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What Is a 3D Histogram?

3D histograms provide visual information on storm intensity.
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  • Written By: Maggie J. Hall
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A three dimensional, or 3D, histogram provides a visual display of statistical data, including frequency distribution and covering a specific range. The information presented in a 3D histogram may appear in any number of configurations, including cloud points, ribbon like curves, and vertical columns. Histogram software often creates a three dimensional illustration by using three variables, which include the frequency and the two ranges. Commonly used by photographers to determine color and light spectra, other uses of histograms include tracking weather patterns and analyzing research data.

The components of a 3D histogram include the title and the name of the data represented by of the x, y and z-axes. Each axis is numbered, usually beginning with zero. Range numbers generally increase from this starting point. The horizontal fields, represented by the x and y coordinates, are known as bins.

Each column of the histogram depicts a range of data and is normally shown as a bar graph. Bins are also usually grouped side by side, as the histogram represents a data continuum spanning a designated length of space, time, or other quantity of measurement. The vertical z-axis often denotes frequency of occurrence.

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Photography histograms provide at-a-glance information about coloration brightness, contrast, and saturation. Using red, green, and blue for each axis, the frequency of each basic color in a photograph and all the hues associated with each color are easily viewable on a cloud point type 3D histogram. This type of scatter color histogram illustrates dark and light in addition to overlapping contrast blends. A graph composed of columns or ribbons typically depicts the frequency of each color and hue in a picture, giving photographers information that allows them to make camera adjustments.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) often uses 3D histograms for analyzing the number and frequency of lightening strikes over particular regions. Using information received from light detection and ranging systems, weather stations frequently monitor cloud height, moisture content, and wind speeds of passing storm fronts. 3D histograms also provide visual information concerning storm intensity and location.

Clinical researchers often translate data into 3D histograms that quickly reveal differences or similarities in molecular structures or chemical reactions. By experimenting with data variables, based on various hypotheses, scientists can discover unexpected outcomes. Laboratory histogram analysis inspires medication development and improved treatment for medical conditions. Visual demonstrations also clarify and replace lengthy data explanations.

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