1950-1974: Re-birth of data visualization

Still under the influence of the formal and numerical zeitgeist from the mid-1930s on, data visualization began to rise from dormancy in the mid 1960s, spurred largely by three significant developments:

  • In the USA, John W. Tukey, in a landmark paper, "The Future of Data Analysis" (Tukey:1962), issued a call for the recognition of data analysis as a legitimate branch of statistics distinct from mathematical statistics; shortly, he began the invention of a wide variety of new, simple, and effective graphic displays, under the rubric of "Exploratory Data Analysis" (EDA). Tukey's stature as a statistician and the scope of his informal, robust, and graphical approach to data analysis were as influential as his graphical innovations. Although not published until 1977, chapters from Tukey's EDA book (Tukey:1977) were widely circulated as they began to appear in 1970-1972, and began to make graphical data analysis both interesting and respectable again.
  • In France, Jacques Bertin published the monumental Semiologie Graphique (Bertin:1967). To some, this appeared to do for graphics what Mendeleev had done for the organization of the chemical elements, that is, to organize the visual and perceptual elements of graphics according to the features and relations in data.
  • But the skills of hand-drawn maps and graphics had withered during the dormant "modern dark ages" of graphics (though every figure in Tukey's EDA (Tukey:1977) was, by intention, hand-drawn). Computer processing of data had begun, and offered the possibility to construct old and new graphic forms by computer programs. True high-resolution graphics were developed, but would take a while to enter common use.

By the end of this period significant intersections and collaborations would begin: (a) computer science research (software tools, C language, UNIX, etc.) at Bell Laboratories (Becker:1994) and elsewhere would combine forces with (b) developments in data analysis (EDA, psychometrics, etc.) and (c) display and input technology (pen plotters, graphic terminals, digitizer tablets, the mouse, etc.). These developments would provide new paradigms, languages and software packages for expressing and implementing statistical and data graphics. In turn, they would lead to an explosive growth in new visualization methods and techniques.

Other themes begin to emerge, mostly as initial suggestions: (a) various visual representations of multivariate data; (b) animations of a statistical process (c) perceptually-based theory (or just informed ideas) related to how graphic attributes and relations might be rendered to better convey the data to the eyes.

1957
Circular glyphs
Added: 2008-07-17

Use of metroglyphs in a graph Use of metroglyphs in a graph

Diagramming variables in more than 3 dimensions Diagramming variables in more than 3 dimensions


References:
Anderson:1957
1958
Phillips curve
Added: 2006-03-04

The Phillips Curve The Phillips Curve

The Phillips Curve The Phillips Curve

Added: 2007-02-01

Early SYMAP image of Connecticut Early SYMAP image of Connecticut

1962
Modern statistical graphics
Added: 2007-02-01

Kruskal portrait Kruskal portrait

1965
Exploratory data analysis
Added: 2008-07-17

Hanging rootogram for the fit of a Poisson distribution Hanging rootogram for the fit of a Poisson distribution

Tukey portrait Tukey portrait

1966
Triangular glyphs
Added: 2008-07-17

References:
PickettWhite:1966
1967
Theory of graphic symbols
Added: 2008-07-17

Bertin's seven visual variables Bertin's seven visual variables

The reorderable matrix The reorderable matrix

Bertin portrait Bertin portrait

Bertin color portrait Bertin color portrait


Among other things, Bertin introduced the idea of reordering qualitative variables in graphical displaysto make relations more apparent--- the reorderable matrix.
References:
Bertin:1967 Bertin:1983
1968
Graphical rational patterns
Added: 2008-07-17

Bachi number patterns Bachi number patterns

1969
Exploratory data analysis
Added: 2008-07-17

References:
Tukey:1972
1969
Cathode ray tube
Added: 2008-07-17

References:
Barnard:1969
1969
1st interactive system
Added: 2008-07-17

References:
Fowlkes:1969
Added: 2008-07-17

Star plot of crime rates in US cities Star plot of crime rates in US cities

1971
Social indicator reporting
Added: 2008-07-17

References:
Biderman:1971
1971
Biplot
Added: 2007-02-01

Biplot representation of blood chemistry data Biplot representation of blood chemistry data

Biplot representation of ratings of automobiles Biplot representation of ratings of automobiles

1972
Fourier series
Added: 2007-02-01

Fourier function plot image Fourier function plot image


References:
Andrews:1972
1973
Chernoff faces
Added: 2008-07-17

Faces plot of automobile data, by origin Faces plot of automobile data, by origin

Chernoff portrait Chernoff portrait

1973
Social indicator chartbook
Added: 2008-07-17

References:
PresidentBudget:1973
1973 to 1976
Innovation
Added: 2008-07-17

References:
1974
Bivariate matrix
Added: 2008-07-17

CDC map of incidence of stomach cancer CDC map of incidence of stomach cancer


References:
USCensus:1974
1974
Comparative graphics
Added: 2008-07-17

Wainer portrait Wainer portrait


References:
Wainer:1974
Added: 2008-07-17

Friedman portrait Friedman portrait