How to create a heat map from shapefile data

Discussion created by tominokar on Nov 3, 2011
Latest reply on Nov 4, 2011 by dkwiens
I'm working on a primate species density project using distribution data from the IUCN. Currently the only way I've found to display density was in qGIS, where I changed the transparency level of all features so that when multiple features (distribution ranges) were overlayed it gave a darker colour. However this is quite difficult to interpret as our eyes naturally gauge the shade of a colour by those immediately surrounding it. So a true heatmap with warm to cool colours would be preferable. I've tried to use the kernel density tool in ArcGIS trial, but apparantly it won't recognise my shapefile as a suitable input. Any suggestions? I'm very new at using GIS software and have only gotten this far by trial and error, so simple terms would be appreciated!

Many thanks.