Friday 27 March 2015

The origins of data visualisation: Michael van Langren

The Chinese philosopher Confucius is thought to have said "Study the past if you would define the future". Whilst I have no intention of defining the future of data visualisation, I certainly believe that looking at its origins, successes and failures can help us to better visualise data today.

It is fairly widely accepted that the first true data visualisation was made by the Dutch cartographer, mathematician and engineer Michael van Langren. Langren served as royal mathematician to King Philip IV of Spain, and became interested in one of the most important mathematical problems of the day - how to accurately determine longitude. Being able to determine longitude was hugely important for navigation, especially at sea. There were various methods used at the time but most were known to be estimations at best.

To demonstrate the wide difference in the estimations, in 1644 Langren published a simple, single dimensional chart to demonstrate the significance of the problem to the Spanish court.

Langren drawing for the Spanish court of 1644

Thursday 12 March 2015

QlikView Components v10.1 Released

A new version of QlikView Components (QVC) is now available. Version 10.1 brings bug fixes and improvements to additional functionality. This new release can be downloaded from:

Changes for V10.1:
  • Closed issue 23. Non-English characters not supported in log file. (Thanks to Alkopfer)
  • Qvc.Log -- New variable Qvc.Log.v.WriteToQvLog, indicated if the logging should also be written to the QlikView/Sense application log file and script progress window.
  • Closed issue 24. Qvc.IncrementalSetup failing when QVD exists but is empty. (Thanks for Luca Jonathan Panetta)
  • Qvc.SegmentedStore -- New segment type of 'day' added to create daily QVDs.

You can read the full release notes here.