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Inspiration from Info We Trust #031

An announcement, pop-up giveaway, inspiring river profile, and more!
You are invited! This September we are opening DATA VISUALIZATION AND THE MODERN IMAGINATION - a new exhibition at Stanford University's David Rumsey Map Center. It features information graphics that helped expand our collective sense of reality. As guest curator I will virtually tour you through the exhibition's themes of nature, time, and society during a live virtual event.

As part of the opening celebration we created an exclusive keepsake for event attendees which you will love (hint: 3D pop-up!). Please register for the event at the following link to to be eligible for the keepsake.
The complimentary keepsakes are limited and will go fast. Be sure to enter your mailing address or we will not be able to send you one.
This week's inspiration: Profiles of the River Seine
The graphic innovations of French geographer Philippe Buache (1700-1773, Wiki bio) deserve more acclaim. I recently encountered the below 1700 graphic. It compares the high and low water levels of the River Seine across three decades. The hand-colored reference line marks the high water mark of 1769. As Buache created this in pre-Revolutionary and pre-Metric France, the units are pied du roi (the king's foot, Wiki).
Fans of data visualization history will note that this Buache predates William Playfair's famous creation of his bar chart (image) by 16 years! Buache's clean and beautiful design seems totally out of time, forecasting work that would not arrive for another hundred years. Yet we might consider it still a significant step before Playfair's breakthrough. The slices of river water are a degree less abstract than Playfair's bars of money. Unlike the total imports of a nation, the water actually stacks in real life. Perhaps this is why Sandra Rendgen (Twitter) describes Buache's work as a bar diagram, not a bar chart, in her History of Information Graphics (Amazon).

See more Buache in very fine resolution at the David Rumsey Map Collection. I find the entire composition sublime. What do you think?
Zooming out
Many of the most celebrated information graphics from across history were products of turbulent times. Landmark graphics emerged from struggling with the carnage of war, disease, and injustice.

We are once again in a turbulent time. I believe many of us are doing the most significant work of our careers. I'm thinking about you all and wish you the very best.

Onward! -RJ
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