Saturday, September 26, 2020

Data Visualizations & Vintage Maps

Nombre Quotidien de Trains sur le Réseau de L'Ouest by Émile Cheysson

Anyone who has spent any time browsing through the David Rumsey Map Collection will have realized that not only is it a fantastic collection of the world's vintage and historical maps it also contains hundreds of examples of early and iconic data visualizations. Stanford Libraries has released a new online exhibition which uses some of these early examples of information graphics to explore the history of data visualization.

The Data Visualization and the Modern Imagination has been curated by RJ Andrews, a data storyteller based in San Francisco, and the Stanford Libraries. The exhibition includes many classic information graphics which have gone on to inspire data scientists right up until the digital age. These include such classics of data visualization as Alexander von Humboldt's geographical and geological charts, Charles Joseph Minard's flow maps and Florence Nightingale's rose diagrams.

The exhibition is organized into a number of different sections or chapters. These sections explore data visualizations which have been designed to explain different themes, such as geography, time, economics and nature. The exhibition is a great introduction to the history of data visualization. I'm sure it will also prove to be a great source of inspiration to many modern data scientists and digital cartographers.

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