The best chart ever - Minard's Chart of Napoleon's 1812 March to Russia

Inspired by Hans Rosling's incredible data visualization (thanks TheEcologist), I dig out "the best statistical graphic ever drawn".

From Wikipedia:
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 army's location and direction, showing where units split off and rejoined
- the declining size of the army (note e.g. the crossing of the Berezina river on the retreat)
- the low temperatures during the retreat.
This informative and elegant chart was made by a human with a pen, paper and two colors.



TS Contributor
Neat, thanks Quark!

I think this featured in "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" by Tufte.
A great book and a fantastic plot. As I recall, he was also keen on the New York Times plot of weather patterns.
Tufte also talked about the correlation between radio sets sold and hospital admissions for mental illness, in Britain.
IIRC, r between these two was 0.999. Very puzzling.