The word scale derives from the Latin scala, or ladder. The Latin meaning is particularly apt for graphics. The visual representation of a scale — an axis with ticks — looks like a ladder. Scales are the types of functions we use to map varsets to dimensions. At first glance, it would seem that constructing a scale is simply a matter of selecting a range for our numbers and intervals to mark ticks. There is more involved, however. Scales measure the contents of a frame. They determine how we perceive the size, shape, and location of graphics. Choosing a scale (even a default decimal interval scale) requires us to think about what we are measuring and the meaning of our measurements. Ultimately, that choice determines how we interpret a graphic.
KeywordsPower Transformation Ratio Scale Number Base Categorical Scale Interval Scale
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