>I was looking for a way to clean up my 5-way Venn diagrams (aka, remove the spaces with zeros) when I discovered you can do some pretty amazing things in Inkscape once you convert your objects to paths.
Since I plan to use this as a figure, I’ve removed the relevant numbers, but left the shapes – I think it’s pretty obvious right away how the relationships work, which isn’t bad, considering it IS a 5-way venn diagram.
Pretty, isn’t it?
As I mentioned above, the image was made in Inkscape (available for windows/linux/mac). The software natively produces scalable vector graphics, which can be exported to png. Despite the complexity of the image, it really doesn’t take long to do this, and Inkscape is pretty easy, once you get the hang of it.
Anyhow, while it’s not immediately clear how to interpret the figure, it’s still an interesting representation of data that would otherwise be totally impossible to interpret with the naked eye.
>I’m rather pleased with myself, though it’s hardly deserved. I was working on 4-data set Venn diagrams about a month ago and told Steve that “this is as high as I think we can go. We won’t be able to visualize any higher order data set overlaps”, and then managed to prove myself wrong today.
Taking inspiration from another site on the web showing triangular based Venn diagrams for 5-data sets, I came up with a much cleaner representation:
It’s not like I invented a new branch of math or anything, but hey, that’s pretty darn cool. The triangle sizes are roughly proportional with the size of the datasets, which I didn’t even think i could approximate, and I even like the look of it. While I knew this wouldn’t be possible with circles (I had played briefly with rhomboids and triangles before), I was stuck until I saw this picture, and then realized that there was a much cleaner way to assemble the triangles using parallel edges, and tada, we had a winner.
Obviously, the more generalized version using identical sized triangles can be done as well. In inkscape, it’s relatively easy make a 3 sided polygon, copy it 4 times and then rotate each one by 72 degrees and layer them with some opacity. Aren’t Venn diagrams fun?
I hear the chorus calling me a geek, so I’ll move on to other topics.
I’m currently planning on resuming my blogging with more frequent updates. The last month was a good break, giving me a bit more time to catch up on other things (research), but I’ve saved up several topics, and I’m ready to get going again. I’ll try for at least 3 a week for the next while. Wish me luck.