Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Florence Nightingale: Causes of Mortality infographic from 1858!

Yes, from that Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), and it's from 1858!  The polar area diagram is also known as the Nightingale Rose Graph.

From Wikipedia,
This "Diagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the East" was published in Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency, and Hospital Administration of the British Army and sent to Queen Victoria in 1858.

This graphic indicates the number of deaths that occured from preventable diseases (in blue), those that were the results of wounds (in red), and those due to other causes (in black). 
The legend reads: 
The Areas of the blue, red, & black wedges are each measured from the centre as the common vertex. The blue wedges measured from the centre of the circle represent area for area the deaths from Preventable or Mitigable Zymotic diseases, the red wedges measured from the centre the deaths from wounds, & the black wedges measured from the centre the deaths from all other causes. The black line across the red triangle in Nov. 1854 marks the boundary of the deaths from all other causes during the month. In October 1854, & April 1855, the black area coincides with the red, in January & February 1855,(*) the blue coincides with the black. The entire areas may be compared by following the blue, the red, & the black lines enclosing them.
Also from Wikipedia:
Florence Nightingale had exhibited a gift for mathematics from an early age and excelled in the subject under the tutorship of her father. Later, Nightingale became a pioneer in the visual presentation of information and statistical graphics. Among other things she used the pie chart, which had first been developed by William Playfair in 1801.
Florence Nightingale is credited with developing a form of the pie chart now known as the polar area diagram, or occasionally the Nightingale rose diagram, equivalent to a modern circular histogram to illustrate seasonal sources of patient mortality in the military field hospital she managed. Nightingale called a compilation of such diagrams a "coxcomb", but later that term has frequently been used for the individual diagrams. She made extensive use of coxcombs to present reports on the nature and magnitude of the conditions of medical care in the Crimean War to Members of Parliament and civil servants who would have been unlikely to read or understand traditional statistical reports.
In her later life Nightingale made a comprehensive statistical study of sanitation in Indian rural life and was the leading figure in the introduction of improved medical care and public health service in India.
In 1859 Nightingale was elected the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society and she later became an honorary member of the American Statistical Association.
Found this while reading the great FlowingData post "9 Ways to Visualize Proportions – A Guide" by Nathan Yau.


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