Here is a perfect example of how an average user can make sophisticated data visualization, and do simulations with it (without any technical knowledge). See the video!
If we decided to show the famous “Napoleon’s March” graphic with BeGraphic, that’s because it is known as the best data visualization ever done. According to Mr Tufte (the data visualization guru), this representation is probably the best statistical graphic ever drawn. You can even buy it on Mr Tufte’s web site: http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/posters
It portrays the losses suffered by Napoleon’s army in the Russian campaign of 1812. Beginning at the Polish-Russian border, the thick band shows the size of the army at each position. The path of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow in the bitterly cold winter is depicted by the dark lower band, which is tied to temperature and time scales.
This graphic made by Charles Joseph Minard (French engineer of the XIXth century. See an interesting gallery of his works: http://www.math.yorku.ca/SCS/Gallery/minbib/index.htm) is very powerful because :
- Enforce Visual Comparisons
Lines’ Width gives you an immediate comparison of the size of Napoleon’s army at different times during the march (tan color for going to Russia and black for returning).
- Show Causality
Map shows temperature records, explaining that weather and terrain defeated Napoleon much more than his enemies.
- Show Multivariate data
Napoleon’s March shows six: army size, location (in 2 dimensions), direction, time, and temperature.
- Use Direct Labeling
o Integrate words, numbers & images
o Don’t make user work to learn the “system”.
Please click on the following link to see the video :