Michael Friendly's

The Milestones Project: A Database for the History of Data Visualization

  • Michael Friendly, Matthew Sigal, Derek Harnanansingh.
  • The Milestones Project: A Database for the History of Data Visualization.
  • In Visible Numbers: The History of Data Visualization, Charles Kostelnick, Miles Kimball (Ed.), London, UK: Ashgate Press, Ch. 10, 2012.
  • [In press]

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Methods of data visualization have evolved substantially over their history. Some landmarks in this story were the first thematic maps in the 1600s, the invention of the bar chart and line graph in the early 1800s, and the dynamic and interactive graphics of today. While these developments have been previously detailed in various written micro-histories, there has never been an attempt to collect a complete, macro-history in a single place for study, search or query, and even data analysis or graphics based on this history. The purpose of this chapter is threefold: first, to introduce the reader to our solution: an online resource called the Milestones Project. This web site details important events in the history of data visualization, and enables users to interactively travel through time to see and explore the context that surrounded their developments. Secondly, we present some striking visual examples that deal with conveying aspects of history over time, drawn from this resource. Finally, the Milestones database will be used to showcase how such a resource can serve as ``data'' for \emphstatistical historiography, which entails the use of statistical and graphical methods for the analysis and understanding of historical innovations, developments, and trends.

  author = {Michael Friendly and Matthew Sigal and Derek Harnanansingh},
  title = {The Milestones Project: A Database for the History of Data Visualization},
  year = {2012},
  booktitle = {Visible Numbers: The History of Data Visualization},
  editor = {Charles Kostelnick and Miles Kimball},
  publisher = {Ashgate Press},
  address = {London, UK},
  chapter = {10},
  note = {In press},
  url = {http://datavis.ca/papers/MilestonesProject.pdf},