Area-Proportional Visualization for Circular Data
Data visualization is important for statistical analysis, as it helps convey information efficiently and shed lights on the hidden patterns behind data in a visual context. It is particularly helpful to display circular data in a two-dimensional space to accommodate its nonlinear support space and reveal the underlying circular structure which is otherwise not obvious in one-dimension. In this article, we first formally categorize circular plots into two types, either height- or area-proportional, and then describe a new general methodology that can be used to produce circular plots, particularly in the area-proportional manner, which in our opinion is the more appropriate choice. Formulas are given that are fairly simple yet effective to produce various circular plots, such as smooth density curves, histograms, rose diagrams, dot plots, and plots for multiclass data. Supplemental materials for this article are available online.