Spatial is special

When precise locations or geographical patterns in data are more important to the reader than anything else.

Maps were my entry point into the world of data visualisation. As a geography student, I soaked up the work of cartographers like Jacques Bertin. Bertin’s Semiologie Graphique, published in 1967, was a ground-breaking work, not just for aspiring mapmakers like me, but for the field of information visualisation in general.

Bertin introduced the world to a concept of “visual variables” – a taxonomy of geometry, colour and patterns – that still underpins much of today’s data visualisation toolkit, including the Visual ...

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