Botanical Visualization of Huge Hierarchies

What is BotanicalVis?

BotanicalVis is a tool to visualize huge hierarchies in 3D-space. It reads file data and shows the hierarchical structure of used disk space in a botanical tree. Therefore the user should be able to imagine where the biggest files live.

Idea and concept based on the paper

Botanical Visualization of Huge Hierarchies
Ernst Kleiberg, Huub van de Wetering, Jarke J. van Wijk
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Eindhoven University of Technology

This project has been written for the InfoVis course at the Vienna University of Technology. It is absolutely free and open-source, licensed under GNU GPL 2

Features and more ...

  • botanical visualization techniques and refinements
    • strand(s), branch(es), fruit(s)
    • phyllotaxis
    • contradiction
  • camera transformations (pan, rotation, zoom)
  • information interactivity (picking, dual linking, colour-matching)
  • algorithm settings
  • implemented in Delphi with OpenGL
  • for all Windows 32-bit platforms (Win2k/XP)
  • no need to install
  • minimum idle resources


First of all a tree is a synonym for hierarchical data (e.g. file system). To build up a hierarchical structure you need only nodes and leaves. In a botanical tree the corresponding items are stems, branches and fruits. In detail a stem is equivalent to a directory, subdirectories are identified by branches and fruits are set of files. So BotanicalVis will show a 3D geometry of this 3 items corresponding to its readed file structure.

To start the application execute the binary BotanicalVis.exe. Then you will see the settings gui interface, where you can select the directory to read in and change some rendering settings. The explorer and directory group should be self-explanatory. The settings group will show a listview with names and colours. The filetypes (e.g. *.exe, *.pdf, ...) will be shown with their corresponding colour in the botanical tree. You can change each value by double-clicking the cell with the mouse. Please do not change the names: sphere, stem and unknown. The colours are yours. To add a new entry go to last item and press the down key.
To change the creation of the tree modify the angles alpha and beta. First is responsible for the branching angle between two sub-branches, second for the phyllotaxis, the rotation along the y-axis of the stem.
All settings are saved on exit in the settings.ini file. This file should live in the same directory where the application lives.

If you have successfully selected a directory, the program starts a new thread for parsing the directory structure, this could take a moment. Then a second window should pop-up and show the result, a botanical tree. To interact with the geometry use the mouse.

  • click the left button to pick an object, the hit object would be marked through a coordinate system (red-green-blue)
  • hold the left button pushed down and moving the mouse horizontal will do a rotation around the vertical (y-axis)
  • middle button pushed down and moving the mouse vertical to zoom in/out, same with wheel scrolling
  • right button pushed down and moving the mouse (x/y) pans the object

If you close the rendering window, the data would be lost and the directory have to be read in once again or select another one.

For source documentation with delphidoc click here

For feature requests, bugs and more please contact philipp.hartl[at]


BotanicalVis BotanicalVis BotanicalVis BotanicalVis
GUI α = 60
β = 180
α = β = 90 detail


latest version is 0.1, alpha status

  • Binary package: zip [332Kb]
  • Source package: zip [187Kb]
maintained by Philipp Hartl
last update on 2006/06/17
comments to philipp.hartl[at]
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