Information Mapping


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McMaster University Digital Image class

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Information Mapping

  1. 1. Week 7, MM1B03, McMaster University Information Mapping From Edward Tufte, Beautiful Evidence “Mapped Pictures: Images as Evidence and Explanation”
  2. 2. Edward Tufte Edward Tufte's writing is important the fields of information design and visual literacy, which deal with the visual communication of information. He is Professor Emeritus of statistics, information design, interface design and political economy at Yale University. Edward Tufte, Beautiful Evidence
  3. 3. Credible Evidence This observation upset the notion that all celestial bodies must revolve around the Earth. Galileo published a full description in Sidereus Nuncius in March 1610. Because of Galileo’s detailed annotations his drawings became credible quantitative evidence about satellite motion.
  4. 4. According to Tufte, many scientific images are published simply as amazing celebratory photographs without scale or relevant comparisons.
  5. 5. Mapped Pictures • Combine representational graphics with scales, diagrams, overlays, numbers, words, or images. • An explanatory image, (like an interface design or navigation flow chart) is information that has been “mapped out.”
  6. 6. David Hockney, Nicol’s Canyon, 1980. See page 164-5.
  7. 7. For showing evidence, the map metaphor suggests that labels belong on images, that external grids help to scale images and that data are more credible when contextualized. Stars are located on a measured and labeled 2-D grid, yielding a dual context of universal sky grid and neighbourhood stars. Brightness is indicated by star-sizes. John Bayer, Uranometria, 1603. Leo the Lion. (Engraving, Alexander Mair.)
  8. 8. See page 170-171 John Bayer, Uranometria, 1603. Leo the Lion. (Engraving, Alexander Mair.)
  9. 9. Diagramatic map-tracings • With diagramatic map tracings such as Loran’s treatment of Cezanne’s Still Life with Fruit Basket. • In these mappings, we see the now-revealed skewed cubist tables depicted from various points of view.
  10. 10. Diagramatic map-tracings See page 174-175 Erle Loran, Cezanne’s Paul Cezanne, Still Life. 1890 Composition. 1943.
  11. 11. See page 172. Not stars, but slaves J. Hawkesworth, Vigilante Slave Ship. Published for the Religious Society of Friends, London, 1823.
  12. 12. Analytical Design Probably the best statistical graphic ever drawn, this map by Charles Joseph Minard 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. — Edward Tufte
  13. 13. From:
  14. 14. Tufte’s Principles For well-mapped analytic design, make sure you show: 1. Comparisons, Contrast, Differences. 2. Causality and systematic structure. 3. Multivariate data, that is more than 1 or 2 variables. 4. Integration of words, numbers, images, diagrams. 5. Documentation of data sources, authors, sponsors, etc. 6. Quality and integrity of content.
  15. 15. Motion graphics • See page 182 - 183 • How do these still-land examples translate into movie-land images? • How are the vertical arrangements like “layers” in photoshop and the horizontal reading like “frames” in animation or motion graphics? • How does this connect with an experience through time like navigating a web site?
  16. 16. Local and cosmopolitan view • See page 190 - 191, example of Ikenobo- Kadokaikan. • Playing against a strong photographic perspective, this map locates Kyoto’s School of Floral Art and describes routes from the train station to the flower arranging school, alon g with 20 perspective sketches of buildings.
  17. 17. Summary • Well designed and thoughtfully mapped pictures combine the direct visual evidence of images with the power of diagrams: Image’s representational, local, specific realistic, unique, detailed qualities; Diagram’s contextualizing, abstacting focusing explanatory qualities.
  18. 18. Summary • Mappings often represent an explanatory theory applied to the visual evidence. Therefore the standards of what constitutes a credible account also apply to mappings. • Mapping help tell why the design matters.