Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 4372, 2007, pp 386-398

Improved Circular Layouts

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Circular graph layout is a drawing scheme where all nodes are placed on the perimeter of a circle. An inherent issue with circular layouts is that the rigid restriction on node placement often gives rise to long edges and an overall dense drawing. We suggest here three independent, complementary techniques for lowering the density and improving the readability of circular layouts. First, a new algorithm is given for placing the nodes on the circle such that edge lengths are reduced. Second, we enhance the circular drawing style by allowing some of the edges to be routed around the exterior of the circle. This is accomplished with an algorithm for optimally selecting such a set of externally routed edges. The third technique reduces density by coupling groups of edges as bundled splines that share part of their route. Together, these techniques are able to reduce clutter, density and crossings compared with existing methods.