Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 2025, 2001, pp 172-192

3D Graph Drawing

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Abstract

There is a large number of effective methodologies and algorithms for the creation of aesthetically pleasing graph drawings in two dimensions. However, representing graphs in three dimensions offers various benefits. The extra dimension gives greater flexibility for placing the vertices and edges of a graph and crossings can be always avoided. On the other hand new challenges arise: current output media have a two-dimensional nature and can only provide a limited resolution and display area. Thus, the resulting drawings become complex and difficult to survey. These disadvantages can be weakened by the use of navigational operations such as rotation, shifting and zooming. These operations enable an effective use of screen space and allow users to resolve ambiguities in large graphs while maintaining their overall mental map. The possibility of changing the viewpoint in 3D will also diminish the relevance of edge crossing in the (two-dimensional) screen representation of the graph.