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Data Science

Python libraries: data visualisation with Matplotlib

BySkillslash Team| Published on May 19, 2023|5 mins

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Data visualization is an essential tool in data analysis. It helps in better understanding the data, identifying trends, and presenting insights to stakeholders. Python is a popular programming language for data analysis, and Matplotlib is a widely used library for data visualization in Python.

Matplotlib is an open-source library for creating static, animated, and interactive visualizations in Python. It was created by John D. Hunter in 2003 and is now maintained by a team of developers. It provides a variety of plots, including line plots, scatter plots, bar charts, histograms, and more. Matplotlib is built on NumPy arrays and can be used with other libraries such as Pandas and SciPy.

Line plots are one of the simplest types of plots that can be created using Matplotlib. They display data as a series of points connected by a line. Line plots are useful for visualizing trends over time or comparing two or more variables. Matplotlib provides a simple method for creating line plots using the plot() function.

Scatter plots are another popular type of plot that can be created using Matplotlib. They display the relationship between two variables as a collection of points on a two-dimensional plane. Scatter plots are useful for identifying patterns, correlations, and outliers in the data. Matplotlib provides the scatter() function for creating scatter plots.

Bar charts are useful for comparing data across different categories. They display data as rectangular bars with heights proportional to the values they represent. Matplotlib provides the bar() function for creating bar charts. Bar charts can be customized to display horizontal or vertical bars, grouped or stacked bars, and more.

Histograms are useful for visualizing the distribution of a variable. They display the frequency or density of values in a dataset using a series of rectangles with heights proportional to the frequency or density. Matplotlib provides the hist() function for creating histograms.

Matplotlib also provides various customization options for creating professional-looking visualizations. For example, the color, line style, and marker style of a plot can be customized using the color, linestyle, and marker arguments of the plot() or scatter() functions. Titles, axis labels, and legends can be added to plots using the title(), xlabel(), ylabel(), and legend() functions.

Matplotlib also allows multiple plots to be displayed on a single figure. This can be useful for comparing data across different variables or creating subplots to visualize different aspects of a dataset. Matplotlib provides the subplot() function for creating multiple plots on a single figure.

In addition to the basic plots, Matplotlib also provides advanced visualization options such as 3D plots, polar plots, heatmaps, and more. These plots can be created using the mplot3d and imshow() functions.

Matplotlib also allows for the creation of interactive visualizations. This can be useful for exploring data in more detail, zooming in and out, and hovering over data points to see additional information. There are several libraries built on top of Matplotlib that provide this functionality, including Plotly, Bokeh, and Seaborn.

Seaborn is a Python library built on top of Matplotlib that provides high-level interface for creating statistical graphics. It provides a variety of plots such as regression plots, distribution plots, and categorical plots. Seaborn is designed to work with Pandas data frames and provides additional customization options such as color palettes and themes.

While Matplotlib is a powerful library for data visualization, it has some limitations. The syntax for creating plots can be verbose, and creating complex plots can require a significant amount of code. Matplotlib also lacks support for creating animated visualizations, which can be a drawback for some users.


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