Graph Analysis: What It Is, When To Use It, And What DataWalk Offers
What is Graph Analysis?
Strictly speaking, graph analysis refers to utilizing advanced algorithms that automatically identify the relationships between entities.
With the above definition, graph analysis can include things like identifying the shortest path between two entities, or automatically recognizing the most significant entities in a network. Such analyses are done on a network graph, which can be thought of as a diagram where each node represents an entity (where an entity can be a person, location, phone, etc.) and the connections between those entities are known as links.
In practice, graph analysis often refers to the more basic identification, visualization and analysis of the relationships between entities. This makes the term somewhat interchangeable with the terms link analysis and network analysis.
Graph Analysis Example
As an example of a graph analysis, consider the graph (link chart) below.
We could automatically apply various graph algorithms to this to automatically identify the most significant entities (nodes) in this network. For example, we can apply the page rank algorithm, which will resize nodes based on how many other objects the entity is connected with, and which can be an indication of importance in a network.
To see a more basic graph analysis example, see network analysis.
Graph Analysis: Who Needs It
For use cases associated with intelligence analysis and law enforcement, it can be valuable to apply graph analysis to complex link charts in order to quickly identify those entities that may be the most significant, such as the leader of a criminal organization.
Graph Analysis: The DataWalk Solution
DataWalk is a comprehensive Enterprise-class software platform for fusing data across your various sources, and then enabling easy access and analysis of that data.
DataWalk provides various analysis capabilities. This includes true graph analysis capabilities such as “shortest path”, which automatically identifies the shortest path between two data elements across all the data in the system. DataWalk also provides various other Social Network Analysis facilities for automatically identifying significant entities in a complicated link chart.
In addition, DataWalk support various other facilities that in practice are often considered to be “graph analysis”, such as enabling users to save, share, and retrieve link charts; merge objects; generate alerts; undo/redo previous steps of an analysis; display entities on integrated maps; and create heatmaps.