GEPS 030: New Visualization Techniques

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The purpose of this GEPS is to discuss new visualization techniques for possible inclusion in Gramps.


Descendant Fan Chart View - full circle

At present Gramps offers two graphical visualizations of genealogical data as views:

Some Addons:

A number of graphical and GraphViz based reports for printout:

As well as a graphical default gramplets:

In the last few years papers have been published describing new visualization techniques.



Family trees are presented in the form of a grid.

Quilts allow the visualization of large genealogies up to several thousand individuals, by using a diagonally-filled matrix, where rows are individuals and columns are nuclear families.

A video, demonstration software, and a paper describing the technique can be found on the Aviz website.

Status: See Feature request "4649: GeneaQuilts visualization integration"

Quilt view (Gramps 4.2.1 Windows 7)



This is a type of timeline tree.

TimeNets, enable analysis of families over time, by prioritize temporal relationships, in addition to the family structure. Individuals are represented using timelines that converge and diverge to indicate marriage and divorce; directional edges connect parents and children.

Note: Wilfried Trabold pointed this out on the gramps-users mailing list in December 2010. Gerald Britton[1] was in a side-discussion with the authors to explore the possibility of working together to include this in Gramps.

Status: Not known.

Dual Trees

Dual Trees

This is a method of combining graphs in a single display.

  • Bi-directional top-down node-link diagrams
  • Used for navigating genealogical graphs (family “trees”)

Status: Unexplored.

The H-Tree

The H-tree

A structured, space-efficient technique for pedigree visualization (to display ancestral trees).

The H-tree based layout can be used to display ancestral trees. This layout increases the number of displayable generations, via a symmetrically arranged structure, provides the the user with an overview that allows them to understand and navigate through the data.

Status: See 6389 for a working trial for Gramps 3.4.2 windows portable and Gramps 4.1.1(with minor file changes)

H-tree trial(5 generation(31 people shown)(Gramps 4.1.0 Windows 7)

The Genealogy program Gene first called this type of chart the Ancestor Grid. eg: A different type of ancestor tree drawing, the "Ancestor Grid", connects generations alternately left-right and up-down, so that ancestors are spread in a grid around their common descendant. The horizontal or vertical style determines which direction is used first. The tree structure of these drawings is less clear than in the "Ancestors" tree but the grid can sometimes fit more names in the given space. Unlike the other tree drawings, when the ancestor grid runs out of room to add more generations it simply cuts the tree off, without adding any ellipses. Below we show a horizontal ancestor grid. Gene 4.3 User Guide:4.3. Ancestor trees and grids, Copyright 1995-2000 David and Diana Eppstein. At least as far back as [2]Added to Gene v4.0 in June 1994, Improved tree drawings including more font sizes, more styles, new ancestor grid layout, menu to switch layout type within the tree dialog, and ability to save PICT files.

The Gene-Tree

The gene-tree (Cranefoot)

A structured, space-efficient technique for pedigree visualization (to display ancestral trees), using colors and symbols. This type of tree is often used for medical usage.

Status: Unexplored.

See also:


Feature Requests

  • 702: Vertical Descendant Charts
  • 815: I would like to have a graphical view of relationships
  • 864: Family Wheel - input UI
  • 1373: Want a complete graphical view, like in Kith and Kin
  • 2218: Medical genetics
  • 2266: Different modes in Pedigree view
  • 2611: Alternative Genealogy Graphs - Original idea for Fan Chart, Dual Trees, and other ideas
  • 2668: Vertical graphical descendencies
  • 3590: Relationships domain
  • 4169: To generate a numbering class for mapping individuals according to start person (temp snapshot) and for generating Pedigrees, Charts, Gramplets, Tools with duplicated ancestors match support.
  • 4564: Ancestor Medical Record
  • 4649: GeneaQuilts visualization integration
  • 5329: Please offer relationship graph with timeline
  • 6048: Descendants View, a "reverse" Pedigree
  • 6486: When first cousins marry
  • Alternate FanChart [3]