A heat map is a two-dimensional representation of data where colors are assigned to data values.
One of the most common heat maps is based on a time span of a year (see below). Each column is a day of the year, while each row is a time of day. The color of each part of the grid shows the quantity from the data.
More complex heat maps can display more complex data, including data that has a spatial component, but all heat maps use color to communicate relationships between data values that would be harder to grasp in a table with numbers alone.
Heat maps have been used since the 1950s. Early heat maps were used by scientists; for instance, in biology heat maps can be used to represent genes.
More recently, heat maps have been used to display the areas of a web page that are most frequently scanned by a viewer.
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