In ArcMap, various tools are available to create heat maps, hot spots, and interpolation surfaces. Use the most appropriate tool depending on the input data and the desired output, as listed in the table below.
|Toolbox||Toolset||Tools||Type of Surface|
|Spatial Analyst||Density||Heat Map|
|3D Analyst||Raster Interpolation||Interpolation|
|Spatial Statistics||Mapping Clusters||Hot Spot|
Although heat maps, hot spots, and interpolation surfaces look similar and the terms used are interchangeable, the concept between these surfaces is different. The table below shows the comparison.
|Heat Map||Hot Spot||Interpolation|
|Definition||To visualize the spread of data. The measured quantity of an input layer is distributed throughout the landscape.||To define areas of high and low occurrences, and spatial outliers, based on statistical analysis.||To predict the values at locations where no data are available based on the sampled data.|
|Input||Point or line features||Point, line, or polygon features||Point features containing z-values (except for Topo to Raster and Topo to Raster by File)|
|Output||A floating-point raster layer||An output feature class containing the z-score and p-value||A raster layer|
|Extension||Spatial Analyst extension||Spatial Statistics extension||Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, or Geostatistical Analyst extension|
|Appearance||Color gradients are used to portray the clustering of data|