- Hardcover: 456 pages
- Publisher: Esri Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1589482611
- ISBN-13: 978-1589482616
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.2 x 10.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Semiology of Graphics: Diagrams, Networks, Maps 1st Edition
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Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Jacques Bertin is a French cartographer and theorist. In 1954 he founded the Cartographic Laboratory of the École pratique des hautes études and in 1957 he was named director of education. In 1967, Bertin became a professor at the Sorbonne, and in 1974 he was appointed director of education and director of the Geographical Laboratory of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales which is part of the École pratique des hautes etudes. In the late 1970s he became head of research at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique. Bertin is an internationally recognized authority on the analytic study of graphics.
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I would like to say that Bertin presents this important perspective/process in a compelling graphic way, but in fact the book is as dense and inconsistently structured as any of Tufte's great counterexamples. The figures are labelled in unpredictable orders on the page, some never mentioned in the text, and because of a mediocre printing job, many exhibit the very errors Bertin seeks to show how to avoid. Worse, these sort of problems are paralleled in the explication (especially with regard to showing a quantity vs. a quantity spread over an area, or Q vs. QS/S in Bertin's formalism), making it a significant challenge to figure out what is central to the argument and what is in the background.
Still, the insight is in there, and the weaknesses are not too great to stop a determined or required reader. The book is full to bursting with myriad practical tips and tricks regarding not just how, when, and why to cram more information onto the page, but also how to decide what information the reader needs. More importantly, it shows how to "discover the groupings contained in the information" (pg 164), that is, to arrive at an understanding of the data without forcing them into a predetermined system*. This is highly significant, and if Bertin was among the first to capture it (even if somewhat obscurely) then this book deserves all of its renown and is sure to grow in importance.
* this is a problematic thing to claim, but in this respect it's my summary which is inaccurate, not Bertin's concepts.
I do wish I could find some companoion sources that address the digital formats we live and work with.
For people who grew up with Excell and quick graphs this text is a wonderful grounding in the structure and building blocks of information presentation.
I enjoyed it very much indeed.
And the book itself is nicely printed and bound. Which is good to see.
Well worth every penny and the time to read it carefully. Recommended holiday reading.
This is the book that Tufte cribs off of. This is the definitive volume on information visualization and should be required reading for all cartographers. The book a treasure trove of significant ideas in information design, split into two parts: Semiology of the Graphic Sign-System and Utilization of the Graphic Sign-System.
The first part analyzes the properties and rules of the graphic system breaking down the variants and invariants, the plane and the "retinal variables", and combines these and more into rules for construction and legibility. The second part breaks down applications of the graphics as diagrams, networks and maps. The only way the book could be made better would be trough a third section on animation (hinted at in the introduction to the English version).
I have not had the change to check out the new printing but will ASAP!