Charles Minard’s 1869 map visually displays the number of men in Napoleon’s 1812 Russian campaign army, their movements, as well as the temperature they encounter on their path. The map displays the descending number of men as the journey progresses; starting with 422,000 and plummeting to 100,000 men by the time they reached Moscow. It shows the temperatures plunge to -37.5 C as they retreated and how nearly half the remaining survivors were killed during the crossing of the Berezina River.By the end we can see, through the alignment of the starting and finishing number of men, that the number of deaths were severe, barely returning with 10,000 men.
The thickness of the line represents the number of remaining men (one millimetre equivalent to 10,000 men), whilst the beige section refers to the journey toward Moscow and the black, the retreat. Also below this is an accompanying graph which displays the drop in temperature during their retreat.
It is said, the words above the map explains what is illustrated below saying:
“Figurative Map of the successive losses in men of the French Army in the Russian campaign 1812-1813.
Drawn up by M. Minard, Inspector General of Bridges and Roads in retirement. Paris, November 20, 1869.
The numbers of men present are represented by the widths of the colored zones at a rate of one millimeter for every ten-thousand men; they are further written across the zones. The red [now brown] designates the men who enter into Russia, the black those who leave it. —— The information which has served to draw up the map has been extracted from the works of M. M. Thiers, of Segur, of Fezensac, of Chambray, and the unpublished diary of Jacob, pharmacist of the army since October 28th. In order to better judge with the eye the diminution of the army, I have assumed that the troops of prince Jerome and of Marshal Davoush who had been detached at Minsk and Moghilev and have rejoined around Orcha and Vitebsk, had always marched with the army.”
Although this is presented, it is visible that it is not required –the map is quiet straightforward. Edward Tufte has been quoted to refer to the maps as ‘probably the best statistical graphic ever draw.’ I haven’t seen all visual data works but this is very inspirational.
It was this that showed me how so many things can come together in one image and that it does not have to be all represented individually –that it is possible. The concepts of line thickness and colour along with the representation of time, is all presented here and that is what I’m aiming to do and present in my own work, so hopefully I succeed. The other concept I raised back in the first example posts, about the simple concept of extending thin lines to make it more apparent of the gaps and spacing in the data. Also the use of straight lines rather than the new concept of waved lines are visible here. I believe the use of straight lines provides more accuracy.
So with Minard and Felton’s works, I’m sure I’ll create something great –we hope :P
Minard’s 1861 Map of Napolean’s Army’s Russian campaign.(n’d). Retrieved from http://studio.coe.uga.edu/seminars/visualization/minard.html
Cartographia.(2008). Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia. Retrieved from http://cartographia.wordpress.com/category/charles-joseph-minard/
Dahl,J.(2008).File:Minard.png. Retrieved from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/2/29/20080117195553!Minard.png