Integrating Edge Routing into Force-Directed Layout

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Abstract

The typical use of force-directed layout is to create organic-looking, straight-edge drawings of large graphs while combinatorial techniques are generally preferred for high-quality layout of small to medium sized graphs. In this paper we integrate edge-routing techniques into a force-directed layout method based on constrained stress majorisation. Our basic procedure takes an initial layout for the graph, including poly-line paths for the edges, and improves this layout by moving the nodes to reduce stress and moving edge bend points to straighten the edges and reduce their overall length. Separation constraints between nodes and edge bend points are used to ensure that nodes do not overlap edges or other nodes and that no additional edge crossings are introduced.