Minard, his life and work
Minard worked as a civil engineer at the Department "Ponts et Chausées" in France, and only later in his life took up cartography. During that period he produced around fifty published maps, of which most had transport and economic data as a theme, resulting in flow maps and diagram maps respectively.
The life and work of Charles Joseph Minard (1781-1870) is extensively described by ROBINSON (1967), ROBINSON (1982), PALSKY, (1996) and FRIENDLY (2000).
An overview of all his maps, which influence the development of thematic cartography can be found at Friendly's website: Graphic works of Minard
In all maps produced by Minard the general message was much more important then the link between the data and the geography. From this perspective he paid no attention to map projections and even adapted scales according the need of the theme. This is illustrated by the return from Moscow. In reality the return followed for most part the same route as the march on Minard has drawn them separately for clarity reasons. In this respect the very detailed rivers do not fit with the all over message of the map. However, he tried to portray his thematic data as accurately as possible. In Napoleon's 1812 Russian campaign this is expressed by generalizing almost all troop movements in to a single flow. Minard tend to call his maps "carte figuratives".
Some samples of his work: