Charles Joseph Minard
|Charles Joseph Minard|
|Born||27 March 1781
|Died||24 October 1870
|Fields||Civil engineering and information graphics|
|Alma mater||École Polytechnique|
|Known for||Carte figurative des pertes successives en hommes de l'Armée Française dans la campagne de Russie 1812-1813'|
After working as a civil engineer on dam, canal and bridge projects throughout Europe for many years, he was appointed superintendent of the École nationale des ponts et chaussées (School of Bridges and Roads) in 1830, a position he held until 1836. He became an inspector in the Corps des Ponts (Corps of Bridges) from which he retired in 1851, dedicating himself to private research thereafter.
Minard was a pioneer of the use of graphics in engineering and statistics. He is famous for his Carte figurative des pertes successives en hommes de l'Armée Française dans la campagne de Russie 1812-1813, a flow map published in 1869 on the subject of Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign of 1812.
The graph displays several variables in a single two-dimensional image:
- the size of the army - providing a strong visual representation of human suffering, e.g. the sudden decrease of the army's size at the crossing of the Berezina river on the retreat;
- the geographical co-ordinates, latitude and longitude, of the army as it moved;
- the direction that the army was traveling, both in advance and in retreat, showing where units split off and rejoined;
- the location of the army with respect to certain dates; and
- the weather temperature along the path of the retreat, in another strong visualisation of events (during the retreat "one of the worst winters in recent memory set in").
Étienne-Jules Marey first called notice to this dramatic depiction of the fate of Napoleon's army in the Russian campaign, saying it "defies the pen of the historian in its brutal eloquence". Edward Tufte says it "may well be the best statistical graphic ever drawn" and uses it as a prime example in The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.
Arthur H. Robinson wrote that Minard was 'a cartographic pioneer in many respects' and pointed out that his famous map (of Napoleon's march) was only one of 51 thematic maps he created during his lifetime.
- "Charles Joseph Minard: Mapping Napoleon's March, 1861" by John Corbett, Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science
- Edward R. Tufte (2001). The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. p. 40
- Howard Wainer (1984). "How to Display Data Badly". In: American Statistician 38 (2): p 146 (pg 136–147).
- Arthur H. Robinson (1967), 'The Thematic Maps of Charles Joseph Minard', Imago Mundi, Vol. 21, (1967), pp. 95-108
- Michael Friendly (2002). Visions and re-visions of Charles Joseph Minard. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics. 27 (1), 31–52.
- Edward R. Tufte (2001). The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (2nd edition ed.). Graphics Press. ISBN 0-9613921-4-2.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charles Joseph Minard.|
- Translation of Minard obituary, Edward Tufte
- Background on Minard's graph including original sources, Edward Tufte
- The Graphic Works of Charles Joseph Minard, Michael Friendly, York University (Ontario) Department of Psychology
- Minard biography, Michael Friendly
- Re-Visions of Minard, Michael Friendly