CIRCOS and networks

On my other blog, I highlighted a nice visualisation of career paths, produced by Satyan Devados using the CIRCOS tool (which has its origins in genetic visualisation). As an experiment, here is a similar diagram I produced for the Southern Women Social Network Data Set. This famous dataset (originally from this book) links a somewhat divided community of 18 women to 14 events which they organised (click on the picture for a larger image):

It’s very pretty, but is it more or less informative than a traditional network diagram? What do you think?

– Tony

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3 Responses to CIRCOS and networks

  1. igorupdate says:

    I find the first diagram (CIRCOS) much more engaging, visually much more appealing. It just seems more contemporary.
    The second traditional network representation while easier to use for analysis probably lacks the WOW factor and would be less appealing to a lay person when considering the results of the analysis.
    As ever with network analysis the “informative nature” for feedback with the subjects /client is dependent on the facilitation of the diagram and less so on the actual diagram itself.
    My answer: The CIRCOS diagram is best for consulting the traditional best for analysis.

  2. Tony says:

    I tend to agree — CIRCOS diagrams have that “wow!” factor. However, the social structure of that set of 18 women seems more clear in the second diagram. In a facilitated discussion, the second diagram might generate more specific comments.

    In practice, CIRCOS diagrams often have to be split up into multiple diagrams that highlight different aspects of the data.

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