I worked as an analyst in a telecommunications company where we had to do a lot of thematic mapping.
We were mainly concerned with call distribution on the network. I used GIS mapping software to take data about call volume and plot it on a thematic map.
Different regions of the country were shaded with different colors, indicating the ranges for the volumes of calls made on the network. Executives loved this kind of map, because at a glance they could tell where the call volume was.
It was easier to make sense of the data using a map rather than just looking at a large spreadsheet full of numbers. Furthermore, I was able to hone in further on the data, and create additional layers to the map, indicating further subdivisions of the data like what time of the day those calls were made.
Those layers appeared as separate icons-or anything I wanted really. It was a rich, visual display of useful information.