Node Link Diagram: What It Is, When To Use It, And The DataWalk Solution

What Is A Node Link Diagram?

Node link diagrams supported in software such as DataWalk enable the visualization and analysis of the relationships between entities, where an entity may be a vehicle, a phone, an address, a transaction, or anything else. In a node link diagram, entities are represented as nodes, and the relationships between entities are represented as lines that are called links.


Node Link Diagram Example

Below is an example of a node link diagram for a fictitious law enforcement use case. In this case, the node link diagram visualizes how several people relate to a crime, where Alexander Miller was a murder victim, Mark Watkins was a witness to the murder, and Samuel Booker has been identified as a suspect.

Network Graph Example


Node Link Diagram: Who Needs It

A node link diagram is an excellent construct for the many use cases where the key questions are around identifying and understanding how and whether entities are connected.

Node link diagrams 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.


Node Link Diagram: 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 node link diagrams. The DataWalk node link diagram facility – which we primarily call “link charts” - provides the ability to merge entities; save, share, and retrieve node link diagrams; generate alerts; undo/redo previous steps of an analysis; display entities on integrated maps; create heatmaps; and automatically identify important entities in a node link diagram via Social Network Analysis. Learn more about the DataWalk link analysis solution.

FYI, note that related terminology can get confusing. A node link diagram may also be known as a link chart, a network graph, a network map, or just a “graph”. Simply drawing a node link diagram may be referred to as graph visualization. Analysis of a node link diagram may be 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.

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