Over the past 10 years Markus Lima has been researching how we organize and visualize information. And he has noticed some very interesting stuff. Computer generated visualisation, whilst a relatively new subject area has its roots in a long historical tradition of representing information using pictures in ways that combine art, science and statistics. From top-down structures to complex networks.

How does knowledge grow? Sometimes it begins with one insight and grows into many branches; other times it grows as a complex and interconnected network. Infographics expert Manuel Lima explores the thousand-year history of mapping data — from languages to dynasties — using trees and networks of information. It’s a fascinating history of visualizations, and a look into humanity’s urge to map what we know.

You can also read more on A Quick Illustrated History of Visualisation.