The Time Bar

Visualize your dynamic networks

Graph data is rarely static. It usually has a time dimension, which can be critical to unlocking insight. This page explains how our products help you see and investigate the ‘when’, as well as the ‘what’ in your data.

What is time-based graph data?

Time-based graph data is any connected data that has a date or time-stamp, either automatically or manually generated. For example:

  • Fraud investigators need to understand the times and dates of financial transactions
  • IT network analysts need to understand when specific activity takes place on a corporate network
  • Law enforcement agents need to understand the sequence of events pieced together from evidence and witness statements.

Exploring the graphs through time helps you understand cause and effect, the evolution of events and see graph data evolve over time.

Our time bar

There are many ways to understand time-based graph data (we cover some of them here) but we’ve developed our own time bar component, available in all of our products.

It provides a clear and intuitive way to navigate complex graph data through time, integrating seamlessly with the network chart.

Using the time bar, your users can:

  • Instantly filter data by time and date
  • Observe networks evolve
  • Investigate network and subnetwork trends

Exploring the time bar

The time bar: convey complexity without overwhelming the user
The time bar: convey complexity without overwhelming the user

To help make sense of dynamic graph data, the time bar has four interactive elements and a layout.

The Zoom Controls

These help you change the range of time being visualized – from fractions of a second to centuries. As you select the time period of interest, the chart will update to show only activity taking place during that interval.

The Navigation Controls

These controls allow you to play, pause, fast forward, rewind or ‘play extend’ (adding data incrementally from a set point) with the time bar.

A Dynamic Graph Layout

Our tweak layout helps you understand the changes taking place in dynamic networks. By animating the change from one state to another, you can watch connections being made and broken.

The histogram and selection

These show the volume, or sum of values, of your data in the time bar. The histogram shows the overall network activity, whilst the selection link shows activity of selected nodes or sub-networks in the chart. It’s possible to represent both instantaneous events, such as sending an SMS message, and events with a duration, like a phone call.

The Scale

This runs along the bottom of the component and shows the range of time being visualized. It can be localised – you can change the language, date order (MM/DD/YY or DD/MM/YY) or clock format used (24hr/12hr).

Visualizing Dynamic Graphs

Want to learn more about our Time Bar? Our white paper, ‘How to visualize Dynamic Graphs’ gives a more in depth introduction.

Download the white paper