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Nomograms for more than three variables can be constructed by incorporating a grid of scales for two of the variables, or by concatenating individual nomograms of fewer numbers of variables into a compound nomogram.Nomograms have been used in an extensive array of applications.The known values of the calculation are marked on the scales for those variables, and a line is drawn between these marks.
The user does not even need to know the underlying equation the nomogram represents.The result is obtained by laying a straightedge across the known values on the scales and reading the unknown value from where it crosses the scale for that variable.The virtual or drawn line created by the straightedge is called an index line or isopleth.Like a slide rule, a nomogram is a graphical analog computation device, and like the slide rule, its accuracy is limited by the precision with which physical markings can be drawn, reproduced, viewed, and aligned.
While the slide rule is intended to be a general-purpose device, a nomogram is designed to perform a specific calculation, with tables of values effectively built into the construction of the scales.
Nomograms are typically used in applications where the level of accuracy they offer is sufficient and useful.