The latest release of Turf includes powerful new functions to aggregate dense point data into grids & heatmaps. In this example, I aggregated and classified hail data for 1955 to 2013 and created an animated map using Mapbox.js.

Try selecting the various visualizations using the buttons across the top. Hexagonal bins in particular are of interest because they often avoid false pattern recognition associated with square bins. In the same article, Johnson also succinctly describes the benefit of binning:

For the user, showing every single point can lead to cognitive overload, and may even be inaccurate, as overlapping points lead to a misreading of density.

The analysis code is open source on GitHub and this data is free from NOAA.

Used properly, heatmaps and grids provide a simple way to visualize massive point datasets so they are easier to grasp. Turf enables apps like this with nothing more than an interesting dataset and a few lines of code.

Want to learn more? Check out our new introduction to Turf and start building your own interactive GIS analysis apps. Have a question not answered by the guides? Let me know at @morganherlocker.