Are We There Yet? A Roadmap of Network Visualization from Surveys to Task Taxonomies

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Networks are abstract and ubiquitous data structures, defined as a set of data points and relationships between them. Network visualization provides meaningful representations of these data, supporting researchers in understanding the connections, gathering insights, and detecting and identifying unexpected patterns. Research in this field is focusing on increasingly challenging problems, such as visualizing dynamic, complex, multivariate, and geospatial networked data. This ever-growing, and widely varied, body of research led to several surveys being published, each covering one or more disciplines of network visualization. Despite this effort, the variety and complexity of this research represents an obstacle when surveying the domain and building a comprehensive overview of the literature. Furthermore, there exists a lack of clarification and uniformity between the terminology used in each of the surveys, which requires further effort when mapping and categorizing the plethora of different visualization techniques and approaches. In this paper, we aim at providing researchers and practitioners alike with a “roadmap” detailing the current research trends in the field of network visualization. We design our contribution as a meta-survey where we discuss, summarize, and categorize recent surveys and task taxonomies published in the context of network visualization. We identify more and less saturated disciplines of research and consolidate the terminology used in the surveyed literature. We also survey the available task taxonomies, providing a comprehensive analysis of their varying support to each network visualization discipline and by establishing and discussing a classification for the individual tasks. With this combined analysis of surveys and task taxonomies, we provide an overarching structure of the field, from which we extrapolate the current state of research and promising directions for future work.

Year of Publication
Computer Graphics Forum
ISSN Number
0167-7055, 1467-8659
Funding projects
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