What is a contour plot?

A contour plot is a graph that you can use to explore the potential relationship between three variables. Contour plots display the 3-dimensional relationship in two dimensions, with x- and y-factors (predictors) plotted on the x- and y-scales and response values represented by contours. A contour plot is like a topographical map in which x-, y-, and z-values are plotted instead of longitude, latitude, and elevation.

This contour plot shows how reheat time (y) and temperature (x) affect the quality (contours) of a frozen entree. The darker regions indicate higher quality. The contour levels reveal a peak centered in the vicinity of 35 minutes (Time) and 425o (Temp). Quality scores in this peak region are greater than 8.

You can change the number and colors of contour levels.

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