Data visualization refers to both the process and the product of converting textual or numerical data into a visual form that is more easily understood by humans. In theory, any data can be visualized. Though data are most frequently generated by computers or sensors, and the task of visualization is typically performed using computers, this leaves out examples of visualization that predate the advent of transistors and semiconductors. Nontechnical examples of data visualization are scattered throughout human history, from cave paintings of hunting quarries to maps depicting military campaigns and disease outbreaks.

When considering historical examples of data visualization, three common threads with technologically suffused data visualization emerge: (1) the manipulation of data from their original form to a more understandable one, (2) the efficacy of ...

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