Drawing Planar Graphs with Few Geometric Primitives: Algorithms and Evaluation

Philipp Kindermann

University of Waterloo

The visual complexity of a graph drawing is defined as the number of geometric objects needed to represent all its edges. In particular, one object may represent multiple edges, e.g., one needs only one line segment to draw two collinear incident edges. We investigate whether drawings with few segments have a better aesthetic appeal and help the user to assess the underlying graph. We develop algorithms for drawing planar graphs with few segments. Then we design a user study that investigates two different graph types (trees and sparse graphs), three different layout algorithms for trees, and two different layout algorithms for sparse graphs. We asked the participants to give an aesthetic ranking on the layouts and to perform a furthest-pair or shortest-path task on the drawings.