Once you create a query you can use charts or maps to visualize that data in notebooks, dashboards, and alerts (alerts only support line charts).

This page lists and describes Lightstep’s visualization types.

Area chart

Available for metric data in dashboards and notebooks.

Displays a shaded area for the value. Area charts are helpful when you’re charting more than one metric.Area chart

Bar chart

Available for metric data in dashboards and notebooks.

Displays a bar for the value at a given time point. Bar charts are good for displaying discrete values, like the number of requests.Bar chart

Big number

Available for metric data dashboards and notebooks.

Displays an aggregated value over time as a number. Big number charts are useful when you only need to know the current value of a metric and don’t expect to investigate any changes. When creating a big number chart, note the following:

  • Click under the number to add a subtitle.
  • Because a big number chart displays a single value, you can’t group by an attribute. If you use more than one metric for your chart, you need to combine them using a formula. Big number chart

Dependency map

Available for span data in dashboards and notebooks. Multiple queries aren’t supported.

Displays a map showing services (and optionally operations) dependent on the queried data. You can query on services, operations, and other attributes.Dependency map Learn more about dependency maps.


Available for span latency and distribution-type metric data in dashboards and notebooks. Multiple queries aren’t supported.

Heatmaps allow you to see the distribution of values over time. Unlike a line chart, you can see the number of data points for a particular value, at a particular point in time. Color saturation in the map represents the amount of data points - the darker the color, the more data points for that value, at the point in time.

For example, in the following heatmap, you can see that there are 300 points with a value between 500ms and 600ms around 9:10 am. Heatmap with many data points

But starting at around 9:18 am, the distribution of data points shifts. There are now a number of points in the higher range of latency and fewer data points at the lower range (many of the dark blue cells changed to a lighter blue). The legend on the right shows the range of color values. Heatmap change

Line chart

Available for all data.

Displays a line that connects the charted values.Line chart

Scatter plot

Available for spans_sample queries in dashboards and notebooks. Scatter plots don’t support multiple queries.

Scatter plots display spans_sample results, visualizing spans and the traces they come from.

In the example below, the query returns spans from traces where at least one span has operation == GET. The scatter plot visualizes the results:

  • Green points are spans without errors.
  • Red triangles are spans with errors.

Scatter plot with spans

Visit Use scatter plots and UQL reference to learn more about spans_sample queries and scatter plots.