Redesigning Emma Willard Diurnal Rotation Diagram
Redesigning Emma Willard Diurnal Rotation Diagram

Redesigning Emma Willard Diurnal Rotation Diagram

This month’s challenge over at SWD explores the redesign of a famous chart. In honor of Women’s History Month I wanted to redo a chart that was designed by a woman in data and science.

One of the most famous women in data and data visualization is Florence Nightingale and her rose graph. There were a lot of submissions already related to this chart. There wasn’t much new I could add to the already great redesigns of an already great design.

So, I explored the works of Emma Willard who is much less known in the data visualization world. Her works are so beautiful, I am surprized more people don’t talk about her.

Emma Willard has a fascinating biography. The Marginalian has written a great article about her where you can read about her extraordinary life and see some of her beautiful designs.

I share Emma’s love for maps, space, and time. For her book Astronography, or, Astronomical Geography, published in 1854, she designed a diagram of diurnal rotation showing day and night on Earth following its rotation on its axis.

Her original design is amazing, but I wanted to redo it using modern tools. I used Canva in this case and included color. I prefer to see timelines horizontally, so I have reflected this in my design.

Here is Emma’s original diagram:

Emma Willard Diurnal Diagram
Emma Willard Diurnal Diagram

In Canva I used their elements to create the Sun and used circles and half circles to depict light and day and dark and night.

Earth's Rotation around its Axis, diurnal rotation diagram

This diagram can be used in space education and Earth science and is a great way to show kids how the Earth travels in 24 hours.

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