Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications
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Special Issue on Selected Papers from the Eleventh International Symposium on Graph Drawing, GD 2003
Confluent Drawings: Visualizing Non-planar Diagrams in a Planar Way
Vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 31-52, 2005. Regular paper.
Abstract We introduce a new approach for drawing diagrams. Our approach is to use a technique we call confluent drawing for visualizing non-planar graphs in a planar way. This approach allows us to draw, in a crossing-free manner, graphs-such as software interaction diagrams-that would normally have many crossings. The main idea of this approach is quite simple: we allow groups of edges to be merged together and drawn as "tracks" (similar to train tracks). Producing such confluent drawings automatically from a graph with many crossings is quite challenging, however, we offer a heuristic algorithm (one version for undirected graphs and one version for directed ones) to test if a non-planar graph can be drawn efficiently in a confluent way. In addition, we identify several large classes of graphs that can be completely categorized as being either confluently drawable or confluently non-drawable.
Submitted: January 2004.
Revised: July 2005.
Communicated by Giuseppe Liotta