The illustrations formed by the SOM can be used as such, as tools for gaining insight into a data set. They can also be used to summarize data sets, together with the results of explorative research, or even as a decision-support system (DSS) (cf. Serrano-Cinca, 1996).
The SOM can be used in facilitating exploration of a data set, searching for known kinds of data, filtering of new incoming data, as well as visualization of the results.
The SOM can also be used for extracting clusters automatically [Lampinen and Oja, 1992, Murtagh, 1995, Pedrycz and Card, 1992, Varfis and Versino, 1992], and for rule extraction [Ultsch, 1993a].