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Finding Minard

If you‚Äôve been following the series¬†on the history of¬†data visualization you should know that this article – a personal tale of excitement and discovery – is a little bit different. You are welcome to go¬†directly to¬†the more standard module on Minard, otherwise I hope you join me for this short story¬†of how the investigation of Charles Joseph Minard’s life and work lead to a shared adventure of discovery.

The Call to Adventure

The following passage from Michael Friendly’s¬†Visions and Re-visions of Charles Joseph Minard¬†jumped off the page when I first read it¬†it six weeks ago:

Already primed with an enthusiasm for the broader catalog of Minard’s work, discovering that his contemporaries were also big fans spiked my curiosity gap. The thought that a¬† Minard map adorned a French oil painting in a¬†gallery somewhere was just too rich. READ MORE

Seeking Minard

After examining the history of data visualization greats I have decided to collect my learnings in the style of history’s data visualization greats. The fifth of these visual summaries is presented and discussed below. You can explore the entire series here.

Minard. Carte des quantités de viande. 1858.

The large¬†thematic map above shows the home country of 300 years worth of European data visualization pioneers, in the style of Charles Joseph Minard’s 1858 quantit√©s de viande¬†examination of the¬†supply of meat to Paris¬†– the first work to size pie chart bubbles and place them on a map.¬†I have so much to get to¬†about Minard beyond this little map READ MORE

Out of the Swamp

After examining the history of data visualization greats I have decided to collect my learnings in the style of history’s data visualization greats. The fourth of these visual summaries is presented and discussed below. You can explore the entire series here.

A pair of pages describe early data visualization pioneers, binned by the age at which they first published a significant chart, READ MORE

Population Cosmos

After examining the history of data visualization greats I have decided to collect my learnings in the style of history’s data visualization greats. The third of these visual summaries is presented and discussed below. You can explore the entire series here.

Stacked bars allow comparison across nations of the total number of early data visualization pioneers,  READ MORE

Chart-maker Biography

After examining the history of data visualization greats I have decided to collect my learnings in the style of history’s data visualization greats. The second of these visual summaries is presented and discussed below. You can explore the entire series here.

Timeline bars to show you the lives READ MORE

A History of DataViz

After examining the history of data visualization greats I have decided to collect my learnings in the style of history’s data visualization greats. The first of these visual summaries is presented and discussed below. You can explore the entire series here.

A¬†map to¬†guide you through the early developments of data visualization, including cartoons of 84¬†key charts, in the style of John Ogilby’s 1675 Road Atlas.¬†This image is sized for web-consumption and¬†is only a fraction of the actual piece which can be properly enjoyed via:

ACCESS BIG 31mb JPG HERE

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DataViz in the Movies

Data visualization often references comics, film, and mythology for inspiration. The emotional and visual nature of entertainment media provide powerful lessons for us on how to better communicate complex information to a broader audience. But just as we benefit from Hollywood’s tips and tricks, feature films also take short-cuts from our world to weave audiences through its narratives. READ MORE

Turning Data into Cash

How to create meaningful businesses with information

Gnome-data-to-cash
Cash-making data gnome, by RJ Andrews

Everyone is giving away all of their data to anyone willing to listen. But beware: the products and services you build (how you get cash) on top of this newfound data lode are not equal. READ MORE

Complex Curiosity

How an engineer renounced control and embraced the real world

From complicated to complex: my journey through spaceships, an MBA and medicine to learn how to work in an irrational, chaotic, complex world. Illustration by RJ Andrews.
From complicated to complex: my journey through spaceships, an MBA and medicine to learn how to work in an irrational, chaotic, complex world. Illustration by RJ Andrews.

I thought becoming an engineer would help me understand how the world works. As a high school STEM nerd, I saw the world as a technical place and a technical proficiency as a practical necessity‚Ää‚ÄĒ‚Ääif you could build a jet engine, what couldn‚Äôt you do? And doesn‚Äôt it sound like fun? And boy did I have fun. I got to work on the Ferrari F430, a stealth warship, and the biggest baddest LEGO set of them all: NASA‚Äôs Space Shuttle at the Kennedy Space Center.

But something was missing. READ MORE