1800-1849: Beginnings of modern data graphics

With the fertilization provided by the previous innovations of design and technique, the first half of the 19th century witnessed explosive growth in statistical graphics and thematic mapping, at a rate which would not be equalled until modern times.

In statistical graphics, all of the modern forms of data display were invented: bar and pie charts, histograms, line graphs and time-series plots, contour plots, and so forth. In thematic cartography, mapping progressed from single maps to comprehensive atlases, depicting data on a wide variety of topics (economic, social, moral, medical, physical, etc.), and introduced a wide range of novel forms of symbolism.

1800
Coordinate paper
Added: 2008-07-17

Use of coordinate paper in published research (graph of barometric variations)


References:
Howard:1800
1800
Automatic time-series graph
Added: 2008-07-17

Idea for continuous log of automatically recorded time series graphs (of temperature and barometric pressure), also recording the maximum and minimum


References:
Keith:1800
1801
Pie chart
Added: 2008-07-17

Playfair's 1805 Statistical Representation of the U.S.A.Playfair's 1805 Statistical Representation of the U.S.A.

Playfair's 1805 Statistical Representation of the U.S.A.Playfair's 1805 Statistical Representation of the U.S.A.

Playfair's diagram of population and taxesPlayfair's diagram of population and taxes

Spence portraitSpence portrait

Invention of the pie chart, and circle graph, used to show part-whole relations


References:
Playfair:1801 Playfair:1805 Spence:2005
1801
Large-scale geological map
Added: 2007-02-01

Smith's 1815 mapSmith's 1815 map

William Smith portraitWilliam Smith portrait

The first large-scale geological map of England and Wales, setting the pattern for geological cartography, and founding stratigraphic geology. Recently called (hyperbolically) "the map that changed the world'' cite{Winchester:2001}. (Smith's map was first drawn in 1801, but the final version was not published until 1815.)


The first known geological map was produced by Christopher Packe in 1743, and depicts South England. Smith's map is impressivefor its size (about 6 x 9 feet--- printed as 15 separate copperplate engravings for a 5x3 grid), scope (all of England, Wales, and part of Scotland), beauty (elaborately hand-colored)and detail. More importantly, he was the first to discover that the strata of England were in a definite order and the first to show that their fossil contents were in the same order.
References:
Smith:1815 Morton:1992
1809
Least squares method
Added: 2007-02-01

Methods of determining an orbit from at least three observations; presentation of the least squares method


References:
Gauss:1809
1810
Central Limit Theorem
Added: 2012-06-12

The central limit theorem explains why many distributions tend to be close to the normal distribution. The key ingredient is that the random variable being observed should be the sum or mean of many independent identically distributed random variables.


References:
Laplace:1812
1811
Subdivided bar graph
Added: 2008-07-17

Cross-section diagram of the Chimborazo, 1805--07Cross-section diagram of the Chimborazo, 1805--07

von Humboldt chartsvon Humboldt charts

Humboldt portraitHumboldt portrait

Humboldt portraitHumboldt portrait
young

Charts using subdivided bar graphs, and superimposed squares, showing the relative size of Mexican territories and populations in the colonies


References:
Humboldt:1811
1816
The first weather map
Added: 0000-00-00

The first weather mapThe first weather map
Brandes describes how the isobars and wind arrows revealed a counter-clockwise circulation over the English Channel on March 6, 1783.

The first weather map was invented by physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Brandes in 1816, based on data collected over several decades.


published
References:
Brandes:1819
1817
1st graph of isotherms
Added: 2008-07-17

von Humboldt isotherms, Annals de Chemie et de physique, 1817von Humboldt isotherms, Annals de Chemie et de physique, 1817

von Humboldt isothermvon Humboldt isotherm

von Humboldt isotherms from Berghaus' 1849 Atlasvon Humboldt isotherms from Berghaus' 1849 Atlas

von Humboldt isotherm iconvon Humboldt isotherm icon

First 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 variables


References:
Humboldt:1817
1819
Choropleth map
Added: 2008-07-17

Dupin choropleth map of FranceDupin choropleth map of France

Dupin portrait, with his mapDupin portrait, with his map

Choropleth 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. (This map dates from 1826 cite[Plate 1, vol. 2]{Dupin:1827} according to Robinson cite[p. 232]{Robinson:1982}, rather than 1819 according to Funkhouser cite{Funkhouser:1937})


This entry is now deprecated.
References:
Dupin:1826
1820
Natural phenomena
Added: 2008-07-17

Faraday diagram of a magnet with lines of forceFaraday diagram of a magnet with lines of force

An increasing number of scientific publications begin to contain graphs and diagrams which describe, but do not analyze, natural phenomena (magnetic variation, weather, tides, etc.)


References:
none
1821
Ogive curve
Added: 2008-07-17

Fourier ogiveFourier ogive

Fourier portraitFourier portrait

Ogive 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.)


References:
Fourier:1821
1822
Mechanical calculating device
Added: 2001-07-02

Babbage Difference EngineBabbage Difference Engine

Babbage portraitBabbage portrait

Mechanical device for calculating mathematical tables (the Difference Engine) [The beginnings of computing as we know it today. The Difference Engine was steam-powered, and the size of a locomotive.]


References:
none
1825
Gompertz curve
Added: 2007-02-01

Gompertz portraitGompertz portrait

Gompertz curve, derived to describe expected mortality statistics for a population of organisms whose probability of death increases as a function of time


Gompertz showed that the mortality rate increases in a geometric progression. Hence, when death rates are plotted on a logarithmic scale, a straight line known as the Gompertz function is obtained. The slope of the Gompertz function line indicates the rate of actuarial ageing. The differences in longevity between species are the result primarily of differences in the rate of ageing and are therefore expressed in differences in slope of the Gompertz function.
References:
Gompertz:1832
1826
Choropleth map
Added: 2008-07-17

Dupin choropleth map of literacy in FranceDupin choropleth map of literacy in France

Dupin cartogram map of FranceDupin cartogram map of France

Dupin portraitDupin portrait

Choropleth 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


References:
Dupin:1826
1827
1st photograph
Added: 2008-07-17

Niepce photo, Point de vue du GrasNiepce photo, Point de vue du Gras

Niepce portraitNiepce portrait

First successful photograph produced (an 8-hour exposure). [A type of asphalt (bitumen of Judea) was coated on metal plates. After exposure it was washed in solvents, the light areas were shown by the bitumen, dark areas by bare metal. Exposed to iodine, the plate darkened in the shadowed areas.]


References:
none
1828
Mortality curves
Added: 2008-07-17

Quetelet portraitQuetelet portrait

Mortality curves drawn from empirical data (for Belgium and France)


References:
Quetelet:1828
1829
Polar-area charts
Added: 2008-07-17

Guerry's polar diagramsGuerry's polar diagrams

Guerry barcharts and polar diagramsGuerry barcharts and polar diagrams

Polar-area charts (predating those by Florence Nightingale cite{Nightingale:1857}), showing frequency of events for cyclic phenomena


The plate shows six polar diagrams for daily phenomena: direction of the wind in 8 sectors, births and deaths by hour of theday.
References:
Guerry:1829
1829
Comparative choropleth map
Added: 2008-07-17

Balbi-Guerry mapsBalbi-Guerry maps

The first comparative choropleth thematic maps, showing crimes against persons and crimes against property in relation to level of instruction by departments in France


References:
BalbiGuerry:1829 Guerry:1832
1830 to 1835
Natural phenomena
Added: 2008-07-17

Faraday's iron filing diagrammes, the earliest ever madeFaraday's iron filing diagrammes, the earliest ever made

Faraday portraitFaraday portrait

Graphical analysis of natural phenomena begins to appear on a regular basis in scientific publications, particularly in England. For example, in 1832, Faraday proposes pictorial representation of electric and magnetic lines of force.


References:
none
1830
1st dot map of population
Added: 2008-07-17

Dot map of population of France, 1830Dot map of population of France, 1830

First simple dot map of population by department, 1 dot = 10,000 people


References:
Montizon:1830
1832
Curve-fitting
Added: 2008-07-17

Herschel's graph of position vs time for $gamma$; VirginisHerschel's graph of position vs time for $gamma$; Virginis

Derived double-orbit for $gamma$ VirginisDerived double-orbit for $gamma$ Virginis

Herschel portraitHerschel portrait

Fitting a smoothed curve to a scatterplot, advocacy of graph paper and graphical methods as standard tools of science. ["The process by which I propose to accomplish this is one essentially graphical; by which term I understand not a mere substitution of geometrical construction and measurement for numerical calculation, but one which has for its object to perform that which no system of calculation can possibly do, by bringing in the aid of the eye and hand to guide the judgment, in a case where judgment only, and not calculation, can be of any avail.'' (p. 178)]


See for some history of "squared paper.''
References:
Herschel:1833 Hankins:2006 BrockPrice:1980
1833
Moral statistics
Added: 2008-07-17

Guerry's map of crimes against persons in FranceGuerry's map of crimes against persons in France

Guerry's map of crimes against property in FranceGuerry's map of crimes against property in France

Guerry's map of "instruction'' in FranceGuerry's map of "instruction'' in France

Guerry's map of suicidesGuerry's map of suicides

The first comprehensive analysis of data on "moral statistics'' (crimes, suicide, literacy, etc.) shown on thematic unclassed choropleth maps; bar charts (of crime, by age groupings and months)


References:
Guerry:1833
1833
Graphical rank lists
Added: 2008-07-17

Graphical rank lists, with lines showing shifts in rank order between categories (rank of types of crime from one age group to the next)


References:
Guerry:1833
1833
Population density
Added: 2007-02-01

First classed depiction of population density on a world map (using three broad classes in a dasymetric map)


References:
Scrope:1833
1833
Stereoscope
Added: 2007-02-01

Charles Wheatstone portraitCharles Wheatstone portrait

Invention of the stereoscope, revealing the dependence of visual depth perception upon binocular vision, and allowing production of stereoscopic images


In 1857, Wheatstone also introduced the first application of paper tapes as a medium for the preparation, storage, and transmission of data.
References:
none
1836
Industry and population
Added: 2007-02-01

Population of France, Carte 1Population of France, Carte 1

Taille, Carte 5Taille, Carte 5

First broad and general application of principles of graphic representation to national industrial and population data


References:
Angeville:1836 Dainville:1970
1836
Mapping prostitutes in Paris
Added: 2008-07-17

Duchatelet's map showing the distribution of prostitutes in ParisDuchatelet's map showing the distribution of prostitutes in Paris

Duchatelet's map showing the origins of prostitutes in ParisDuchatelet's map showing the origins of prostitutes in Paris

Extensive data tabulation, time series, and mapping of prostitutes in Paris


References:
Parent-Duchatelet:1836
1837
1st flow map
Added: 2008-07-17

Harness flow map of transportation of passengers in IrelandHarness flow map of transportation of passengers in Ireland

Harness portraitHarness portrait

First published flow maps, showing transportation by means of shaded lines, widths proportional to amount (passengers)


References:
Harness:1837 Robinson:1955
1838
Physical atlas
Added: 2007-02-01

Charts showing temperature throughout the worldCharts showing temperature throughout the world

World map showing the tradewindsWorld map showing the tradewinds

Full colour "ideal'' geologic cross-sectionFull colour "ideal'' geologic cross-section

Berghaus map iconBerghaus map icon

Physical 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


References:
Berghaus:1838
1839
Logistic curve
Added: 2007-02-01

Verhulst portraitVerhulst portrait

Development of the logistic curve, $ y = k / (1 + C e^)$, to describe the growth of human populations


Verhulst showed that forces which tend to prevent a population growth grow in proportion to the ratio of the excess population to the total population. (reference from Funkhouser:1937, p.363 fn(46)
References:
Quetelet:1838
1839
Photographic process
Added: 2007-02-01

Daguerre, Parisian BoulevardDaguerre, Parisian Boulevard

Invention of the first practical photographic process, using coated plates of metal and glass


The first daguerrotype of the disk of the Sun was obtained by two physicists in Paris in 1845 seeand subsequent improvements in emulsion speeds had enormous repercussions for astronomy.
References:
GribbinGribbin:2000
1843
Contour map of 3D table
Added: 2008-07-17

Lalanne contour diagramLalanne contour diagram

Lalanne contour diagramLalanne contour diagram

Contour map of a 3D table, temperature x hour x month (published in 1845)


References:
Lalanne:1845
1843
Polar coordinates
Added: 2008-07-17

Lalanne windrose diagramLalanne windrose diagram

Use of polar coordinates in a graph(frequency of wind directions)


References:
Lalanne:1845
Added: 2008-07-17

Ethnographical map of AfricaEthnographical map of Africa

Ethnographical map of EuropeEthnographical map of Europe

Ethnographical map of EuropeEthnographical map of Europe

James Cowles Prichard portraitJames Cowles Prichard portrait

Ethnographic maps showing distribution of ethnic groups throughout the world


References:
Prichard:1843 Johnston:1843
1843
First Programme
Added: 0000-00-00

Lovelace portraitLovelace portrait

Ada Lovelace was known as the first programmer for her work in 1843 with Charles Babbage. She wrote a series of instructions for his proposed machanical computer.


References:
none
1844
Tableau-graphique
Added: 2008-07-17

Minard Tableau graphiqueMinard Tableau graphique

"Tableau-graphique'' showing transportation of commercial traffic by variable-width (distance), divided bars (height $sim$ amount), area $sim$ cost of transport [An early form of the mosaic plot.]


References:
Minard:1844 Dainville:1970 Robinson:1967
1846
Logarithmic grid
Added: 2008-07-17

Lalanne's Universal CalculatorLalanne's Universal Calculator

Lalanne nomogram iconLalanne nomogram icon

Lalanne nomogram imageLalanne nomogram image

Logarithmic grid (the first log-log plot, as a nomogram for showing products from the factors)


See also: Lalanne's ambitious Universal Calculatorcombining logarithmic and trigonometric calculations (described by Tourn{è
References:
Lalanne:1846 Lalanne:1844 Tournes:2000
1846
Normal curve
Added: 2008-07-17

Quetelet's graph of a binomial distribution, 999 trialsQuetelet's graph of a binomial distribution, 999 trials

Results of sampling from urns shown as symmetrical histograms, with limiting "curve of possibility'' (later called the normal curve)


References:
Quetelet:1846