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I am interested in diagramming relationships and flow of information between different groups at my design company. I think my ideal diagram tool would be something like any modern mapping app:

  • I could define all relationships between tasks, major and minor (e.g. like roads connecting cities).
  • When zoomed out, you'd see the major relationships with appropriately sized labels and level of detail (e.g. how highways connect cities, but no detail on streets, avenues, etc).
  • As you'd zoom in, more detail would be revealed; you could zoom in to individual processes or work instructions (e.g. until you're at the street level or even "street view").

In addition, I'd like to ability to easily show/hide layers. This way, definitions, complex additional relations (e.g. where reviews are necessary), groupings, etc could be shown or not to suit the user's needs.

For now I've been using Visio, but I simply can't stuff all of the detail I want into one chart without making the font too small to be practical for a single view or printing it out on a plotter.

Prezi comes close to what I'm looking for in terms of (1) presentation with (2) ability to zoom infinitely, but doesn't do so well when it comes to layers or zoom-level hiding.

Throughout my past working on cars or my house or in medical device design for mechanical, software, and systems engineering, this type of tool would have been incredibly useful so many times. Any ideas?

Here's an example of a wiring diagram that could be simplified.

Note: an exceptional tool for visualization of complex relationships could save the world and possibly win wars :)

  • An area where such an approach has been successfully applied is 3D graphics: objects that are further away are shown with less detail. However: it's you to decide what important means, so you have ro model all that. – Thomas Weller Aug 16 '16 at 18:33

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