List of Physical Visualizations
and Related Artifacts

1862 – Marshall Islands Stick Charts

These physical visualizations show ocean swell patterns, and were built by native Micronesians from the Marshall Islands to facilitate canoe navigation. They were memorized before trips. The Western world remained unaware of the existence of these artifacts until 1862.

The photo above is a stick chart from 1974. Straight sticks represent regular currents and waves, curved sticks represent ocean swells, and seashells represent atolls and islands.


  1. Wikipedia. Marshall Islands Stick Charts.
  2. Photo above from the National Library of Australia.

Added by Pierre Dragicevic on September 4, 2013. Category: Passive physical visualization Tags: , , ,

  1. shalin says:

    Nice graphics. I hope to see more good data-visualizations from this blog in the future.