Dr. rer. nat. Dipl.-Inform. Michael Burch
Email: michael.burch@visus.uni-stuttgart.de

VISUS - Institut für Visualisierung und Interaktive Systeme - Stuttgart

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Flip-Book Visualization of Dynamic Graphs

Paper pdf-Version
Visual metaphors for graph visualization.

Visual metaphors for graph visualization.


Dynamic graph visualization techniques can be based on animated or static diagrams showing the evolution over time. In this paper, we apply the concept of small multiples to visually illustrate the dynamics of a graph. Node-link, adjacency matrix, and adjacency list visualizations are used as basic visual metaphors for displaying individual graphs of the sequence. For node-link diagrams, we apply edge splatting to improve readability and reduce visual clutter caused by overlaps and link crossings. Additionally, to obtain a more scalable dynamic graph visualization in the time dimension, we integrate an interactive Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) feature to rapidly flip between the sequences of displayed graphs, similar to the concept of flipping a book's pages. Our visualization tool supports the focus-and-context design principle by providing an overview of a longer time sequence as small multiples in a grid while also showing a graph in focus as a large single representation in a zoomed in and more detailed view. The usefulness of the technique is illustrated in two case studies investigating a dynamic directed call graph and an evolving social network that consists of more than 1,000 undirected graphs.

Future Work

There are many dynamic graph visualization techniques as surveyed in our recent state of the art report. An interesting question is which dynamic graph visualization is performing well, i.e., which task can be answered faster and more accurate which is dependent on the visualization technique in use. A flip-book or RSVP technique is a mixture of time-to-space (static display apart from interaction techniques) and time-to-time mapping (graph animation).