Recently I presented a tutorial at the VOX-Pol project’s inaugural Summer School in DCU, which covered practical analysis and visualisation of social networks. Since 2010, my application of choice for visualising networks has been the excellent open source Java-based Gephi Platform, developed by Mathieu Bastian and his colleagues. The three screen overview/tabular/preview interface fits well with my workflow for both exploring small to medium size graphs, and exporting publication quality images. While Gephi does provide graph metrics and clustering, I typically perform these steps in batch in Python using NetworkX, and then export in the common GEXF file format.

A range of useful plugins also exist in the Gephi Marketplace, providing functionality such as implementations of additional graph clustering and layout techniques. When the output of Gephi is combined with the sigmajs JavaScript library, it provides a quick and aesthetically pleasing way of interactively visualising small graphs containing hundreds of nodes in a browser (see here for examples). Suitable GEXF files can be generated in batch using NetworkX or Pygexf in Python, or by directly using the Java Gephi Toolkit API.

Tutorial sides for ‘Practical Social Network Analysis With Gephi’ – June 2014 [PDF 5.4MB]