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Infographics have been around for many years and recently the increase of a number of easy-to-use, free tools have made the creation of infographics available to a large segment of the population. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have also allowed for individual infographics to be spread among many people around the world. Infographics are widely used in this age.
In newspapers, infographics are commonly used to show the weather, as well as maps, site plans, and graphs for summaries of data. Some books are almost entirely made up of information graphics, such as David Macaulay‘s The Way Things Work. The Snapshots in USA Today are also an example of simple infographics used to convey news and current events.
Modern maps, especially route maps for transit systems, use infographic techniques to integrate a variety of information, such as the conceptual layout of the transit network, transfer points, and local landmarks. Public transportation maps, such as those for the Washington Metro and the London Underground, are well-known infographics. Public places such as transit terminals usually have some sort of integrated “signage system” with standardized icons and stylized maps.
In his 1983 ‘landmark book’ The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward Tufte defines ‘graphical displays’ in the following passage:
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