Network Graph: What It Is, When To Use It, And The DataWalk Solution
What is Network Graph?
A network graph is a visualization of the relationships between entities, where an entity may be a person, an event, a transaction, a vehicle, or anything else. Entities are represented as nodes, and the relationships between entities are represented as lines that are called links.
Network Graph Example
Below is an example of a network graph for a fictitious law enforcement use case. In this case, the network graph visualizes how several people relate to a crime, specifically that Alexander Miller was murdered, Mark Watkins witnessed the crime, and Samuel Booker is a suspect.
Network Graph: Who Needs It
A network graph is an excellent construct for use cases where the key questions are around identifying and understanding how and whether entities are connected.
Networks graphs are extremely useful in use cases such as intelligence analysis (e.g., one person is an associate of a suspect or known criminal), fraud detection (e.g., the same social security number was used by different people), and many others.
Network Graph: 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 heavily utilizes graph technology, and provides a robust facility for visualizing and analyzing network graphs. The DataWalk network graph facility provides the ability to merge entities; save, share, and retrieve link charts; generate alerts; undo/redo previous steps of an analysis; display entities on integrated maps; create heatmaps; and automatically identify important entities in a network graph via Social Network Analysis.
FYI, note that related terminology can get confusing. A network graph may also known as a link chart, a node-link diagram, a network map, or just a “graph”. Simply drawing a network graph may be referred to as graph visualization. Analysis of a network graph is known as graph analysis, link analysis, and network analysis. Links between entities are often referred to as connections. Experts and academics may refer to nodes as vertices, and may refer to links as edges.