How can I plot 4d data from a csv, using a slider for the 4th variable? I would like to use var1 and var2 as x-y corrdinates, var3 as surface height, and var4 as the time slider.

If I have a csv dat.csv like this:

x y z t
1.2 2.2 3.0 -3.2
2.1 -1.0 3.1 2.3
3.1 -2.0 3.2 0.1

How can I plot this data as a 3-d surface plot with the 4th variable as a time slider? Here is an analogous example I found for a defined function: Manipulate[Plot3D[f[x, y, z], {x, 1, 10}, {y, 1, 10}], {z, 1, 10}]

  • $\begingroup$ This is two separate questions. First you need to have the csv data parsed into a Mathematica array (List, or some other data structure). Look here and here. Then you might use something like Manipulate[ListPlot3D[data],{z,zmin,zmax}]. $\endgroup$ – Jess Riedel Jun 1 '16 at 4:28
  • $\begingroup$ Whoops, in that example, data should have z dependence. If z is something besides the positive integers, use an integer k Manipulate[ListPlot3D[ data[[k]] ],{k,kmin,kmax}]. I suggest structuring the data as data=Table[{{x,y,f[x,y,z[k]]},{k,kmin,kmax}]. $\endgroup$ – Jess Riedel Jun 1 '16 at 4:41
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @JessRiedel! I updated my example to have negatives and decimals. $\endgroup$ – kilojoules Jun 1 '16 at 5:48
  • $\begingroup$ Kilojoules, would you please expand further on what exactly you mean by using "the 4th variable as a slider"? Perhaps you could explain why the answer you received is not yet satisfactory, and provide a larger data set for people to play with as they attempt to answer your question. $\endgroup$ – MarcoB Jun 3 '16 at 21:43

This is dummy data that I hope is illustrative.

data = Flatten[
   Table[{i, j, Sin[m i] Cos[m j ], m}, {i, 0, 2 Pi, 0.1}, {j, 0, 
     2 Pi, 0.1}, {m , 0, 1, 0.01}], 2];
g = #[[All, 1 ;; 3]] & /@ GatherBy[data, #[[4]] &];
lp = ListPlot3D[##, Mesh -> None, Boxed -> False, 
     Background -> Black,Axes -> False, PlotRange -> {-1, 1}] & /@ g;

lp was exported as animated gif:

enter image description here

You could use Interpolation for the slider:

ip = Interpolation[{{#1, #2, #4}, #3} & @@@ data]
 Plot3D[ip[x, y, t], {x, 0 , 2 Pi}, {y, 0, 2 Pi}, 
  PlotRange -> {-1, 1}, Mesh -> False], {t, 0, 1}]

enter image description here

This dummy data uses regular intervals. I do not know the context or the data but perhaps this may be helpful.


It's difficult to tell what your data actually look like e.g. are z values unique etc. But here's a crack at it:

(*Generate some fake data based on a function of x,y,z*)
f[x_, y_, z_] := {Re@Exp[I*z]*Sin[x]*Cos[y]*100, x, y, z*100};
d = f[##] & @@@ RandomReal[{-1, 1}, {10, 3}];

(*Export it to a CSV file with a header.*)
  FileNameJoin@{$TemporaryDirectory, "test.txt"},
  Prepend[d, {"f", "x", "y", "z"}],

(*Import it, telling MMA that it's a CSV file.*)
d = Import[
   FileNameJoin@{$TemporaryDirectory, "test.txt"}
   , "CSV"
d = Rest@d; (*Drop the header.*)
d = {#2, #3, #1, #4} & @@@ d;(* Re-order data as: {x,y,f[x,y,z],z} *)
(*Get the plot limits.*)
limits = {Min@#, Max@#} & /@ (Transpose@d);

Since I don't know if your data have unique z values, I just sort by z then gather by z. The entire dataset is now split into sublists each with the same z value. I then plot all the points for a given z, as {x,y,f}, and provide a slider to move through the sublists. The plot title tells you the z value.

  {dnew = GatherBy[SortBy[d, Last], Last]},
    Most[#] & /@ dnew[[z]]
    , PlotRange -> Most@limits
    , Filling -> Bottom
    , PlotLabel -> 
     "z = " <> ToString[First@DeleteDuplicates[Last /@ dnew[[z]]]]
 , {z, 1, Length@dnew, 1}

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. This is not quite what I meant. I want to make this data into a 3-d surface plot with a time slider. I also want to read the data from an external file dat.csv. $\endgroup$ – kilojoules Jun 3 '16 at 23:43
  • $\begingroup$ 1) You can't make a 3D surface plot unless you have many points at the same time, but this will approximate that if your file does end up having many points at the same time; you can always replace ListPointPlot3D with ListPlot3D, but that will complain if you only have one point at some time step. 2) Just change the file name under 'Import', I made my own file since you didn't give us anything to work with. $\endgroup$ – N.J.Evans Jun 6 '16 at 11:45

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