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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Is the Napoleon Map the Greatest Graph Ever?

See the discussion here at Flowing Data.

My thoughts? No, it's clearly not the best. It's very good from a design standpoint, but it resulted in nothing. Napoleon had already lost.

So, what's better?

I'd nominate Snow's graphic http://www.ncgia.ucsb.edu/pubs/snow/snow.html
which deals with the source of a cholera epidemic being a specific well, and reflects analytic processes Snow was using to figure out how to deal with the epidemic.

This sort of graphic is very common today (e.g. laying out your customers on a map). What did the Napoleon graph lead to? I can't think of a lot of graphics which are like it.