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Open Access Visualization of Complex Familial and Social Structures

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Visualizations are widely used when working with family and genealogical structures, both to navigate through the generations and to provide overview information about the family as a whole. Our research investigates the concept of "marriage" in the complex and polygamous familial structures of Mormon society in mid-1800s Nauvoo, IL, including several definitions of marital and relational ties. We have found current visualizations to be insufficient in fully expressing this complexity. We present visualizations based on chord and flow diagrams to capture the locality and cohesiveness of larger and more complex family units and encapsulate familial dynamics into the nodes of their overall lineage. Each family unit is portrayed as a chord diagram adapted to display intra-familial relationships with a left-to-right generational flow and chords indicating relationships between participants. Zooming out, we depict the overall lineage as a modified flow diagram with the family units as nodes, connected with others based on the participants; each hyper-edge links an individual's family of birth to her adult marriage.
Our implementation has yielded evocative and provocative visualizations–preserving locality of family unit members, an overall temporal order on their display, and distinguishability of relational types–by which scholars can investigate these complex social structure.
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Keywords: GENEALOGIES; HUMANITIES APPLICATIONS; VISUALIZATION; WEB-BASED VISUALIZATIONS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 28, 2018

This article was made available online on January 13, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Visualization of complex familial and social structures".

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  • For more than 30 years, the Electronic Imaging Symposium has been serving those in the broad community - from academia and industry - who work on imaging science and digital technologies. The breadth of the Symposium covers the entire imaging science ecosystem, from capture (sensors, camera) through image processing (image quality, color and appearance) to how we and our surrogate machines see and interpret images. Applications covered include augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, machine vision, data analysis, digital and mobile photography, security, virtual reality, and human vision. IS&T began sole sponsorship of the meeting in 2016. All papers presented at EIs 20+ conferences are open access.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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