Small multiple skyscrapers
I’m grateful to Christina for pointing out the SkyscraperPage, a site with a collection of thousands of scaled images of tall buildings. You can select and sort them by location, height or age, and line them up for inspection. I think it’s a delightful use of small multiples, as Edward Tufte calls this form of display:
At the heart of quantitative reasoning is a single question: ‘Compared to what?’ Small multiple designs, multivariate and data bountiful, answer directly by visually enforcing comparisons of changes, of the differences among objects, of the scope of alternatives. For a wide range of problems in data presentation, small multiples are the best design solution.
Illustrations of postage-stamp size are indexed by category or a label, sequenced over time like the frames of a movie, or ordered by a quantitative variable not used in the single image itself. Information slices are positioned within the eyespan, so that viewers make comparisons at a glance—uninterrupted visual reasoning. Constancy of design puts the emphasis on changes in data, not changes in data frames. [Quoted from Envisioning information.]