A brief history of data visualization

Attila Bátorfy, ELTE MMI, Budapest

Why we visualize data?

  • Representation
    analysis, seeing, understanding
  • Argumentation
    highlight, enlight, demonstration, proof 

Why we visualize data?

  • Data visualization is a visual rhetoric form which uses mostly abstract visual signs for highlight, demonstration, enhance, convince or debunk. 
  • monosemic

Why we visualize data?

Not how to see, but how to read the meaning of the visual signs - semiology/diagrammatology

Visual signs

point                                  line                                        shape                                     form

Attributes

position                               length                         direction                         angle

    shape                               size                                colour                         shade

Reading

Position              Length                Angle               Direction             Size                   Colour

Growth


Decreasement

 

Pattern

 

Outlie

 

Noize

Meaning

  • title
  • legend
  • annotation
  • axis
  • source
  • explanation

Process

Sign

Attributes

Meaning

Representative

Narrative

Argumentation

Style

Semiotics

Diagrammatology

In the family of images

?

In the family of images

  • art history
    Gombrich, Elkins (epistemic image)
     
  • visual cultural studies
    Mitchell, Boehm (pictorial turn, iconic turn)
     
  • Bildwissenschaft
    Bredekamp (technical image)

In the family of images

diagrams (schematic image)

plans

pictograms

genealogies

knowledge trees
maps

scientific images (microscope)

scientific illustrations (anatomical drawings)

?DATA VISUALIZATION?

  • linear, chronological history
    Funkhouser, Friendly, Rendgen
  • history of forms
    Manuel Lima, Rosenberg and Grafton
  • history of ideas
    Bender and Marrinan, Schmidt-Burkhardt
  • Monographs
    Wainer, Berkowitz, Rendgen, Rusert

30 000 BC

950 circa

mid 14. century

mid. 17. century

1769 - Joseph Priestley

1786, 1801 - William Playfair

Minard
1844/1870

Nightingale
1856

Neuraths
1925

Data visualization and visual culture

By Attila Bátorfy

Data visualization and visual culture

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