If you want to build or create something for U.S. Armed Forces, you’ll probably be asked to create some sort of visualization or chart to demonstrate how your product works and addresses an unmet military need.
In a piece published on Medium, writer Paul Ford admits his biggest obsession: trolling the internet for the most esoteric military maps, infographics and statistical charts he can find. Ford’s strategy when it comes to locating these visualizations is pretty straightforward. Typically, he will google a term–“Battlespace Awareness,” for instance–before scrolling through the image search results. While some of resulting hits are relevant, others are slightly less so. But the image results never fail to interest him. What he uncovers is fascinating.
Ford explains that many military charts may seem funny or absurd, especially when they lack context. “Part of what makes military diagrams so fascinating is that they look a lot like the images civilians use to do their regular workaday jobs,” he says. It’s almost too easy to forget, “No matter how abstract they are, these pictures describe systems that the U.S. military uses to make optimal, efficient decisions about killing other humans.”
The following visualizations showcase the various ways in which humans make sense of military statistics and complex information. These visuals also suggest the intriguing possibility: between the lines of an Excel spreadsheet, lurks creativity, waiting to be unleashed. Here are five infographics which showcase innovative data modeling and also prove how military information, too, can be beautiful.
“Women of War”
“A New U.S. Military, by Design”
“United Bases of America”
“Pixelating Iraq War Casualties”
“Poppy Field – Visualising War Fatalities“