Antimatroid, The

thoughts on computer science, electronics, mathematics

Tree Drawing: Sunburst diagram

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Information Visualization is an interesting subject for me because it is the aesthetics of displaying large amounts of information into an easy to digest vision that depicts metrics of interest. One branch of this subject deals with methods for visualizing hierarchical information such techniques as tree maps, hyperbolic tree views, et al are typically deployed. Of these methods, one less common is the sunburst diagram.

A sunburst diagram is essentially the polar form of a Tree icicle visualization. At the core is the root of the tree, each concentric ring represents the child nodes and is partitioned by the metric of our choosing to represent the percentage a node consumes relative to its siblings. Sunburst diagrams are ideal for displaying any kind of tree data where nodes have weights and the totality of the nodes represents a whole.

While there are certainly several existing software solutions out on the market that utilize this information visualization technique, I feel that the majority of which are too focused on solving one specific problem rather than stepping back to identify the general problem that sunburst diagrams solve. As a result, I find it appropriate to develop my own software solution.

I want to try and incorporate some of the following features that I feel are lacking in other applications:

  • Ability to visualize any XML document by way of import and option to export
  • Choose to visualize metrics based on the attributes defined on each node of an XML document
  • Capacity to search and filter information in the document
  • Freedom to navigate the tree in an intuitive manner
  • A clean and sharp looking user interface that is easy on the eyes

This project really boils down to a Swiss Army knife of simple data analysis tools. Depending on my schedule this project may or may not become a reality but could turn out to be useful for a variety of problems. As the project grows and matures I’ll try to post updates as appropriate.

Written by lewellen

2008-08-03 at 6:00 pm

Posted in Computer Graphics

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One Response

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  1. Sunburst/Treepie visuzlization is used in our hard disk visuzlization application, DaisyDisk. While the task is quite specific we’ve improved the original concept a bit and made navigation easier.

    Taras Brizitsky

    2009-03-16 at 3:28 am

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