Visual Computing

University of Konstanz
Virtual Reality & Intelligent Hardware

A Balanced-Partitioning Treemapping Method for Digital Hierarchical Dataset

C. Feng, M. L. Gong, O. Deussen


Paper (.pdf, 3.1MB)


The problem of visualizing a hierarchical dataset is an important and useful technique in many real-life situations. Folder systems, stock markets, and other hierarchical-related datasets can use this technique to better understand the structure and dynamic variation of the dataset. Traditional space-filling(square)-based methods have the advantages of compact space usage and node size as opposed to diagram-based methods. Spacefilling- based methods have two main research directions: static and dynamic performance. Methods This study presented a treemapping method based on balanced partitioning that enables excellent aspect ratios in one variant, good temporal coherence for dynamic data in another, and in the third, a satisfactory compromise between these two aspects. To layout a treemap, all the children of a node were divided into two groups, which were then further divided until groups of single elements were reached. After this, these groups were combined to form a rectangle representing the parent node. This process was performed for each layer of the hierarchical dataset. For the first variant from the partitioning, the child elements were sorted and two groups, sized as equally as possible, were built from both big and small elements (size-balanced partition). This achieved satisfactory aspect ratios for the rectangles but less so temporal coherence (dynamic). For the second variant, the sequence of children was taken and from this, groups, sized as equally as possible, were created without the need for sorting (sequence-based, good compromise between aspect ratio and temporal coherency). For the third variant, the children were split into two groups of equal cardinalities, regardless of their size (number-balanced, worse aspect ratios but good temporal coherence). Results This study evaluated the aspect ratios and dynamic stability of the employed methods and proposed a new metric that measures the visual difference between rectangles during their movement to represent temporally changing inputs. Conclusion This study demonstrated that the proposed method of treemapping via balanced partitioning outperformed the state-of-the-art methods for several real-world datasets.


  author    = {C. Feng, M. L. Gong, O. Deussen},
  doi       = {10.1016/j.vrih.2021.09.006},
  journal   = {Virtual Reality & Intelligent Hardware},
  month     = {aug},
  number    = {4},
  pages     = {342--358},
  publisher = {Elsevier BV},
  title     = {A Balanced-Partitioning Treemapping Method for Digital Hierarchical Dataset},
  volume    = {4},
  year      = {2022}