Visualizing the Structure of the World Wide Web in 3D Hyperbolic Space

Tamara Munzner and Paul Burchard

Proceedings of VRML '95, (San Diego, California, December 14-15, 1995), special issue of Computer Graphics, ACM SIGGRAPH, New York, 1995, pp. 33-38.


We visualize the structure of sections of the World Wide Web by constructing graphical representations in 3D hyperbolic space. The felicitous property that hyperbolic space has ``more room'' than Euclidean space allows more information to be seen amid less clutter, and motion by hyperbolic isometries provides for mathematically elegant navigation. The 3D graphical representations, available in the WebOOGL or VRML file formats, contain link anchors which point to the original pages on the Web itself. We use the Geomview/WebOOGL 3D Web browser as an interface between the 3D representation and the actual documents on the Web. The Web is just one example of a hierarchical tree structure with links ``back up the tree'' i.e. a directed graph which contains cycles. Our information visualization techniques are appropriate for other types of directed graphs with cycles, such as filesystems with symbolic links.

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