A Short Note on the History of Graph Drawing

    •  Kruja, E., Marks, J., Blair, A., Waters, R.C., "A Short Note on the History of Graph Drawing", International Symposium on Graph Drawing (GD), Mutzel, P. and Junger, M. and Leipert, S., Eds., , September 2001, pp. 272-286.
      BibTeX TR2001-49 PDF
      • @inproceedings{Kruja2001sep,
      • author = {Kruja, E. and Marks, J. and Blair, A. and Waters, R.C.},
      • title = {A Short Note on the History of Graph Drawing},
      • booktitle = {International Symposium on Graph Drawing (GD)},
      • year = 2001,
      • editor = {Mutzel, P. and Junger, M. and Leipert, S.},
      • series = {Lecture Notes in Computer Science},
      • pages = {272--286},
      • month = sep,
      • publisher = {Springer},
      • isbn = {978-3-540-43309-5},
      • url = {}
      • }
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The origins of chart graphics (e.g., bar charts and line charts) are well known, with the seminal event being the publication of William Playfair's (1759-1823) "The Commercial and Political Atlas" in London in 1786. However, the origins of graph drawing are not well known. Although Euler (1707-1783) is credited with originating graph theory in 1736, graph drawings were in limited use centuries before Euler's time. Moreover, Euler himself does not appear to have made significant use of graph visualizations. Widespread use of graph drawing did not begin until decades later, when it arose in several distinct contexts. In this short note we present a selection of very early graph drawings; note the apparent absence of graph visualization in Euler's work; and identify some early innovators of modern graph drawing.


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