What is a Data Map and how do I create a Data Map?
A data map in BigPicture is a graphical analog of a pivot table in Excel. The goal of each is to break down data by category, or as many users say, to slice and dice the data. A pivot table shows the breakdown in a table, possibly accompanied by a pivot chart. A data map shows the breakdown in a map.
You can Ctrl+click the following link to watch a video about data maps: http://www.palisade.com/BigPicture/Intro/EN/DataMaps/
Create an appropriate data set
The data set should be arranged similarly to the sales data shown here. (This is from one of the example spreadsheets under BigPicture Help.) Each column should represent an attribute, in this case of a sale, each row should represent a record, in this case a sale, and the top row should contain column headings. There will typically be categorical columns for breakdowns, and there will typically be numeric columns to summarize.
Create picture files
If you want the map to show pictures in topics, you can create picture files to associate with your data and store them in a folder of your choice. The names of these picture files should match the text in some column of the data set. In the above data set, for example, there could be pictures of the countries in column A, with names such as Argentina.jpg (or some other graphics file extension).
Fill in the Data Map dialog box
Click the Data Map item on the BigPicture ribbon to bring up the tabbed Data Map dialog box. Then fill it in as discussed in the following steps. They use the above sales data set for illustration.
In the Definition tab, you specify the data range and the columns to use for breakdowns. BigPicture calls these the grouped topics. In this case, sales will be broken down first by year, then by region, and then by product category. Each of these grouped topics will represent a "level" of the map. Typically, each of the grouped topics will have only a "moderate" number of categories.
End Topics tab
The End Topics are what you will see for each combination of the grouped topics. These can include categorical columns, such as Country and Product, and they can also include numeric columns for summarizing. In this example, totals (sums) of Units Sold and Profit will be rolled up to the grouped topics. For example, total profit will be shown for all 2012 Latin America sales of hair care products.
There are two Calculation Type options for categorical variables, in this case Country and Product. By default, the Summary option is chosen, which means that the map will show a summary by category in the End Table for this variable. However, if you don't want such a summary, you can choose "None" for the Calculation Type, as has been done here for Product.
There are several Calculation Type options for numeric variables: Total, Average, Min, Max and more. Also, there are two "Display End Topics in" options: Tables and Individual Map Topics. The Tables option results in a more compact display, and this is the option you will probably choose most often. Each End Table will include all entries in the data set that share the same values for the grouped topic combination. For example, the 2012/Latin America/hair care grouping will include all rows that have these values in common.
Finally, you can check the bottom Rollup End Topic Count option to see the number of records (data rows) for each grouped topic in the map.
Markers are optional. They allow you to show extra information about each topic below the topic. In this example, country flags are shown. There are actually many marker types available, which you can choose from a dropdown list under Marker Type. For example, the All Countries type is a built-in type with flags for most countries.
Check Data button
BigPicture checks your data sets to find and correct capitalization differences, spacing issues, some inadvertent misspellings, etc. that would keep your Data Maps from being generated properly. BigPicture matches entries in columns used for grouped topics, markers, supervisor names etc. when creating Data Maps. Small differences can cause entries from not being matched properly.
When creating a Data Map for the first time, it is recommended to click on the Check Data button to make sure that your data is set up properly. For any subsequent data maps that you make with that same data, it will not be necessary to click Check Data unless the underlying data has changed.
Create the data map
When you click the Create Map button, BigPicture creates the data map and performs any requested calculations. By default, the map shows the root (all sales) and the first level of topics, along with rollup calculations.
Expand (or collapse) any section of the map
Expand further to see end tables
To see an End Table, expand any of the last level of grouped topics. Because two categorical columns were requested for the end topics, but Summary was chosen only for Country, not Product, the dropdown list in the table lets you see breakdowns by country (one row in the table for each country, as shown here), or by detail (one row for each country/product combination).