How To Use the Map Explorer Feature

Examples of the Map ExplorerThe Map Explorer feature of Heat Map Explorer helps you find unanticipated insights in your data by letting you rapidly explore different heat maps. Introduced in Heat Map Explorer 2.0, the Map Explorer automatically rotates through the possible heat maps of your data, allowing you to stop at any point and explore further.

Try It Out

To see the full range of what the Map Explorer can provide, go to the Explore menu and select Random. Then press the Play button on the toolbar. A new map will be generated every 3 seconds and shown to you. When you see a map you like, press the Stop button on the toolbar. If you want to go back to a previous map, press the Previous button to the left of the Stop/Play button.

How It Works

Map Explorer rotates through six map attributes: color, size, group by, then by, style and map type.


Use the Map Explorer feature as a screen saver when you’re away from your desk to stimulate conversation with colleagues. Set it to random, press Play and let it run.

In Random mode, the Map Explorer randomly chooses items from each attribute. For instance, it chooses a random column from the Color drop-down, a random column from the Size drop-down, a random map type and so on.

In Sequential mode, the Map Explorer rotates through attributes in order. For instance, for each map change, it picks the next column from the Color drop-down. When it reaches the end of the list, it goes back to the first column and also moves the Size drop-down to its next column. When it reaches the end of the Size drop-down, it switches the Group By drop-down on the Groups tab to its next column. And so on.

Note that the Map Explorer currently doesn’t explore the Cluster style or the All Same Size or All Same Color options in the Size and Color drop-downs.

Restrict Your Explorations

The Explore menuThe sequential mode can take a long time, since it goes through every possible combination of maps in order. Alternatively, the random mode might be changing too many attributes at once for you. Luckily, you can select which attributes Map Explorer should explore.

Open the Explore menu. At the bottom you’ll see menu items for Colors, Sizes, Groups, Map Types and Styles. Map Explorer only explores the checked items. To explore only different groups with different map types, make sure only Groups and Map Types are checked. When you press Play, the Map Explorer will only change these attributes, leaving the Color and Size fields, and the map style, alone.


The Map Explorer can be a quick way to explore different views of your data set to find patterns you didn’t explore. Use the Explore menu to configure it, or just press Play and site back to enjoy the show.