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Clear, informative presentation of data can be beautiful.

My previous post, showed a wonderful map that Ian York of Mystery Rays from Outer Space posted. A friend (thanks, Paul!) tweeted me a link to a David McCandless’ website and book featuring excellent data presentation.

Imaginative, elegant presentation can convey the message of the data visually in an easy-to-grasp and sometimes evocative way.

Taken together with sidebar science, and perhaps extended with a personal narrative, these types of presentations can make for powerful presentations.

Below is an older and very well-known example: Charles Minard’s famous chart, drawn in 1869, showing the losses in men, the army’s movements, and the temperature during Napoleon’s 1812 Russian campaign.

Army size and temperatures on Napeoleon's March on Moscow (Minard. Source: wikipedia.)

Army size and temperatures on Napeoleon's March on Moscow (Minard. Source: wikipedia.)

(Full-sized original at wikipedia)

Here’s just one example of many from David’s website (see also his Flickr® page) showing comparisons of lifetime deaths per 10,000 users, press reports and the percentage of deaths reported related to the Nutt saga that I have written about (please let me know if you can’t read this, I’ve tried to fit it into the fixed-width the website design allocates):

Disease risk and press reports (David Candless, informationisbeautiful.net)

Disease risk and press reports (David Candless, informationisbeautiful.net)

(Full-sized original on David’s Flickr® site.)

I recommend going over and visiting David’s sites and browsing. There’s plenty of interesting stats and presentations there to keep you busy for a while.