Milestones in the History of
Thematic Cartography,
Statistical Graphics,
and Data Visualization
Four-fold display Mosaic displays Table lens
1975-present Fourfold display Mosaic displays Table lens
Images: 1975+

9.  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:

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.

Weekly chartbook (eventually computer-generated) to brief U.S. President, Vice President on economic and social matters- Bureau of the Census and Office of Management and Budget (at request of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller), USA
TXT: Measuring 50 years of economic change
``Four-Fold Circular Display'' to represent 2 x 2 table- Stephen E. Fienberg , USA [71].
PIC: Stephen Fienberg portrait (368 x 368; 68K)
IMG: Fourfold display (258 x 254; 2K), from [81]
TXT: Friendly (1994) paper (.ps.gz format)
TXT: Fienberg CV and portrait
Enhancement of scatterplot with plots of three moving statistics (midmean and lower and upper semimidmean)- William S. Cleveland and Beat Kleiner , USA [47]
PIC: Cleveland portrait (210 x 256; 31K)
IMG: USA 1970 Draft Lottery Data, with median and quartile traces (563 x 448; 8K)
TXT: Cleveland bio and papers
Experiment showing random permutations of features used in Chernoff's faces affect error rate of classification by about 25 percent- Herman Chernoff (1923-) and M. H. Rizvi , USA [43].
TXT: Chernoff faces
Experimental tests of statistical graphics vs tables, findings favoring latter- Andrew S. C. Ehrenberg , England [64,65].
PIC: Ehrenberg portrait (270 x 211; 5.4K)
TXT: Summarising and presenting data- Rules for tables
Scatterplot matrix, the idea of plotting all pairwise scatterplots for n variables in a tabular display- John Hartigan , USA [125]. Added:: 03/16/07:MF
PIC: Hartigan portrait (108 x 145; 21K)
IMG: Simple scatterplot matrix (248 x 248; 2.6K)
IMG: Enhanced scatterplot matrix (349 x 279; 5K)
Monthly USA Government chartbook of economic and social trends (StatUS)- U.S. Bureau of the Census , USA [302]
TXT: US Bureau of Census home page
``Cartesian rectangle'' to represent 2 x 2 table, experimentally tested against other forms- Howard Wainer and Mark Reiser , USA [313]
Ad Hoc Committee on Statistical Graphics, leading to the ASA Section on Statistical Graphics, later to the Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics- American Statistical Association , USA
Original invention of linked brushing (highlighting of observations selected in one display in another display of the same data), although in a manner different from how we see it in today's systems- Carol Newton , USA [212].
S, a language and environment for statistical computation and graphics. S (later sold as a commercial package, S-Plus; more recently, a public-domain implementation, R is widely available), would become a lingua franca for statistical computation and graphics- Richard A. Becker and John M. Chambers , Bell Labs, USA [18,17,16]. Added:: 01/07/02
PIC: Richard Becker portrait (200 x 300; 39K)
IMG: Boxplot of the NJ Pick-it Lottery (160 x 124; 28K)
TXT: A Brief History of S (Postscript)
TXT: The R Project for Statistical Computing
Geographic correlation diagram, showing the bivariate relation between two spatially referenced variables using vectors to represent geographic covariation- Mark Monmonier , USA [200] Added:: 08/04/04
PIC: Monmonier portrait
TXT: Monmonier bio
Mosaic display to represent frequencies in a multiway contingency table- John Hartigan and Beat Kleiner , USA [126,127]. See also:[84].
IMG: Mosaic display á la Hartigan and Kleiner (339 x 366; 3K)
FIG: Hartigan & Kleiner 5-way mosaic of TV ratings (629 x 663; 105K)
TXT: A Brief History of the Mosaic Display (pdf)
Fisheye view: an idea to provide focus and greater detail in areas of interest of a large amount of information, while retaining the surrounding context in much less detail- George W. Furnas , USA [93].
IMG: Fisheye view of central Washington, D.C. (207 x 207; 14K)
FIG: Fisheye view of central Washington, D.C. (512 x 512; 63K)
FIG: Fisheye view of central Washington, D.C. (512 x 512; 63K)
TXT: Nonlinear magnification home page[many references and links]
TXT: Furnas home page
TXT: Generalised fisheye views paper (pdf)
The ``draftsman display'' for three-variables (leading soon to the ``scatterplot matrix'') and initial ideas for conditional plots and sectioning (leading later to ``coplots'' and ``trellis displays'')- John W. Tukey (1915-2000) and Paul A. Tukey , Bell Labs, USA[299]. Added:: 01/10/02
Another early version of brushing, invented independently of Newton, together with a system for 3-D rotations of data- John A. McDonald , USA [193].
Visibiltiy Base Map, a map of the United States where areas are adjusted to provide a readily readable platform for area symbols for smaller states, such as Delaware and Rhode Island, with compensating reductions in the size of larger states- Mark Monmonier , USA [202]. Added:: 10/14/02
PIC: Mark Monmonier portrait (140 x 202; 3.9K)
FIG: US Visibility Map (531 x 335; 5K)
The USA Today color weather map begins an era of color information graphics in newspapers. Shortly, colorful visual graphics become widespread.- George Rorick , USA. Added:: 05/01/07:MF
PIC: George Rorick portrait (197 x 208; 8.8K)
IMG: Weather map icon (196 x 319; 23K)
FIG: Weather map image (357 x 578; 77K)
TXT: The Colorful Origins of USA Today
Rorick used a combination of color, maps, tables, symbols and annotation to transform often dull and incomprehensible information into something more interesting and accessible
Sieve diagram, for representing frequencies in a two-way contingency table- Hans Riedwyl (1935-) and Michel Schüpbach , Switzerland [250]
PIC: Riedwyl portrait (118 x 160; 14K)
IMG: Sieve diagram image (179 x 170; 2K)
TXT: Riedwyl bio and portrait
TXT: Sieve diagrams applet
Esthetics and information integrity for graphics defined and illustrated (some concepts: ``data-ink ratio'', ``lie factor'')- Edward Tufte (1942-), USA [291,292,293]
PIC: Tufte portrait (190 x 218; 8.4K)
TXT: Graphics and web design according to Tufte's principles
Grand tour, for viewing high-dimensional data sets via a structured progression of 2D projections- Daniel Asimov , USA [8].
TXT: Technical report, The grand tour via geodesic interpolation of 2-frames (pdf)
Parallel coordinates plots for high-dimensional data- Alfred Inselberg , USA [146,147,148].
PIC: AlInselberg portrait (1110 x 785; 95K)
TXT: Parallel coordinates- How it happened
TXT: Parallel coordinates visualisation applet
TXT: Java applet, allowing direct manipulation: The Parallel Coordinate Explorer
IMG: Representation of a six dimensional point in parallel coordinates (282 x 174; 2K)
FIG: Representation multivariate data in parallel coordinates (455 x 339; 9K)
Automatic design of graphical presentations of relational data using a computational extention of Bertin's semiology of graphics- Jock Mackinlay , Palo Alto, USA [179,180]. Added:: 07/15/08:JM
PIC: Mackinlay portrait (100 x 120; 5.6K)
FIG: APT generated graphic, 4 variables in a scatterplot (466 x 559; 582K)
TXT: ACM Transactions on Graphics article
Interactive statistical graphics, systematized: allowing brushing, linking, other forms of interaction- Richard A. Becker and William S. Cleveland , USA [19].
FIG: Figure 14 from ``Brushing scatterplots'' showing interactive labeling of brushed points (681 x 566; 76K)
TXT: ASA Video Library blurb for video ``Dynamic Displays of Data''
TXT: Becker bio and portrait
First inclusion of grand tours in an interactive system that also has linked brushing, linked identification, visual inference from graphics, interactive scaling of plots, etc.- Andreas Buja , Daniel Asimov , Catherine Hurley and John A. McDonald , USA [36].
PIC: Andreas Buja portrait (663 x 887; 51K)
TXT: XGobi - multivariate visualization
TXT: Buja home page
TXT: Hurley home page
Interactive graphics for multiple time series with direct manipulation (zoom, rescale, overlaying, etc.)- Antony Unwin and Graham Wills , UK [303]. Added:: 06/27/01
IMG: DiamondFast image, overlaid time series, aligned and rescaled interactively (344 x 97; 19K), lynx trapping data
TXT: Unwin home page
Statistical graphics interactively linked to map displays- Graham Wills , J. Haslett , Antony Unwin and P. Craig , UK [324]; Mark Monmonier , USA [201] Added:: 06/27/01
IMG: REGARD image: largest annual oil flows into EU, 1977-1990 (476 x 359; 30K)
Use of ``nested dimensions'' (related to trellis and mosaic displays) for the visualization of multidimensional data. Continuous variables are binned, and variables are allocated to the horizontal and vertical dimensions in a nested fashion- Ted Mihalisin , USA [194,195]. Added:: 07/16/02
FIG: TempleMVV image: 4 response variables vs. age, sex, education (912 x 585; 290K)
FIG: TempleMVV image: 4-way association (913 x 586; 527K)
Lisp-Stat, an object-oriented environment for statistical computing and dynamic graphics- Luke Tierney , USA [285].
TXT: Lisp-Stat information
PIC: Luke Tierney portrait (198 x 302; 33K)
TXT: Tierney home page
Grand tours combined with multivariate analysis- Catherine Hurley and Andreas Buja , USA [144]
Textured dot strips to display empirical distributions- Paul A. Tukey and John W. Tukey (1915-2000), USA [298].
Lexis pencil: display of multivariate data in the context of life-history- M. Keiding , UK [158]
IMG: Lexis pencil image (394 x 300; 39K)
FIG: Animated 3D lexis pencil, from Brian Francis (360 x 270; 135K)
TXT: Bertin, lexis, and the graphical representation of event histories
Statistical theory and methods for parallel coordinates plots- Edward Wegman , USA [319]. Added:: 12/24/00
PIC: Ed Wegman portrait (176 x 219; 11K)
FIG: Representation multivariate data in parallel coordinates (455 x 339; 9K)
Mosaic display developed as a visual analysis tool for log-linear models (beginning general methods for visualizing categorical data)- Michael Friendly (1945-), Canada [86,82].
TXT: Tutorial description of mosaic displays
TXT: Brief history of the mosaic display
IMG: Two-way mosaic of hair color and eye color (329 x 299; 4K)
IMG: Three-way mosaic of hair color, eye color, and sex (329 x 299; 4K)
Treemaps, for space-constrained visualization of hierarchies, using nested rectangles (size proportional to some numerical measure of the node)- Ben Shneiderman (1947-), USA [265,153]. Added:: 12/07/00
PIC: Ben Shneiderman portrait (110 x 150; 5.9K)
FIG: TreeViz image of files on the HCIL server (636 x 429; 14K)
TXT: Treemaps description and images
TXT: Treemap homepage
TXT: Wikipedia: Ben Shneiderman biography
A spate of development and public distribution of highly interactive systems for data analysis and visualization, e.g., XGobi, ViSta- Deborah Swayne , Di Cook , Andreas Buja [276,37,277], Forrest Young (1940-2006) [329], USA. Added:: 12/22/00
PIC: Debbie Swayne portrait (200 x 370; 14K)
IMG: XGobi screen shot (901 x 682; 29K)
TXT: ViSta - The Visual Statistics System
TXT: XGobi and XGVis homepage
Beginnings of the general extension of graphical methods to categorical (frequency) data- Michael Friendly (1945-), Canada [80,83]. Added:: 12/22/00
Table lens: Focus and context technique for viewing large tables; user can expand rows or columns to see the details, while keeping surrounding context- Ramana Rao and Stuart K. Card , Xerox Parc, USA [247].
IMG: Table lens screen shot (600 x 459; 58K)
TXT: The Table Lens: Merging Graphical ... (CHI, 1994) paaper
TXT: ACM SigChi paper: Exploring Large Tables with the Table Lens, Rao and Card
TXT: Interactive table lens demonstrations, from InXight
TXT: Information visualization and the next generation workspace (pdf)
Cartographic Data Visualiser: a map visualization toolkit with graphical tools for viewing data, including a wide range of mapping options for exploratory spatial data analysis- Jason Dykes , UK [62].
PIC: Jason Dykes portrait (120 x 160; 4.1K)
TXT: CDV paper
IMG: CDV screen shot (432 x 300; 38K)
TXT: Dykes home page
Grammar of Graphics: A comprehensive systematization of grammatical rules for data and graphs and graph algebras within an object-oriented, computational framework- Leland Wilkinson (1944-), USA [322,323]. Added:: 12/22/00
PIC: Lee Wilkinson portrait (204 x 277; 5.7K)
FIG: Contour plot of death rate vs. birth rate (575 x 575; 24K)
FIG: 3D Contour map, Fig 8-11 (511 x 453; 48K)
FIG: Minard's March on Moscow graphic (561 x 267; 22K)
TXT: Wilkinson home page
Sparklines: ``data-intense, design-simple, word-sized graphics,'' designed to show graphic information inline with text and tables - Edward Tufte (1942-), USA [290]. Added:: 1/22/07:MF
IMG: Sparkline of the US deficit, 1983-2003 (62 x 16; 0.1K)
IMG: Sparkline graphic for 4 stocks (80 x 20; 0.8K)
TXT: Sparkline entry from Wikipedia
TXT: Tufte's explanation of sparklines

Images: 1975+