Traditional perceptual maps are created using scatter charts or quadrant diagrams, which are based on two dimensions (X and Y axes). Then data items are plotted on the plane based on their values for the two attributes.
The multidimensional perceptual map does not rely on the definition of any fixed axes. The map is composed of smaller areas (cells), which are characterized by a vector of values that represent multiple attributes (dimensions). The positioning of data items in the map is determined by its calculated measure (usually Euclidean distance) again each cell. An unsupervised clustering technique called Self-Organizing Map (SOM) is used to generate such maps.
The multidimensional perceptual map ca be used in many areas including project portfolio management, project prioritization, marketing research, product evaluation, performance management, portfolio management, etc.