Visualizing criminal relationships: Comparison of a hyperbolic tree and a hierarchical list

Yang Xiang, Michael Chau, Homa Atabakhsh, Hsinchun Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


In crime analysis, law enforcement officials have to process a large amount of criminal data and figure out their relationships. It is important to identify different associations among criminal entities. In this paper, we propose the use of a hyperbolic tree view and a hierarchical list view to visualize criminal relationships. A prototype system called COPLINK Criminal Relationship Visualizer was developed. An experiment was conducted to test the effectiveness and the efficiency of the two views. The results show that the hyperbolic tree view is more effective for an "identify" task and more efficient for an "associate" task. The participants generally thought it was easier to use the hierarchical list, with which they were more familiar. When asked about the usefulness of the two views, about half of the participants thought that the hyperbolic tree was more useful, while the other half thought otherwise. Our results indicate that both views can help in criminal relationship visualization. While the hyperbolic tree view performs better in some tasks, the users' experiences and preferences will impact the decision on choosing the visualization technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-83
Number of pages15
JournalDecision Support Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Criminal data analysis
  • Hierarchical list
  • Hyperbolic tree
  • Information visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Visualizing criminal relationships: Comparison of a hyperbolic tree and a hierarchical list'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this