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Publisher's Summary

The idea of visualizing data is old: After all, that’s what a map is - a representation of geographic information - and we’ve had maps for about 8,000 years. But it was rare to graph anything other than geography. Only a few examples exist: Around the 11th century, a now-anonymous scribe created a chart of how the planets moved through the sky. By the 18th century, scientists were warming to the idea of arranging knowledge visually. The British polymath Joseph Priestley produced a “Chart of Biography,” plotting the lives of about 2,000 historical figures on a timeline. A picture, he argued, conveyed the information “with more exactness, and in much less time, than it [would take] by reading.”

"How Data Won The West" is from the July/August 2016 issue of Smithsonian.

©2016 Smithsonian Institution (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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