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Thanks to rapid developments in data rendering and visualization software, heat maps have become increasingly popular routes to display information-rich data in both two and three dimensions. The concept of a heat map appears to have emerged from the widespread use of pseudo-coloured surface temperature maps (generated via infrared thermography) that became available in the 1970s and 1980s.
(Babicki et al., 2016) Heatmapper: web-enabled heat mapping for all. Nucleic Acids Res.