Understanding Heat Maps And Hex Map Tiles


It’s impossible to escape the hexagon’s allure. They have a few key characteristics that make them the ideal shape, particularly for mapping. Although heatmaps are a fantastic tool for visualisation, placing them on a map can be difficult. Fortunately, you can use hex map tiles and hex tiling to get the heatmaps as they give best details about the heatmaps.

In this article we will discuss about hex map tiles and heatmaps, so continue reading.

What are heat maps?

Heat maps, sometimes referred to as choropleth maps, use colors and shades to show the frequency of data in a given geographic area or overall.

You were probably viewing a heat map if you’ve ever seen regional population concentrations depicted on a map. Dark colours are often used to represent high population levels, while graduated shades of a lighter colour are used to represent low population levels. The data being expressed determines what hues or tones you use for heat maps.

Hexagonal Tiling and Hex Grids: How to Properly Use Hexagons

You need a mechanism to associate each point with an enclosing hexagon once you’ve determined that you want to divide your area and collect your data for analysis and display (and you’re persuaded that hexagons are the way to go). This is frequently accomplished by creating (or downloading) a coverage of hexagonal polygons in advance to cover your area of interest. Then, using spatial overlay techniques, each data point is mapped into its appropriate hexagonal container.

To retrieve an ID for the hexagon containing your data, you may simply call a library, like Uber’s H3, if you know the correct arithmetic and construct a global multi-resolution grid of hexagons.

However, once you have your hexagons and your values are tallied, you are prepared to visualise your outcomes. You can choose to remove the 3D hexagonal columns or create heatmaps; the tools are available and ready for use.

Data Hex-ifying

As you can see, tiling maps and geographical analysis using hexagons is nothing new. This indicates that you have a wide range of possibilities to explore and utilise. Amazing hexagonal studies created with ArcGIS, Tableau, R, and most lately Unfolded can be seen all over the internet.


If you work in the GIS industry, you’re already familiar with ArcGIS. It comes as no surprise that they enable themed hexagonal mapping as they are one of the preferred tools for producing gorgeous maps. To provide a hex map with certain outputs, you can both use their tools, which also support some extra analysis.

Use FME to modify your data or combine various datasets if the data requires some treatment before being hexed so that it may be used in ArcGIS. FME is a member of the Esri Partner Network and integrates nicely with Esri products. FME can assist you in optimising before hexa-nizing with support for shapefiles, and even ArcGIS Online.

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