1975-present: High-D data visualization

It is harder to provide a succinct overview of the most recent developments in data visualization, because they are so varied, have occurred at an accelerated pace, and across a wider range of disciplines. It is also more difficult to highlight the most significant developments (and because we have focused on the earlier history), so there are presently areas and events unrepresented here.

With this disclaimer, a few major themes stand out

  • the development of a variety of highly interactive computer systems and more importantly,
  • new paradigms of direct manipulation for visual data analysis (linking, brushing, selection, focusing, etc.)
  • new methods for visualizing high-dimensional data (grand tour, scatterplot matrix, parallel coordinates plot, etc.)
  • the invention of new graphical techniques for discrete and categorical data (fourfold display, sieve diagram, mosaic plot, etc.), and analogous extensions of older ones (diagnostic plots for generalized linear models, mosaic matrices, etc.) and
  • the application of visualization methods to an ever-expanding array of substantive problems and data structures.
  • These developments in visualization methods and techniques arguably depended on advances in theoretical and technological infrastructure. Some of these are: (a) large-scale software engineering; (b) extensions of classical linear statistical modeling to wider domains; (c) vastly increased computer processing speed and capacity, allowing computationally intensive methods and access to massive data problems.

    In turn, the combination of these themes and advances now provides some solutions for earlier problems.

Added: 2008-07-17
1975
Circular display
Added: 2008-07-17

Fourfold display Fourfold display

Stephen Fienberg portrait Stephen Fienberg portrait

Added: 2008-07-17

USA 1970 Draft Lottery Data, with median and quartile traces USA 1970 Draft Lottery Data, with median and quartile traces

Cleveland portrait Cleveland portrait

1975
Chernoff faces
Added: 2008-07-17
1975
Graphics versus tables
Added: 2008-07-17

Ehrenberg portrait Ehrenberg portrait

1975
scatterplot matrix
Added: 2007-02-01

Enhanced scatterplot matrix Enhanced scatterplot matrix

1977
Cartesian rectangle
Added: 2008-07-17

Wainer portrait Wainer portrait


References:
WainerReiser:1976
1977
Committee on graphics
Added: 2008-07-17

References:
1978
Linked brushing
Added: 2008-07-17

References:
Newton:1978
Added: 2001-07-02

Boxplot of the NJ Pick-it Lottery Boxplot of the NJ Pick-it Lottery

Richard Becker portrait Richard Becker portrait

John Chambers portrait John Chambers portrait

1979
Geographic correlation diagram
Added: 2008-04-04
1981
Mosaic display
Added: 2008-07-17

Mosaic display á la Hartigan and Kleiner Mosaic display á la Hartigan and Kleiner

Hartigan & Kleiner 5-way mosaic of TV ratings (629 x 663; 105K) Hartigan & Kleiner 5-way mosaic of TV ratings (629 x 663; 105K)

1981
Draftsman display
Added: 2001-10-02

References:
TukeyTukey:1981
1982
Brushing
Added: 2008-07-17

References:
McDonald:1982
1982
Visibility base map
Added: 2007-02-01

US Visibility Map US Visibility Map

Monmonier portrait Monmonier portrait


References:
MonmonierSchnell:1983
1982
USA Today weather map
Added: 2005-01-07

image image

image image

George Rorick portrait George Rorick portrait


Rorick used a combination of color, maps, tables, symbols and annotation to transform often dull and incomprehensible information into something more interesting and accessible
References:
1983
Sieve diagram
Added: 2008-07-17

Sieve diagram image Sieve diagram image

Riedwyl portrait Riedwyl portrait

1983
Graphical esthetics
Added: 2008-07-17

Tufte portrait Tufte portrait

1985
Parallel coordinates plot
Added: 2008-07-17

Representation of a six dimensional point in parallel coordinates Representation of a six dimensional point in parallel coordinates

AlInselberg portrait AlInselberg portrait

Parallel coordinates plots for high-dimensional data Parallel coordinates plots for high-dimensional data

1987
Interactive linked graphics
Added: 2008-07-17

Figure 14 from "Brushing scatterplots'' showing interactive labeling of brushed points Figure 14 from "Brushing scatterplots'' showing interactive labeling of brushed points

Added: 2008-07-17

Buja portrait Buja portrait

1988
Interactive time-series
Added: 2007-02-01

DiamondFast image, overlaid time series, aligned and rescaled interactively DiamondFast image, overlaid time series, aligned and rescaled interactively

Unwin portrait Unwin portrait

Added: 2007-02-01

REGARD image: largest annual oil flows into EU, 1977--1990 REGARD image: largest annual oil flows into EU, 1977--1990

Unwin portrait Unwin portrait

1989
Nested dimensions
Added: 2007-02-01

TempleMVV image: 4 response variables vs. age, sex, education TempleMVV image: 4 response variables vs. age, sex, education

TempleMVV image: 4-way association TempleMVV image: 4-way association

1990
Lisp-Stat
Added: 2008-07-17

Luke Tierney portrait Luke Tierney portrait

1990
Multivariate grand tours
Added: 2008-07-17

References:
HurleyBuja:1990
1990
Textured dot strips
Added: 2008-07-17

References:
TukeyTukey:1990
1990
Parallel coordinates plot theory
Added: 2007-02-01

Wegman portrait Wegman portrait

Wegman 1990 - Fig3. Wegman 1990 - Fig3.

Wegman 1990 - Fig8 Wegman 1990 - Fig8


References:
Wegman:1990
1991
Treemaps
Added: 2008-07-17

TreeViz image of files on the HCIL server TreeViz image of files on the HCIL server

Ben Shneiderman portrait Ben Shneiderman portrait

1992
Categorical data graphics
Added: 2007-02-01
1996
Cartographic data visualiser
Added: 2008-07-17

Jason Dykes portrait Jason Dykes portrait

1999
Grammar of Graphics
Added: 2007-02-01

Minard's March on Moscow graphic Minard's March on Moscow graphic

Wilkinson Portrait Wilkinson Portrait

2002
Tag cloud, Word cloud
Added: 2011-04-20

Wordle of Dewey's Reflex Arc Article. Wordle of Dewey's Reflex Arc Article.

Wordle of Skinner's Theories of Learning article. Wordle of Skinner's Theories of Learning article.

Wordle of the Milestones Project. Wordle of the Milestones Project.

Flanagan's Search Referral Zeitgeist The page that many claim started the trend, with measurement of web referrals [Note: only available through the Archive.org database]

Many sources cite Jim Flanagan as the founder of this idea with his Search Referral Zeitgeist Perl script, although the basic idea (of using word size to designate importance) had previously been used by Douglas Coupland in his 1995 novel "Microsurfs". Tag clouds are prominently featured on image/photo websites (such as Flickr), and blogs, where they can be used by visitors to navigate the website by theme or keyword. For an example of a more academic use of this technology, see the attached photos, which were generated by Dr. Christopher Green of York University using the Wordle.com website. These images (made using John Dewey's 1896 article "The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology" and B. F. Skinner's 1950 article, "Are Theories of Learning Necessary?") can be studied to visually compare and summarize the similarities and differences in word usage between these two major psychological texts.
References:
2004
Sparkline
Added: 2007-02-01

Sparkline of the US deficit, 1983--2003 Sparkline of the US deficit, 1983--2003

Sparkline graphic for 4 stocks Sparkline graphic for 4 stocks

2005
Gapminder
Added: 2010-01-26

Buble chart for HIV Buble chart for HIV

Buble chart for the World Buble chart for the World

Hans Rosling Hans Rosling


"The main innovation from Gapminder is so far 'the moving bubble chart' in the form of the Trendalyzer software that was acquired by Google in 2007. Google has made a 2008 version freely available as Google Motion Chart. Gapminder is a non-profit foundation founded in 2005 with a goal of '…increase use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels.” (Rosling and Johansson, 2009).
References:
Rosling:2009
2006
Computational graphics language: ggplot2
Added: 0000-00-00

ggplot2 plot of the diamonds dataset ggplot2 plot of the diamonds dataset


Around this time, software for producing statistical graphs progressed from limited point-and-click interfaces and low-level graphics languages to higher-level computational languages for specifying a graph. This item recognizes the work of Hadley Wickham in the ggplot2, plyr and other R packages, but there are a number of other important contributors to this topic.
References:
Wichham:2010
2009
Chord diagram
Added: 2012-05-04

Circos-D3 Circos-D3

Circos sample panel Circos sample panel


References:
Krzywinski:2009