How to visualize time series data

Maria J. Danford

As time series details assessment will become extra critical in apps throughout sectors, so does visualizing time series details. The less difficult details is to entry and the extra shareable it is throughout groups, the extra precious it will become. A one time series graph or dashboard, by delivering a visual snapshot of change about time for a given set of parameters, can be worth several prepared experiences.

What we can understand from time series visualizations

Visualizing time series details can support detect designs, outliers that defy people designs, no matter if the details is stationary or non-stationary, and no matter if there is correlation amongst the variables. For case in point, a time series line graph (also referred to as a timeplot) displays values from time. It is very similar to x-y graphs but displays only time on the x-axis. Time series graphs can choose extra complicated types that offer extra context about the details.

Time series details can be queried and graphed in dashboards spanning unique visualization forms. Which visualization variety to use relies upon on which is effective very best for your use circumstance. Time series graphs visually highlight the habits and designs of the details. They allow you to very easily identify designs like trend, seasonality, and correlation.

Let us evaluation some instruments for graphing time series details and some of their visualization abilities.

Time series graphing instruments

Time series graphing instruments typically come with pre-configured dashboards to facilitate receiving started off. Open up supply jobs like InfluxDB (disclosure: I function at InfluxData), a time series platform with a designed-in dashboarding engine) and Grafana are well known decisions for visualizing time series details and offer unique forms of time series plots that make observed details meaningful and less difficult to interpret. As Grafana integrates with InfluxDB, the two platforms are typically employed in combination to visualize details from various details sources and to facilitate sensor, procedure, and community checking.

Visualizing time series details with InfluxDB

The designed-in InfluxDB UI is the entire bundle when it arrives to performing with time series details with InfluxDB Cloud or InfluxDB OSS. The UI delivers the consumer with all the things such as no code instruments to get started off writing details to InfluxDB, visual scripting and querying instruments, the capacity to accomplish details transformation tasks, and alert development instruments. By natural means, the InfluxDB UI also delivers the consumer with highly effective instruments for constructing custom dashboards. For case in point:

  • InfluxDB can visualize time series details utilizing custom graphs from graphing libraries this kind of as Plotly.js, Rickshaw, and Dygraphs.
  • InfluxDB Templates, a set of instruments that consists of a packager and a set of pre-canned dashboards, allow customers to share their checking experience.

Visualization forms out there by the InfluxDB UI incorporate band charts, gauge charts, line and bar graphs, one-stats graphs, heatmaps, histograms, mosaics, scatter plots and tables. 

visualizing time series 01 InfluxData

The band chart displays the upper and decrease boundaries of teams of details about time.

visualizing time series 02 InfluxData

The heatmap demonstrates details distribution on x and y axes the place color signifies details stage focus. 

visualizing time series 03 InfluxData

The gauge graph demonstrates the one most current benefit for a time series and the place it falls in a spectrum.

Visualizing time series details with Grafana

The procedure of location up a Grafana dashboard and integrating it with various details sources is simple. Grafana ships with a element-wealthy details supply plug-in for InfluxDB. The plug-in consists of a custom question editor and supports annotations and question templates.

visualizing time series 04 InfluxData

Two Grafana cells visualize request moments (ideal) and load moments (still left) with a line graph and bar plot respectively.

visualizing time series 05 InfluxData

A Grafana dashboard employed to keep track of InfluxDB full with visualizations about the ordinary procedure load, queries executed, writes executed, series depend, and extra.

visualizing time series 06 InfluxData

A Grafana dashboard employed for software or website checking.

Grafana has a wealthy set of graphing functions and presents a superior amount of customization for dashboard constructing and enhancing. Capabilities incorporate:

  • Dynamic and reusable dashboards
  • Information exploration by ad-hoc queries and dynamic drilldown
  • Logs exploration
  • Visually defining alert regulations
  • Annotations to check out party metadata and tags

Plug-ins can be employed to import details from exterior details sources and return the details in a format that Grafana understands. Different details sources combine with Grafana to develop Grafana dashboards and support customers to extract insights by visualizing time series analytics.

Combining details visualization with highly effective analytics

The electricity of a details visualization resolution relies upon on the companion analytics abilities in the resolution. Time series details scientists and analysts will need the adaptability to completely transform their details in any way they see in shape. They will need to very easily use statistical, dynamic statistical, economic momentum, math, and even geotemporal features to their time series details in buy to put together their details for meaningful details visualization. Flux, InfluxData’s useful question and scripting language, lets InfluxDB customers to achieve all of that.

visualizing time series 07 InfluxData

An case in point of visualizing geotemporal details with the InfluxDB UI.

Flux allows customers to make highly effective geotemporal visualizations. Flux also allows customers to make custom features for anomaly detection. This blog site post on utilizing Flux for anomaly detection highlights why highly effective details visualization instruments call for complementary analytics instruments. It’s almost unachievable to place the anomalous series amongst the selection of like time series in this details:

visualizing time series 08 InfluxData

Even so, the median complete deviation Flux operate, a custom anomaly detection algorithm, will help the consumer to uncover and visualize the ensuing anomalies in that dataset:

visualizing time series 09 InfluxData

Anais Dotis-Georgiou is a developer advocate for InfluxData with a passion for earning details attractive with the use of details analytics, AI, and equipment finding out. She will take the details that she collects and applies a combine of study, exploration, and engineering to translate the details into something of operate, benefit, and elegance. When she is not at the rear of a monitor, you can discover her exterior drawing, stretching, boarding, or chasing just after a soccer ball.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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