Archive for March, 2010

The first time I saw statistician Edward Tufte’s 1983 book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, I was astounded!  In Tufte’s examples, I could quickly see entire complex progressions of events.  For me the clearest example that showed an entirely new level of representing information was Charles Joseph Minard’s graphical representation of Napoleon’s 1812 Russia Campaign.  In his seemingly simple diagram, Minard shows five elements: time, geography, direction of movement, dwindling size of army and temperature.  This image can be seen below.  (Click on the image to enlarge.)

Yesterday, in the New York Times, Amanda Cox had a multimedia piece that let people experience the time difference between the top finishers in olympic events.  The time differences can be seen on graphs and can also be heard.  It’s a very simple but because it uses audios in addition to visuals, it goes well beyond what Tufte’s examples are able to accomplish.  Here’s the link to the multimedia piece:




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