Force-directed layout of origin-destination flow maps

Bernhard Jenny, Daniel M. Stephen, Ian Muehlenhaus, Brooke E. Marston, Ritesh Sharma, Eugene Zhang, Helen Jenny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This paper introduces a force-directed layout method for creating origin-destination flow maps. Design principles derived from manual cartography and automated graph drawing to increase readability of flow maps and graph layouts are taken into account. The origin-destination flow maps produced with our algorithm show flows with quadratic Bézier curves that reduce flow-on-flow and flow-on-node overlaps, and avoid sharp or irregular bends in flow lines. A survey of expert cartographers found that flow maps created with our automated method are similar in quality to manually produced flow maps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1521–1540
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • cartographic design principles
  • graph drawing
  • map design
  • Origin-destination flow maps

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