A scatterplot is a useful summary of two or more variables, usually drawn before working out a linear correlation coefficient or fitting a regression line. It gives a good visual picture of the relationship between the two variables, and aids the interpretation of the correlation coefficient or regression model.
Contour plots (sometimes called Level Plots) are a way to show a three-dimensional surface on a two-dimensional plane. It graphs two predictor variables X Y on the y-axis and a response variable Z as contours. These contours are sometimes called z-slices or iso-response values. This type of graph is widely used in cartography, where contour lines on a topological map indicate elevations that are the same. Many other disciples use contour graphs including: astrology, meteorology, and physics. Contour lines commonly show altitude (like height of a geographical features), but they can also be used to show density, brightness, or electric potential.
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