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The Fortune 500 [fathom.info] by Ben Fry's Fathom Design maps the rankings of the top 500 companies between 1955 to 2010.

Based on a publicly available data file of the listings that was originally discovered on Wikipedia, the graph includes more than 84,000 unique data entries to show the actual ranking over time, their revenue or their profit. The width of each line is the company name, but drawn in a very tiny way.

While the views are beautiful, and the interaction and view changes are extremely smooth, this visualization was actually meant as a simple sketch, so that unfortunately few quirks and details have not been solved.

Or put differently, if this is the sketch, than what is the real deal?

UPDATE: There is also an alternative version available, made by Gregor Aisch.