Graph folding: Extending detail and context viewing into a tool for subgraph comparisons

  • M. Sheelagh
  • T. Carpendale
  • David J. Cowperthwaite
  • F. David Fracchia
  • Thomas Shermer
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1027)


It is a difficult problem to display large, complex graphs in a manner which furthers comprehension. A useful approach is to expand selected sections (foci) of the graph revealing details of subgraphs. If this expansion is maintained within the context of the entire graph, information is provided about how subgraphs are embedded in the overall structure. Often it is also desirable to realign these foci in order to facilitate the visual comparison of subgraphs. We have introduced a distortion-based viewing tool, three-dimensional pliable surface (3DPS) [1], which allows for multiple arbitrarily-shaped foci on a surface that can be manipulated by the viewer to control the level of detail contained within each region. This paper extends 3DPS to include the repositioning of foci so as to bring together spatially separated regions for the purpose of comparison while retaining the effect of detail in context viewing. The significance of this approach is that it utilizes precognitive perceptual cues about the three-dimensional surface to make the distortions comprehensible, and allows the user to interactively control the location, shape, and extent of the distortion in very large graphs.


distortion viewing graph layout 3D interactions information visualization interface design 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Sheelagh
    • 1
  • T. Carpendale
    • 1
  • David J. Cowperthwaite
    • 1
  • F. David Fracchia
    • 1
  • Thomas Shermer
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computing ScienceSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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