International Conference on Theory and Application of Diagrams

Diagrams 2014: Diagrammatic Representation and Inference pp 1-8 | Cite as

Octilinear Force-Directed Layout with Mental Map Preservation for Schematic Diagrams

  • Daniel Chivers
  • Peter Rodgers
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8578)


We present an algorithm for automatically laying out metro map style schematics using a force-directed approach, where we use a localized version of the standard spring embedder forces combined with an octilinear magnetic force. The two types of forces used during layout are naturally conflicting, and the existing method of simply combining these to generate a resultant force does not give satisfactory results. Hence we vary the forces, emphasizing the standard forces in the beginning to produce a well distributed graph, with the octilinear forces becoming prevalent at the end of the layout, to ensure that the key requirement of line angles at intervals of 45° is obtained. Our method is considerably faster than the more commonly used search-based approaches, and we believe the results are superior to the previous force-directed approach. We have further developed this technique to address the issues of dynamic schematic layout. We use a Delaunay triangulation to construct a schematic “frame”, which is used to retain relative node positions and permits full control of the level of mental map preservation. This technique is the first to combine mental map preservation techniques with the additional layout criteria of schematic diagrams. To conclude, we present the results of a study to investigate the relationship between the level of mental map preservation and the user response time and accuracy.


force directed  schematic layout  Delaunay triangulation  mental map preservation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Chivers
    • 1
  • Peter Rodgers
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of KentCanterburyUK

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