, but can't render directly in ArcMap without creating an actual raster layer.
Density method posted by Yinghui Cao on Sep 24 2014 7:23PM
the answer is talking about the interpolation solution. I wonder why we cannot use density esitmates to make heat maps? The output raster can be easily rendered.

Again, the definition of 'heat map' is still so subtle.
Density maps can also be heat maps posted by Aileen Buckley on Sep 24 2014 7:45PM
I actually working on making some maps of the density of zebra mussels right now, and the areas of high concentrations are like hot spots on a heat map. I think as long as we use due diligence and clearly define how we are using these terms we can safely use them in these contexts.
Heat map posted by Claude Frank on Sep 25 2014 7:08AM
Isn't this one of those features that Esri keeps locked away in Spatial Analyst rather than in the standard toolset?
Kernel density posted by Aileen Buckley on Sep 25 2014 9:29AM
You may be thinking of the Kernel Density tool which creates a density surface from input point or polyline feature class. I am not sure why it is in one toolbox rather than another but maybe the fact that it generates an output raster surface was a reason to put it into Spatial Analyst when it was first created.

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