Network Graph

The Network Graph visualization supports undirected and directed graph structures. This type of visualization illuminates relationships between entities. Entities are displayed as round nodes and lines show the relationships between them. The vivid display of network nodes can highlight non-trivial data discrepancies that may be otherwise be overlooked.

Current limitations include:

  • The visualization will only show relationships from the first 100,000 rows in a table. A filter can include rows from 100,001 or beyond in the table, but the graph will still not display them.
  • Internet Explorer 8 and below are not supported. When using Fusion Tables with an unsupported browser, the Network Graph visualization will not be available. Embedded network graphs are replaced with a static image. 

Each row of a table represents one relationship in the graph. For example, a table and network graph about people and their dogs might look like:

Person Dog Breed ...
Joe Spot boxer ...
Joe Trinity black lab ...

The network graph shows each row as a line connecting a person and a dog. Since Joe is listed twice, he's shown as one bigger node. 

To create a Network Graph in the New look:

  • [+] > Add chart
  • Click the choose network graph button Network Graph button.
  • By default, the graph will display links between the first two text columns.

To create a Network Graph in Classic:

  • Experiment > Network Graph
  • By default, the first two text columns will be selected as the source of nodes: Node column 1 and Node column 2

Adjust the Network Graph's display:

  • Select a number column to act as a Weight factor for line length.  The default is 1. 
  • Check Color nodes by column to display nodes from different columns with a distinct color. 
  • Select Show link direction between nodes to display directional arrows.
  • Apply a filter. This can be useful on a large table so that you can see the nodes and lines more clearly.

Interact with the Network Graph:

  • "Camera" zoom means nodes become bigger but not more or less numerous. 
  • Choose how many nodes to show. Fusion Tables applies an algorithm that adds and removes nodes according to their importance, which is based on number of links to a node. 
  • Hover over a node to display a tooltip identifying the node and highlight all lines connected to it.
  • You can pan the graph.
  • You can drag a single node. When you let go, it readjusts back to an equivalent place in the graph. 

Good to know:

  • Multiple relationships between two nodes are summed into a thicker line.
  • If the same text value appears in both columns and Color nodes by column is checked, the color of that node could be either color.
  • IE 8 and earlier browsers will see a non-interactive image of the visualization.
Try the Google Plus Visualizer to see the Network Graph in action on your social network.

Try it yourself! #1: Senators

A classic example looks at the social network of senators. With thanks to Peter Aldhous and NodeXL.


To create this network graph in the New look:

  1. Open the senator data table (or download it and make a new table).
  2. Choose [+] > Add chart, and click the choose network graph button Network Graph button.
  3. Confirm the default to show links between these two columns:
    • Vertex 1
    • Vertex 2
  4. For Weight by, choose "Percent_Agreement."
  5. Add a filter:
    1. Click Filter menu button and select "Percent_Agreement" from the menu.
    2. Type 0.67 in the first box, and click Find
  6. Click done button to hide the settings. Access them again under Tools > Change chart.

Here's a link to the final state. You can see that Senators Collins, Snowe and Spector acted as a swing vote more often than other senators. 


Try it yourself! #2: Costa Rican caterpillars

Here's another example that analyzes the host plant choices for the Astraptes caterpillar in Costa Rica. 

To create this network graph in Classic:

  1. Open the caterpillar data (or download it to create your own table). 
  2. Choose Labs > Network graph.
  3. Select "sex" column as Node column 1.
  4. Select "host plant species" column as Node column 2.
  5. Leave Weight blank.
  6. Check Color nodes by column to give each node type its own color. 
  7. Select Show link direction between nodes to display directional arrows.
  8. Click the Nodes shown of 22 box (22 unique names) to reduce the number of nodes shown. 

You can see that there are three host plant species that are only eaten by males and four that are only eaten by females. You can also see that the caterpillars are most frequently found eating the plant species Hampea Appendiculata by the size of the lines drawn to it. 


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