This is still a work in progress, but we thought you might be interested in these different ways the data in Charles Minard's map can be visualised. The Minard map is a beautifully clear summary of the progress of Napoleon's 1812 campaign. It depicts a broad river of men flowing eastwards, suffering continuous depletion from disease, desertion and death, with just a few surviving the disastrous retreat.
The first thing we did was to apply our Survival animation to the Grande Armee. In a normal survival curve, the hazard is taken to be the chance of dying in the following year. For the Grande Armee, we have to rescale this to the chance of dying the following day. Life was grim.
Minard on a Google Map
Here's a reproduction of the original map. In the second tab of the animation we've also overlayed it on a Google Map image so you can see that Minard's geography was pretty accurate. He succeeded in representing both the flow of men
A Motion Chart based on the Minard Map
This is a motion chart built from Charles Minard's map data, augmented with some dates gleaned from Adam Zamoyski's book '1812, Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow'. A bigger version is avaliable here.
There's another version of this in one of the examples in our FlowGraph animation.
Minard on Google Earth
Minard is attempting in his map to plot six variables - troop bodies, their numbers, latitude, longitude, time, and temperature. It's tempting to believe that adding a third dimension to the plot would help here. Google Earth makes it easy enough to try this out, but we'll leave you to judge whether it's an improvement or not. If you're not familiar with the details of loading kmz files into Google Earth, you'll find plenty of help on the Google Earth site.
Here it is - a 3D visualisation where troop numbers are represented by altitude. If you also load up and enable this KML file from NASA containing weather overlays for 2004/5 you can get an impression of how the snow comes to this area each year. Use the animation bar at the top of the Google Earth main window.