It is common to think of statistical graphics and data visualization as relatively modern developments in statistics. In fact, the graphic representation of quantitative information has deep roots. These roots reach into the histories of the earliest map-making and visual depiction, and later into thematic cartography, statistics and statistical graphics, medicine, and other ﬁelds. Along the way, developments in technologies (printing, reproduction) mathematical theory and practice, and empirical observation and recording, enabled the wider use of graphics and new advances in form and content.
This chapter provides an overview of the intellectual history of data visualization from medieval to modern times, describing and illustrating some signiﬁcant advances along the way. It is based on a project, called the Milestones Project, to collect, catalog and document way. It is based on a project, called the Milestones Project, to collect, catalog and document methods to analyze and understand this history, that I discuss under the rubric of “statistical historiography.
Source: Friendly, M. (2008). A brief history of data visualization. In Handbook of data visualization (pp. 15-56). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. http://www.datavis.ca/papers/hbook.pdf