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The edge, which can encode relational data in graphs and multidimensional data in parallel coordinates plots, is an important visual primitive for encoding data in information visualization research. However, when data become very large, visualizations often suffer from visual clutter as thousands of edges can easily overwhelm the display and obscure underlying patterns. Many edge-bundling techniques have been proposed to reduce visual clutter in visualizations. In this survey, we briefly introduce the visual-clutter problem in visualizations. Thereafter, we review the cost-based, geometry-based, and image-based edge-bundling methods for graphs, parallel coordinates, and flow maps. We then describe the various visualization applications that use edge-bundling techniques and discuss the evaluation studies concerning the effectiveness of edge-bundling methods. An edge-bundling taxonomy is proposed at the end of this survey.


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Edge Bundling in Information Visualization

Show Author's information Hong Zhou( )Panpan XuXiaoru Yuan( )Huamin Qu
Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China
Peking University, Beijing 100871, China

Abstract

The edge, which can encode relational data in graphs and multidimensional data in parallel coordinates plots, is an important visual primitive for encoding data in information visualization research. However, when data become very large, visualizations often suffer from visual clutter as thousands of edges can easily overwhelm the display and obscure underlying patterns. Many edge-bundling techniques have been proposed to reduce visual clutter in visualizations. In this survey, we briefly introduce the visual-clutter problem in visualizations. Thereafter, we review the cost-based, geometry-based, and image-based edge-bundling methods for graphs, parallel coordinates, and flow maps. We then describe the various visualization applications that use edge-bundling techniques and discuss the evaluation studies concerning the effectiveness of edge-bundling methods. An edge-bundling taxonomy is proposed at the end of this survey.

Keywords:

edge bundling, visual clutter, graph visualization, parallel coordinates, flow maps
Received: 08 December 2012 Accepted: 14 February 2013 Published: 30 April 2013 Issue date: April 2013
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Publication history

Received: 08 December 2012
Accepted: 14 February 2013
Published: 30 April 2013
Issue date: April 2013

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© The author(s) 2013

Acknowledgements

We thank anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. This work is supported by Foundation for Distinguished Young Talents in Higher Education of Guangdong, China (No. LYM11113), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 61103055 and 61170204, and 61232012).

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