Feature request: Additional Person Views (Fan Chart; 3-D Tree)

I’d like to propose 2 longer-range feature additions for consideration:

  • Fan Chart view.
  • 3-dimensional tree view.

Fan Chart View

One of my favorite views to work with is the Fan Chart. It’s one of the few online service features of MyHeritage that I prefer, and it’s sorely missing from Ancestry and most desktop software.

Please note that I’m not referring to the Fan Chart report of RM, which is wonderful. Rather, I’m referring to an actual navigational view, where clicking on a person opens their record in the same way it does in the existing Person views.

For the screen real estate, the Fan Chart can’t be beat for representing more generations. It’s also much easier to see where ancestor gaps are. If this view were available in RM, I’d gleefully use it as my default view.
fan chart small

3-D Tree View

(that's fun to say)

This one is MUCH more challenging but a potential revolutionary game changer.

We talk about family “trees”. But how many of you have seen, in nature, a flat 2-D tree with 1 leaf at the end of each branch? Trees are 3 dimensional and covered in leaves. So are families & communities.

What I’m proposing is to represent our trees in 3 dimensions, with all of our ancestors, extended family and associations as a constellation of connected nodes.

To get a sense of what I’m proposing, take a look at Vizster, created at Stanford University as a visualization tool for social networks. vizster | visualizing online social networks

Imagine each major node being a direct ancestor, and smaller nodes being extended family. Those smaller nodes would have connections to their spouses, in-law families, children, etc. And there could be special nodes to represent the Associates that exist in our RM database. (Perhaps family members are sphere nodes and Associates are diamonds, for example.) And you could implement color-coding of nodes to correspond to the color-coding features in RM.

For interface this might work: Single-clicking on a node would bring that one to the forefront. Double-clicking would open the person editor screen. Mouse wheel scrolling would zoom in to focus more closely on a node or zoom out to view a larger portion of the node constellation.

I know this one is a real challenge to implement. But consider how such a visualization could lead to interactions & insights you never dreamed of before.

Side note: When visiting the Vizster site, be sure to click on the names of the two authors, particularly Jeffrey Heer, for more visualization goodies.

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Heredis has a fan chart interactive main view.

And a rather dated quasi-3D (multiple 2-D planes) product has not seen an update in 6 years:
The video demo illustrates some real navigation challenges.

I wasn’t familiar with Heredis. The website doesn’t seem to show any actual app screens, just pretty marketing photos, etc. Ah well. Even if well executed, a fan chart interface alone isn’t enough to get me to ante up for their software. I’ve thrown my lot in with RM.

Yep, I’ve seen the Progeny 3D images before. That’s not where I got my inspiration for the 3D view though. It actually came from another website that currently I can’t find. It represented inter-relations of something else, music genres I think. The concept has stuck with me ever since.

Here’s a screenshot. The details of the selected person are in the bottom-right pane.

I’m not using it but it has intrigued me because it also uses an unencrypted sqlite database, very different in design from that of RM.

Ah, thanks for that @TomH . Personally, I find their interface to be too ‘busy’. I’d never be able to fit my fan, which goes in places out to 8 generations. RM, on the other hand, has quite a bit of the real estate dedicated to the actual tree structure. I’m sure a fan view would fit nicely.

In fact, here are mock-ups of how RM could fit / look with 6 and 8 generation fan charts. I’ve taken existing RM Fan Chart reports and pasted them into the RM Person interface.

  • For the actual interface the data other than name (ie DoB, DoD, etc) should be omitted and font sizes be enlarged to aid visibility.
  • Color-coding settings would work like they do now for the traditional Ancestor tree style.

With a semi-circle, instead of fan, you could probably comfortably go out to 10 generations.

6 generation

8 generation