Charts that changed history
What bright spark invented the weather map? Who saved lives when she invented the coxcomb chart? What 82-year-old public transport visualisation is still in use today?
Data visualisation is one of the key skills for delivering marketing insight in the 21st century. It’s no longer enough to have the facts; practitioners must also communicate their findings in a digestible and compelling format.
But data visualisation is nothing new. Ipsos’ Sue Cardwell takes us on a journey back in time to see how and why some of the most pivotal visualisations were created.
Coxcomb / Nightingale Rose / Polar Area Chart
Although advised against using dramatic charts, Nightingale did, persuading Queen Victoria to improve military hospitals by depicting the causes of deaths during each month of the Crimean War.
Flow chart of the losses of Napoleon’s army against Russia
An engineer from Dijon, Minard was sharp as mustard. This “World’s Champion Graph” is just one of several Minard charts which remain famous today.
Galton is also famous to researchers for pioneering the questionnaire and crowdsourcing, amongst other innovations as diverse as fingerprinting and correlation. The word polymath was invented with people like Galton in mind.|
Artist Martyl Langsdorf and the board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
1900-1950 was the “Dark Ages of statistical graphics”, however it yielded potent symbols which entered the popular psyche. Langsdorf designed the clock as a magazine cover (where it remains).
Treemap / Billion Dollar-o-gram
Invented by computer scientist Ben Shneiderman, used to great effect by journalist David McCandless
Treemaps helped visualise computer drive usage. David McCandless used the treemap to help us make sense of the massive sums bandied about in the media.
Photo: Charts by GrapeCity