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I am plotting GDP against exports for 134 countries. I have data for three years. For each year I can easily plot these scatter dots and see the relative country positions but I am interested in the change in positions in the graph for each country. In other words, I'd ideally like to plot GDP against exports for all countries for three years in one graph with smooth lines connecting three years for each country showing how their relative positions changed overtime. below is an example of such graph in 2D.

Assume exports in on X axis and GDP is on Y axis then arrows will suggest how position of each country changed over time in the graph. countries on top right corner will show high level of exports and high level of GDP and vice versa. I am interested in figuring out how countries change their long term growth strategies over time w.r.t exports share in GDP. Any idea how to do this?

enter image description here

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Hi Andre. Yes I am open to suggestions thats why I asked the question here. About variable names, assume exports in on X axis and GDP is on Y axis then arrows will suggest how position of each country changed over time in the graph. countries on top right corner will show high level of exports and high level of GDP and vice versa. I am interested in figuring out how countries change their long term growth strategies over time w.r.t exports share in GDP. –  Ali-Jena Aug 3 at 19:44

4 Answers 4

You should be able to do exactly this by downloading the free Gapminder software, or even by using it in the cloud. Here's an example using data not from 3 points in time but from up to 35:

enter image description here

Alternatively, you will have greater control, and will be able to use whatever data you like, if you learn how to use Google Charts in conjunction with R. Both are free as well, but R at least is not a simple matter to learn. See the demo under "Examples."

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Wow @rolando2. I cant believe that you actually went ahead and created the sample. Thanks alot. Let me see if this works straight away with my data. If not then I will come back to you. Thank you again. –  Ali-Jena Aug 4 at 21:58
    
While its a brilliant software, it cant be used for custom datasets. But a good find for later use perhaps. –  Ali-Jena Aug 5 at 21:16

I think if you plot lines connecting the three dots, in order (1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year), with a different color for each country, and the same shapes for each year across all countries (filled circle for year 1, filled square for year 2, filled triangle for year 3), it will be a lot simpler to follow.

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On data visualization questions, it helps if you provide one example (the chart) to illustrate what you are suggesting. –  Andre Silva Aug 3 at 21:39
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I should. When I have the time, I will try. –  traggatmot Aug 3 at 21:40

Tableau Software can easily do this. Build a stand art scatter plot with the two measures, then place a date on the pages shelf to animate the viz ala Gapminder.

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Thank you Dan. I will try to convince my university to buy it :) –  Ali-Jena Aug 4 at 21:59
    
So I tried this software. I was able to plot it and I can put years on page column which gives me different graphs for different years. i want to have all years in one graph. Also I couldnt figure out how to define data labels as country names. Country names are automatically defined as catergories in Tableau (which can be converted to variables) but I dont know how to use this information to define data labels are countries. –  Ali-Jena Aug 5 at 21:19

You could also take GDP/export as a (calculated) measure in itself and use parallel coordinates for the 3 years. This would be the clearest representation. Drawback: it does not in itself show the difference between countries with high GDP and high export, versus those with lore GDP and low export. If you want that information as well, you might (a) use opacity for that, or (b) just add an additional coordinate (vertical line) with the average GDP over the 3 years.

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This is a nice idea. But it will not serve my purpose. Ultimate goal of this exercise is to plot all these countries in the graph then divide the graph in four quadrants and then see which countries moved from one quadrant to another during last three years. Your method will certainly give me time dimension but it will only have three point on horizontal axis because of which each country will be someplace in one of the three vertical lines. After this I will not be able to get my quadrants. See the picture in question. The movement across the quadrants is something I am interested in. –  Ali-Jena Aug 7 at 9:29

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