Plugins 〉Scatter



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Scatter Panel for Grafana

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At last - a simple yet usable and flexible X/Y scatter plot panel for Grafana with a reasonable amount of configuration options.


The graph panel, built into Grafana is without doubt the deluxe, Rolls-Royce of all Grafana panels. Unfortunately, it comes with some severe restrictions, specifically, it insists of 'time series' formatted data queries, where date (in increasing left-to-right order etc.) MUST be displayed along the X axis. Using the time series data format, Graph insists that the time dimension be returned as a UNIX timestamp, in a column called 'time'. If you data fits this, then look no further - the Graph panel is what you need.

If, however, your data does not meet these requirements - say, for example, you have a table formatted data set - you need something else.

If you have the time and expertise, there is the plotly panel. Based on the well known plotly graph plotting library, I'm sure this can support many, many X/Y chart formats, though it does come with a number of assumptions regarding the data formats it can process. The learning curve or plotly itself is pretty steep, so I set out to create this panel - scatter - to handle things more intuitively.

To start with, Scatter requires a table formatted data set with two or more numeric columns of data.

One of these can be assigned to the X axis, any other - or others - can be assigned to a series of Y axis values and the resulting data plotted as a series of dots. Each series can optionally also show a regression line using one of a number of statistical best fits. More on these lines later.

Getting started.

Everything starts with the data. In this case, a table-formatted Grafana data set with two or more columns of numerical values. Any values.

For this into, I'm using a simple SQL Server data source, querying a table of average child height vs age (the data appears to be real, but don't quote me on this). I have a table called HEIGHT with three fields, Age, Boys and Girls.

Like this: <pre>

Age Boys Girls
5 109.696837335773 109.541676679828
6 115.627250312838 115.398119979595
7 121.114919518384 120.790683951776
8 126.285187093615 126.01172170753
9 131.262623167035 131.349152850971
10 136.187610423329 137.076855097059
11 141.221657358784 143.201525339874
12 146.950111196817 148.711637208893
13 153.627616043882 152.62642835968
14 159.89410578979 155.139181721546
15 164.419476461234 156.693073197084
16 167.282482716353 157.567921769527
17 169.036989740789 158.026194787039
18 170.077288053313 158.304537661364
19 170.835994392509 158.638268921939

</pre> The query itself couldn't be simpler - SELECT * FROM HEIGHT

Putting this in a dashboard, is pretty simple too.

First create a new (empty) dashboard, and press the Add Panel button.

By default, Grafana adds the built-in Graph panel with a timeseries records type selection.

Change the query to whatever you need (in my case, the 'SELECT * FROM HEIGHT' query), and switch over from timeseries to table format. The graph panel shows a message saying 'unable to graph data' and a button 'Switch to table view'.


If you're interested, click the button and review the table formatted data


Now switch the visualization over to the Scatter panel


That's all it takes. On first loading, the panel automatically configures itself, using the first column as the X axis and all the other columns as Y axis to display a basic X/Y scatter graph. Of course, any of these configuration options can be changed to suit your needs.

Configuration options

The scatter panel provides 4 custom configuration sections, in addition to the standard options that Grafana provides for all panels. XAxis, YAxis, Legend and Display. These should be pretty intuitive, nevertheless, I'll describe the highlights of each in turn.

X Axis configuration


The field selector dropdown allows the user to select the column that defines the X axis. In this case 'Age' is preselected by the autoconfiguration as this appears in the first (left most) column of the query.

The 'inverted' checkbox changes the X Axis display from the default left-to-right to right-to-left direction. I've found this useful when displaying data as 'days in the past '

By default, the graph panels auto range according to the data. Hence (in this case) the X axis ranges from 5 to 19. Values entered into the Min and/or Max extent fields override the automatic ranging.

The X Axis Title field - also pre-filled in by the automatic configuration routine can be changed, according to your wishes. The Size and colour-picker dot adjusts the size and colour of - duh - the X Axis title.

Y Axis configuration


This is very similar to the X Axis configuration setting, except that you can pick the number and order of each data set. The colour and dot size can be adjusted according to your preference. A line selector (defaulted to 'none') provides a number of best-fit regression lines, when needed. Note: The regression line feature is somewhat experimental - future versions of the panel are likely to change (enhance?) the way these lines work. (More on lines below)

The Min and Max extent and Title fields work just like the same fields in the X Axis configuration section. The Y Axis title has an additional switch for rotating the text, if needed.

Legend configuration

By default, legends are turned off.

Turning them on adds coloured labels to the top right of the panel like this:


When displayed, the user can click on these legend labels to select or deselect data sets, using the same logic as in the Grafana graph panel.

Display configuration

Finally, a catch-all section for the overall appearance. Specifically to adjust the underlying grid pattern colour (I like using the custom tab of the colour-picker to set opacity to 25% or so)


Also - if desired, the graph border colour and thickness can be changed with the border controls.

Regression lines

As hinted above, each of the Y Axis data sets can display a line in addition to the individual dots. A number of line types are available (this list subject to change in future version).


'Simple' regression line

This adds a simple join-the-dots line between each dot like so:


Note - the dots are joined in the order that they appear in the data query. This works best when the data has been pre-sorted by the query to match the X Axis values. If your lines appear as wild tangles, this means you need to pre-sort your data in your query (Currently, Grafana does not offer a sort-by query transformation, but future versions may add this)

'Linear' regression line

This adds a least-squares best-fit line, of the form image


'Exponential' regression line

This adds a statistical best-fit line, of the form image


Note - This particular data set - height vs age - does follow an exponential relationship, so the result, even if statistically the best fit, is not useful. your data might be different though.

'Power' regression line

This adds a statistical best-fit line, of the form image


Again, but particularly helpful with my test data set, but as they say - 'your mileage may vary'.

I'd like to add a regression for tending to an asymptote - something like image. This would be useful for cases like in my test data set as growth slows down after teenage years. This will have to wait for a future version of the panel. Watch this space.

Wish list

In future version, I plan to add a number of new features, such as these:

  • Tool tips - showing regression coefficients, variants etc. (over lines), and non-numeric fields (over dots) etc.
  • Error confidence areas - show best fit surrounded by shaded area of X standard errors (need to research this)
  • Additional best-fit regression types
  • anything else? - feel free to enter a feature request in the github issues page

For more information, visit the docs on plugin installation.

Change Log

All notable changes to this project will be documented in this file.


Initial Release