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Social Network Image Animator

What is it?

SoNIA is a Java-based package for visualizing dynamic or longitudinal "network" data. By dynamic, we mean that in addition to information about the relations (ties) between various entities (actors, nodes) there is also information about when these relations occur, or at least the relative order in which they occur.

Our intention for SoNIA is  to read-in dynamic network information from various formats, aid the user in constructing "meaningful" layouts, and export the resulting images or "movies" of the network, along with information about the techniques and parameter settings used to construct the layouts, and some form of statistic indicating the "accuracy" or degree of distortion present in the layout. This is all somewhat ambitious, but not impossible.

What else is SoNIA for?

In addition, we hope that SoNIA will have other uses. One of the most important is for it to work as a platform for the development, testing, and comparison of various static and dynamic layout techniques. Because of this, We have attempted to code SoNIA as an OpenSource project in a modular fashion so that the various layout techniques and tools are fairly interchangeable, and they can all draw on a common set of utility functions for common network and layout operations.

Another mode of use that SoNIA supports is that of a "browser" for time-based network data. Our intention is to make it as easy as possible for users (us) to visually inspect sets of relations in large datasets at varying temporal resolutions and degrees of aggregation.


SoNIA is currently under development by Dan McFarland and Skye Bender-deMoll, originally supported by a Research Incentive Award provided by Stanford University's Office of Technology and Liscensing (grant # 2-CDZ-108).

Other contributors include:

We would also like to thank the CSDE Network Modeling Team, James Moody, Ben Shaw, Tom Snijders, Christian Steglich, Michael Schweinberger, Kaisa Snellman, Ozgecan Kocak, John Padgett and many others for their contributions at various stages of this project.

Please post problems or questions about SoNIA to