Aster Visualizations: When to Use Sunburst Visualizations

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Teradata Employee

Sunburst is a new visualization available in Aster AppCenter.  In this blog post we will focus on this visualization.

What is a Sunburst Visualization:

If you have ever used a Sankey Diagram to depict path and patterns you have probably run into a common frustration:  What do I do when my path is either wide or deep?  How do I save on screen real estate?   Bring on the Sunburst Visual!

The Sunburst technique is an alternative, space-filling visualization that uses a radial rather than a rectangular layout. In Sunburst, items in a hierarchy are laid out radially, with the top of the hierarchy at the center and deeper levels farther away from the center. The angle swept out by an item and its color correspond to some attribute of the data. For instance, in a visualization of a file system, the angle may correspond to the file/directory size and the color may correspond to the file type. An example Sunburst display is shown below.


How does it work:

As you mouse over the various rings of a Sunburst Diagram you begin to see the pattern show on the left.  In the center is a percentage of things or objects that have traveled or belong to that path.  Think of it as visualization compression with respect to a standard Sankey or Hierarchical diagram that contains long paths(horizontally) or many deep types of path options (vertically).

Other thoughts and Uses for the Sunburst Diagram:

If you have ever used a decision tree's function and you have very wide or deep tree nodes you may want to consider using a Sunburst Diagram instead.  Granted a Sunburst Diagram may not be as intuitive as a tree diagram it can be a good way to compress screen real-estate.