The Past, Present and Future of Statistical Graphics
(An Ideo-Graphic and Idiosyncratic View)

Presented at Views, London, Nov., 2004


This series of talks is intended as a general overview of aspects of my work (and that of others) in statistical graphics over the last 30 years--- what has been done, what I have learned and some lessons for graphical data presentation I'd like to convey.

In the early years, I worked as a SAS developer, implementing modern methods of statistical graphics for quantitative data in easily used SAS macros, described in ``The SAS System for Statistical Graphics'' (1991) In the middle years, I turned my attention to the challenges for the graphic display of categorical, discrete, or qualitative data, described in ``Visualizing Categorical Data'' (2001). Most recently, I have become interested in the history of data visualization, both for what it can teach us about the past, and as guidelines for the future.

I've chosen to organize these talks around the general themes of past, present and future. In Part 1 I describe a project to collect, document and analyze important milestones from the history of data visualization. Parts 2 and 3 focus largely on the graphical methods that I and others have developed (largely in SAS) in the recent past, with particular emphasis on methods for categorical data, that may be more novel. The final talk in Part 4 attempts to suggest some directions for the future of statistical graphics.