, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 323–343

Planar graphs and poset dimension

  • Walter Schnyder

DOI: 10.1007/BF00353652

Cite this article as:
Schnyder, W. Order (1989) 5: 323. doi:10.1007/BF00353652


We view the incidence relation of a graph G=(V. E) as an order relation on its vertices and edges, i.e. a<Gb if and only of a is a vertex and b is an edge incident on a. This leads to the definition of the order-dimension of G as the minimum number of total orders on V ∪ E whose intersection is <G. Our main result is the characterization of planar graphs as the graphs whose order-dimension does not exceed three. Strong versions of several known properties of planar graphs are implied by this characterization. These properties include: each planar graph has arboricity at most three and each planar graph has a plane embedding whose edges are straight line segments. A nice feature of this embedding is that the coordinates of the vertices have a purely combinatorial meaning.

AMS subject classifications (1980)

Primary 06A10secondary 05C10, 05C75

Key words

Planar graphposet dimensionstraight line embedding

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter Schnyder
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA