01 Mar 2011

Multilevel Agglomerative Edge Bundling for Visualizing Large Graphs

Emden Gansner, Yifan Hu, Carlos Scheidegger, Stephen North. Pacific Vis, 2011.

Graphs are often used to encapsulate relationships between objects. Node-link diagrams, commonly used to visualize graphs, suffer from visual clutter on large graphs. Edge bundling is an effective technique for alleviating clutter and revealing high-level edge patterns. Previous methods for general graph layouts either require a control mesh to guide the bundling process, which can introduce high variation in curvature along the bundles, or all-to-all force and compatibility calculations, which is not scalable. We propose a multilevel agglomerative edge bundling method based on a principled approach of minimizing ink needed to represent edges, with additional constraints on the curvature of the resulting splines. The proposed method is much faster than previous ones, able to bundle hundreds of thousands of edges in seconds, and one million edges in a few minutes.

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