Monday, October 13, 2014

Mapping Napoleon's Russian Invasion

Charles Minard was a pioneer of the use of graphics in engineering and statistics. Probably his most famous creation was his flow-map of Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign.

There have been a number of attempts at recreating Minard's Napoleon campaign flow-map using modern interactive online maps. Minard + Napoleon is probably the best attempt yet. One reason the map is so successful is that it overlays Minard's original flow-map and then adds interactivity on top.

Minard's flow map visualizes the eastward march of Napoleon's army, showing where units split off and rejoined, the declining size of the army and the freezing temperatures (by date). The Minard + Napoleon map has added interactivity to the original Minard map, which allows you to click on the flow-map to view the date and also an interactive chart plotting the army size by date.

Napoleon's March is another good attempt at creating a modern slippy map visualization of the Napoleonic army's movements and dwindling size. The map includes interactive buttons along the flow-map which allows you to view the number of survivors by location.

However this map doesn't include Minard's temperature chart which visualizes the freezing temperatures faced by Napoleon's army as they pushed eastwards. The map also doesn't include the dates.

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