DataViz History
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YearNameWorkEnglish Translationtag (mostly Work Media LinkAdditional informationCountryBornDiedAgedPerson Link
1630Christopher ScheinerRosa Ursina sive SolRosa Ursina, or the Sun1st small multiplesscienceFirst known use of the idea of small multiples to show a series of images in a coherent display. Visual representations used to chart the changes in sunspots over time.
1644Michael van LangrenGrados de la LongitudDegrees of LongitudeImage ProjectionAmong his contributions were attempts to determine longitude. To show the magnitude of the problem, he created the first (known) graph of statistical data, showing the wide range of estimates of the distance in longitude between Toledo and Rome.
1665Athanasius KircherTabula geographico hydrographica motus oceani currentesGeographic Table hydrograph ocean currentsOcean currentsHydrographyLandmark map of ocean currents, first published in Kircher’s Mundus subterraneus
1669Christiaan HuygensGraunt's life tableLife tablepublic healthFirst graph of a continuous distribution function, a graph of Graunt's life table, and a demonstration of how to find the median remaining lifetime for a person of given age's%20life%20table&f=falseNetherlands1629169566
1675John Ogilby"Britannia" atlasRoad AtlasmapPublished the first British road atlas.
1676John SpeedThe theatre of the Empire of Grate-Britains

The West-Road from London to Bristol; and Its Branches to Several of the Principal Towns, with Their Computed Distances.
Letterpress table - mapmapA stripped-down “map” that combines place names and relative distance with some sense of direction. Here, roads consist of stacks of place names; the title one (“West-Road”) runs up the spine of the page from London at the bottom.
1679John AdamsAngliae totius tabula cum distancii notoribus in itinerantium usum accommodataEngland adapted to use the whole board with a stellar notorious in travelersNetwork diagram on a mapmapA travel map of England showing distances between cities arranged for the use of travellers. Network diagram on a map.
1686Edmond HalleyAn Historical Account of the Trade Winds, and Monsoons, Observable in the Seas between and near the Tropicks, with an Attempt to Assign the Phisical Cause of the Said Wind1st meteorological mapweatherFirst meteorological map, charting the directions of trade winds and monsoons.
1686Edmond HalleyFig. 5 (Halley bivariate plot)Bivariate plotBasicBivariate plot of a theoretical curve derived from observations (barometric pressure vs. altitude), graphical analysis based on empirical data
1693Edmond HalleyAn Estimate of the Degrees of the Mortality of Mankind, Fig. 72D diagramhealthFirst use of areas of rectangles to display probabilities of independent binary events (Halley's diagram).
1701Edmond HalleySea-Chart of the Western and Southern OCEAN, shewing the Variations of the COMPASS1st Isoline-Contour Map?weatherContour maps showing curves of equal value (an isogonic map, lines of equal magnetic declination for the world, possibly the first contour map of a data-based variable)

In 1698–1700, Halley’s explorations in the Atlantic Ocean aboard the fifty-two-foot Paramore, from about 52° N to 52° S, led to this printed map, the first of its kind and the first to use isogonic lines, showing equal declinations of the magnetic compass. It became a model for how to show geographical observations and is recognized as one of the most important maps in the history of cartography.
1712Francis Hauksbee(Line Graph)1st Line Graph?scienceLiteral line graph, inspired by observation of nature (section of hyperbola, formed by capillary action of colored water between two glass plates)England1660171382
1717Giovanni Maria LancisiDe noxiis paludum effluviis, eorumque remediis: Libri duo On the noxious effluvia of marshes and their remedieshealthIn this important work, Lancisi argues that mosquito-infested swamps are the breeding ground for malaria and recommends draining them to prevent it. He believes that trees have important ecological value, and he deplores the destruction of forests.
1746Phillippe BuacheCarte minéralogique où l’on quoit la nature et la situation des terreins qui traversent la France et l’AngleterreA mineralogical map showing the nature and situation of the land that crosses France and England1st geologic mapgeology First maps to show bands or zones of surface geological similarity. (This map is simply an enlargement of the central section of the other.) Guettard utilizes almost fifty symbols to identify the locations of different rocks and minerals, but the main focus of the map are the three bands shown by dotted lines and shaded areas: “Bande sabloneuse” (sandy zone), which includes Paris; “Bande marneus” (marly zone), which he hypothesizes continues under the English Channel to join a similar band in England; and “Bande schiteuse ou metallique” (metalliferous zone).

By Guettard, engraved by Buache.
1752Phillippe BuacheCarte physique ou Geographie naturelle de la FrancePhysical Map or Natural Geography of FranceContour mapgeologyCountour map.
1753Jacque Barbeu-DubourgCarte chronologiqueChronological mapAnnotated TimelinehistoryAn annotated timeline of history (from Creation) on a 54-foot scroll, including names and descriptive events, grouped thematically, with symbols denoting character (martyr, tyrant, heretic, noble, upright, etc.) and profession (painter, theologian, musician, monk, etc.)
1765Johann Heinrich Lambert(Graph of evaporation of water vs. time)Measurement ErrorscienceShowing measurement error. Theory of measurement error as deviations from regular graphed line. Lambert made the observation that "a diagram does incomparably better service here than a table." Use of line graphs applied to empirical measurements/experimental data. Graphical analysis of periodic variation (in soil temperature), and the first semi-graphic display combining tabular and graphical formats.
1765Joseph PriestleyA Chart of BiographyHistorical TimelinehistoryFirst timeline charts, in which individual bars were used to visualise the life span of a person, and the whole can be used to compare the life spans of multiple persons. Life spans of 2,000 famous people, 1200 B.C. to 1750 A.D., quantitative comparison by means of bars.
1765Joseph PriestleyA Specimen of a Chart of BiographyHistorical TimelinehistoryFirst timeline charts, in which individual bars were used to visualise the life span of a person, and the whole can be used to compare the life spans of multiple persons. Life spans of 2,000 famous people, 1200 B.C. to 1750 A.D., quantitative comparison by means of bars.
1768Benjamin FranklinRemarques sur la navigation de terre-neuve à New-York afin d’eviter les courrants et les bas-fonds au sud de Nantuckett et du Banc de GeorgeFranklin-Folger mapGulf StreamhydrographyFirst map of the Gulf Stream, which gave it its name. It is often referred to as the Franklin–Folger map because of Folger’s major role.
1769Joseph PriestleyA new chart of historyHistorical TimelinehistoryFirst timeline charts, in which individual bars were used to visualise the life span of a person, and the whole can be used to compare the life spans of multiple persons. Life spans of 2,000 famous people, 1200 B.C. to 1750 A.D., quantitative comparison by means of bars.
1782Charles Louis de FourcroyEssai d’une table poléométrique
Testing of a polarometric table
Geometric proportional figuresbasicUse of geometric, proportional figures (squares) to compare demographic quantities by superposition, an early "tableau graphique."
1782August Friedrich Wilhelm CromeNeue Carte von EuropaNew Map of Europe1st thematic map?economicsStatistical map of production in Europe, possibly the first economic and thematic map (shows geographic distribution of 56 commodities produced in Europe).
1785August Friedrich Wilhelm CromeGroessen Karte von EuropaGreat Map of EuropeSuperimposed squaresOne of the first comparison diagrams: Superimposed squares to compare areas (of European states).
1786William PlayfairCommercial and Political Atlas: Exports and Imports to and from Denmark & Norway from 1700 to 1780Area Charteconomics
1786William PlayfairCommercial and Political Atlas: Exports and Imports of SCOTLANDBar GrapheconomicsThis bar chart was the first quantitative graphical form that did not locate data either in space, as had coordinates and tables, or time, as had Priestley's timelines. It constitutes a pure solution to the problem of discrete quantitative comparison.
1798Valentine SeamanAn Inquiry into the Cause of the Prevalence of the Yellow Fever in New-YorkPublic healthFirst maps of the incidence of disease (yellow fever), using dots and circles to show individual occurrences in waterfront areas of New York
1801William PlayfairStatistical Breviary

Populations and Revenue of Principal Nations of Europe
Pie ChartInvented in 1801 the pie chart and circle graph, used to show part-whole relations.
1801William Playfair"Statistical Breviary

Bubble plot?
1809William MaclureObservations on the Geology of the United States explanatory of a Geological MapGeologic mapIn 1807 he commenced the self-imposed task of making a geological survey of the United States. The 'father of American geology';sort:Pub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=2&trs=1282
1811Alexander von HumboldtÉtendue territoriale et population des métropoles et des colonies en 1804Territorial Extent and Population of Metropolises and Colonies in 1804
Stacked bar graphCharts using subdivided bar graphs, and superimposed squares, showing the relative size of Mexican territories and populations in the colonies.;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=8&trs=357Germany1769185990
1815William SmithA delineation of the strata of England and WalesGeologic mapgeologyThe first nationwide geological map, setting the pattern for geological cartography, and founding stratigraphic geology.,2000&cvt=jpgEngland1769183970
1816Heinrich Wilhelm BrandesLuftdruck-Vertheilung nach Brandes 6.Marz 1783Air pressure distribution after Brandes March 6, 1783The first weather mapThe first weather map was invented by physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Brandes in 1816, based on data collected over several decades.
1817Alexander von HumboldtCarte des lignes isothermesIsothermal lines
1st graph of isothermsFirst graph of isotherms, showing mean temperature around the world by latitude and longitude. Recognizing that temperature depends more on latitude and altitude, a subscripted graph shows the direct relation of temperature on these two variablese.

Humboldt "raises the bar," literally: this is the first map to show the use of isotherms, a term Humboldt coined for lines of equal temperature. The graph in the bottom right shows the relationship between temperature and latitude/altitude. Despite its pictorial simplicity, the map revolutionized physical geography and all future thematic mapping.
1819Baron Pierre Charles DupinCarte figurative de l'instruction populaire de la FranceFigurative map of the popular instruction of France1st unclassed Choropleth mapChoropleth map with shadings from black to white (distribution and intensity of illiteracy in France), the first (unclassed) choropleth map, and perhaps the first modern statistical map.
1821William PlayfairThe Price of The Quarter of WheatLine-Bar Chart combination
1821Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier(Fourier Ogive Curve)Cumulative Frequency CurveOgive or cumulative frequency curve, inhabitants of Paris by age groupings (shows the number of inhabitants of Paris per 10,000 in 1817 who were of a given age or over. The name "ogive'' is due to Galton.)
1823William C. WoodbridgeIsothermal Chart, or View of Climates & Production, Drawn from the Accounts of Humboldt & OthersColored IsothermsweatherFirst world isothermal chart. Woodbridge was quick to incorporate the latest scientific and educational ideas, here expanding on Humboldt’s concept of isotherms to show the relationship of mean annual temperatures to world climates and crops.
1823William R. GardnerComparative Heights of the Principal Mountains and Lengths of the Principal RiversThe rivers are stretched out in single lines, with the longest on the left combining with the shortest mountains, while the shortest rivers combine with the highest mountains on the right.
1824William PlayfairLinear Chronology, Exhibiting the Revenues, Expenditure, Debt, Price of Stocks & Bread, from 1770 to 1824Line ChartThis volume was intended to be a perpetual publication, adding a year on at the end while removing one from the beginning, so that it would continually present a record of the last fifty years. Here, Playfair’s popular time line has been extrapolated beyond his death (1823) for another year.
1828Adolphe QueteletCourbes indiquant le penchant au crime chez l'homme et chez la femmeCurves indicating the tendency to crime in men and womenMortality Curvepublic healthMortality curves drawn from empirical data (for Belgium and France).
1829André-Michel GuerryLiaison des variations meteorologiques avec les phenomenes physiologiquesLinking meteorological variations with physiological phenomenaPolar-area chartsbasicPolar-area charts (predating those by Florence Nightingale), showing frequency of events for cyclic phenomena
1829Adriano BalbiStatistique Comparee de L'etat de l'instruction et du nombre des crimesStatistics Comparison of the state of education and the number of crimesComparative choropleth mapThe first comparative choropleth thematic maps, showing crimes against persons and crimes against property in relation to level of instruction by departments in France, with André-Michel Guerry.
1830Armand Joseph Frere de MontizonCarte Philosophique figurant La Population de la FrancePhilosophical Map showing The Population of France1st dot map of populationFirst simple dot map of population by department, 1 dot = 10,000 people
1837Henry Drury HarnessPassenger Conveyance Map1st flow mapFirst published flow maps, showing transportation by means of shaded lines, widths proportional to amount (passengers)
1843James Cowles PrichardSix Ethnographical Maps1st ethnographical maps Prichard’s set of ethnographical maps, originally published in 1843, was the first of its kind. In his cover note, he recognizes that “it is impossible to represent in one map the positions of nations in periods of time very distant from each other. These positions vary through the effect of migrations and conquests” [p. 1]. Hence, some anachronism results. In respect to his Africa map, Pritchard admits that much of the representation of the interior is conjectural; divisions of regions and countries is based on authorities. The color key identifies thirty-one different races.England1786184862
1845Léon Lalanne“Appendix Plate 1.” From the English edition of Kämtz’s book, A Complete Course of MeteorologyContour map of 3D tableContour map of a 3D table, temperature x hour x month (published in 1845)

Logarithmic grid (the first log-log plot, as a nomogram for showing products from the factors) (1846)
1846Adolphe Quetelet(normal curve)Normal curvebasicResults of sampling from urns shown as symmetrical histograms, with limiting "curve of possibility'' (later called the normal curve).
1848Heinrich BerghausPhysikalischer AtlasPhysical atlasDetailed physical atlasPhysical atlas of the distribution of plants, animals, climate, etc., one of the most extensive and detailed thematic atlases; most of the maps contained tables, graphs, pictorial profiles of distributions over altitude, and other visual accompanyments including cross sectional diagrams.Germany1797188487
1851Charles Joseph MinardCarte Figurative ... Viandes de BoucherieMap with diagramsMap incorporating statistical diagrams: circles proportional to meat consumption. Published later.
1854Lt. Serjev(Train schedule diagram)Train schedule diagramAn augmented graphic representation of a train schedule for 35 railways stations, between St. Petersburg and Moscow.
1855John Snow1854 Broad Street Cholera MapDot map of diseaseUse of a dot map to display epidemiological data, leads to discovery of the source of a cholera epidemic.
1855Daniel McCallumNew York and Erie Railroad1st Organizational ChartBusinessWith this 1855 chart, Daniel McCallum, general superintendent of the New York and Erie Railroad, tried to define an organizational structure that would allow management of a business that was becoming unwieldy in its size. The document is generally recognized to be the first formal organizational chart.
1858Florence NightingaleDiagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the East"Coxcombs"Founder of modern nursing. Used graphic representation of statistics for social and health reform across the world, including invention of polar area diagram.
1860William Mitchell GillespieThe Progress of Our PopulationNewspaper graphicsMost important person in the early history of newspaper data visualization, credit with many NYTimes charts in 1850s.
1861Francis GaltonSynchronous Weather Chart of EnglandModern weather mapWeatherThe modern weather map, a chart showing area of similar air pressure and barometric changes by means of glyphs displayed on a map. These led to the discovery of the anti-cyclonic movement of wind around low-pressure areas
1869Charles Joseph MinardNapoleon's disastrous Russian campaign of 1812Flow MapPioneer of the use of graphics in engineering and statistics, known for creating what many consider the best graph of all time about Napoleon's Russian campaign.
1869Gustav ZeunerSet of the Living, DeadStereogramThree-dimensional population surface or "stereogram,'' with axonometric projection to show curves of various "slices'' (sometimes known as a "Zeuner diagram)''
1869Dmitri MendeleevThe Dependence between the Properties of the Atomic Weights of the Elements (Periodic Table)Periodic tableScienceThe periodic table used to classify chemical elements according to their properties, and allowing the prediction of new elements that would be discovered later.
1870Leon MontignyLes Elections Parisiennes, 1869Paris election mapElection map of Paris, showing the breakdown of votes by parties
1873Josiah Willard Gibbs(Plot on trilinear graph paper)Trilinear coordinatesGraphical methods applied to explain fundamental relations in thermodynamics; this includes diagrams of entropy vs. temperature (where work or heat is proportional to area), and the first use of trilinear coordinates (graphs of (x,y,z) where x+y+z=constant)
1873Toussaint LouaResume graphique general de l'atlas statistique de la population de ParisSemi-graphic tableFirst-known use of a semi-graphic table to display a data table by shading levels
1874Francis GaltonSpecial Peculiarities (papers)Semi-graphic scatterplotGalton's first semi-graphic scatterplot and correlation diagram, of head size and height, from his notebook on Special Peculiarities
1874Francis Amasa WalkerStatistical Atlas of the United States: Charts showing the distribution by age and sex of the Population of the United StatesAge pyramidAge pyramid (bilateral histogram)
1874Francis Amasa WalkerStatistical Atlas of the United States: Chart showing the principal constituent elements of the Population of Each StateMosaic displaythe use of subdivided squares to show the division of population by two variables jointly (an early mosaic display)
1874Francis Amasa WalkerStatistical Atlas of the United States

Fiscal Chart
Relative stacked barsWalker chose to equate receipts with expenditures and to treat each year’s inflow and outflow as the same in order to emphasize relative aspects rather than absolutes.
1874Louis-Léger Vauthier(population contour map)Statistical Contour MapHealthPopulation contour map (population density shown by contours), the first statistical use of a contour map
1874Georg von MayrZeitschrift des Königlich-Bayerischen Statistischen Bureaus

Fig VII: Linien diagramme im kreise
Journal of the Royal Bavarian Statistical Bureau

Figure VII: Line charts in circles
1st Polar diagrambasicFirst use of polar diagrams and star plots for data representation
1874Georg von MayrZeitschrift des Königlich-Bayerischen Statistischen Bureaus

Fig. VIII: Flachen-Diagramm mit zweimaliger Untertheilung
Journal of the Royal Bavarian Statistical Bureau

Figure VIII: Flat diagram with two subdivision
1st Tree mapbasicFirst use of proportional, divided square in the modern (mosaic) form for data representation
1874Georg von MayrZeitschrift des Königlich-Bayerischen Statistischen Bureaus

Fig XII: Flaschen diagramme im Polygon
Journal of the Royal Bavarian Statistical Bureau

Figure XII: Bottle charts in polgon
1st Star PlotbasicFirst use of polar diagrams and star plots for data representation
1874Georg von MayrZeitschrift des Königlich-Bayerischen Statistischen Bureaus

Fig. XIX (Pferde, Rindvieh)
Journal of the Royal Bavarian Statistical Bureau

Figure XIX (Horses, Cattle)
Two-variable color mapbasicTwo-variable color map (showing the joint distribution of horses (red, vertical bars) and cattle (green, horizontal bars) in Bavaria, widths of bars ∼ animals/km2)
1875Francis GaltonRegression towards mediocrity in hereditary stature, Diagram based on Table ICorrelationGalton's first illustration of the idea of correlation, using sizes of the seeds of mother and daughter plants
1875Wilhelm LexisIntroduction to the Theory of Population StatisticsLexis DiagramHealthLexis diagram, showing relations among age, calendar time, and life spans of individuals simultaneously (but the paternity of this diagram is in dispute)
1877Henry Pickering BowditchShowing relation of height to weight in Boston schoolboys.CorrelationHealthExtensive statistical study of 24,500 children to improve school practice; early ideas of correlation and regression by quoting the "measure of stoutness'', the ratio of annual increase in pounds weight to annual increase in inches height. Includes six charts, showing curvilinear regresions.
1878Eadweard MuybridgeHorse in MotionRecording of motionPhotoPhotographic series Horse In Motion was an early example of both small multiples and photo dataviz
1879Luigi PerozzoNumero Assoluto dei Nati Vivi MaschiAbsolute Number of Live Births MalesStereogramStereogram (three-dimensional population pyramid) modeled on actual data (Swedish census, 1750--1875)
1880John VennOn the Diagrammatic and Mechanical Representation of Propositions and ReasoningsVenn DiagramBasicRepresentation of logical propositions and relations diagrammatically. [Actually, Liebnitz and, to some degree, Euler had used such diagrams previously.] Venn himself did not use the term "Venn diagram" and referred to his invention as "Eulerian Circles".
1882Etienne-Jules Marey(photo of flying pelican)MotionPhotoVizInvention of precursor of motion-picture camera, recording a series of photographs to study fight of birds, running and walking. Marey's chronophotographic gun was made in 1882, this instrument was capable of taking 12 consecutive frames a second, with all the frames recorded on the same picture.
1884Michael George MulhallRailways, capital employed 1882PictogramBasicPictogram, used to represent data by icons proportional to a number
1884Maurice d' OcagneCoordonnées parallèles & axialesParallel & axial coordinatesAlignment diagramNomogramThe first alignment diagrams, using sets of parallel axes, rather than axes at right angles; development of the essential ideas used in parallel coordinates plots. [Using the principle of duality from projective geometry, d'Ocagne (1885) showed that a point on a graph with Cartesian coordinates transformed into a line on an alignment chart, that a line transformed into a point, and, finally, that a family of lines or a surface transformed into a single line'Ocagne%201885&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=trueFrance1862193876'Ocagne
1885Etienne-Jules MareyLa méthode graphique

Fig. 5 - Graphique de la marche des trains sure un chemin de fer
The graphical method

Fig. 5 - Chart of train operation on a railway
Train schedule diagramWith engineer Ibry. Graphic representation of a train schedule showing rate of travel along the route from Paris to Lyon. The method is attributed to the French engineer Ibry, but new evidence suggests that Lt. Sergev had developed this method approximately 30 years earlier in Russia.
1888Émile CheyssonAccélération des voyages en France depuis 200 ansAccelerating trips to France for 200 years1st anamorphic mapsBasicFirst anamorphic maps, using a deformation of spatial size to show a quantitative variable (e.g., the decrease in time to travel from Paris to various places in France over 200 years)
1896Jacques BertillonCarte des étrangers à Paris en 1891Map of foreigners in Paris in 1891Area rectanglesBasicUse of area rectangles on a map to display two variables and their product (population of arrondisements in Paris, percent foreigners; area = absolute number of foreigners)
1898Matthew Henry Phineas Riall SankeyThe Thermal Efficiency of Steam-EnginesSankey diagramBasicUsed Sankey diagram named (but not invented by him) in 1898 in a classic figure showing the energy efficiency of a steam engine.
1900W.E.B. Du BoisThe Exhibit of American Negroes
1901Arthur L. BowleyExports from England and IrelandSmoothing time seriesBasicIn one of the first statistical textbooks, Arthur Bowley (1901) illustrated an arithmetic and graphical analysis of time-series data using the total value of British and Irish exports from 1855-1899. He presented a line graph of the time-series data, supplemented by overlaid line graphs of 3-, 5- and 10-year moving averages. His goal was to show that while the initial series showed wide variability, moving averages made the series progressively smoother.
1904Edward Walter MaunderDistribution of spot centres in latitude.Butterfly diagramScienceUse of the "butterfly diagram'' to study the variation of sunspots over time, leading to the discovery that they were markedly reduced in frequency from 1645--1715 (the "Maunder minimum'').