What's an easy way to build a visual map of the links between about 60 pieces of data?
June 30, 2010 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Visual map to handle the links between ~60 pieces of data - not quite a sitemap, not quite a diagram... is there a better term for what I'm trying to find?

I'm looking for a program / web tool / software that will let me input the links between ~ 60 pieces of data and will generate some kind of out put that looks like this kind of visual map.

For example, I have 60 pages in a wiki. I know that the page Cars links to the page Roads, which links to the page Trucks. If I plugged the list of links for all pages into this tool, I would be able to quickly visualize whether or not the page Trucks has a link to the the page Cars. Keep in mind that the page on Cars might have 2 links, the page on Roads might have 10 links, and the page on Trucks might have 5 links - not every page will have the same # of links.

It doesn't have to be as pretty or well-designed as the example I linked - I feel like I've seen a lot of visual maps in that wheel display lately, but my Google-fu is failing to bring me to an easy solution.

Let me know if I can provide any more info about what features or specifications I'm trying to find - if the tool does indeed exist! Free is nice but not necessary - if the tool is right and not too expensive for what is a relatively small task, I can probably find cash to pay for a license.
posted by pants to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The magic word you want, borrowed from math and computer science, is "graph." In your case, it's a directed graph, because page B, linked from page A, does not have to link back. Graphviz is the standard recommended tool for this job. It has layers allowing you to prettify the arrangement of nodes (pages) and edges (links) into a more human-pleasing configuration.
posted by adipocere at 10:36 AM on June 30, 2010

adipocere, thanks! I may not be enough of a programmer to be able to fully implement Graphviz.

I guess one important / critical feature of this tool is that it has some sort of GUI for non-technical users - I might be able to muddle through the documentation, but the other users for this tool won't.
posted by pants at 10:47 AM on June 30, 2010

The basic data you put into Graphviz is a text file. It's very simple. I believe a GUI exists called "dotty" to help with this, though. I haven't used dotty or lefty, so I may not be steering you in the right direction.
posted by adipocere at 10:58 AM on June 30, 2010

You might consider VUE from Tufts University. It's pretty full-featured and the price is right.
posted by cross_impact at 11:12 AM on June 30, 2010

There are also low-tech graphs. (Uses HTTP imagemaps.)
posted by phliar at 1:19 PM on June 30, 2010

I recommend searching for a Graphviz tutorial. It's really not that hard to pick up. And it is absolutely what you are looking for. IAAMACS (I am a mathematician and computer scientist).
posted by Precision at 7:17 PM on June 30, 2010

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