Visualizing Geophylogenies - Internal and External Labeling with Phylogenetic Tree Constraints

Authors Jonathan Klawitter , Felix Klesen , Joris Y. Scholl, Thomas C. van Dijk , Alexander Zaft

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Author Details

Jonathan Klawitter
  • University of Auckland, New Zealand
Felix Klesen
  • Universität Würzburg, Germany
Joris Y. Scholl
  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany
Thomas C. van Dijk
  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany
Alexander Zaft
  • Universität Würzburg, Germany

Cite AsGet BibTex

Jonathan Klawitter, Felix Klesen, Joris Y. Scholl, Thomas C. van Dijk, and Alexander Zaft. Visualizing Geophylogenies - Internal and External Labeling with Phylogenetic Tree Constraints. In 12th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 277, pp. 5:1-5:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


A geophylogeny is a phylogenetic tree where each leaf (biological taxon) has an associated geographic location (site). To clearly visualize a geophylogeny, the tree is typically represented as a crossing-free drawing next to a map. The correspondence between the taxa and the sites is either shown with matching labels on the map (internal labeling) or with leaders that connect each site to the corresponding leaf of the tree (external labeling). In both cases, a good order of the leaves is paramount for understanding the association between sites and taxa. We define several quality measures for internal labeling and give an efficient algorithm for optimizing them. In contrast, minimizing the number of leader crossings in an external labeling is NP-hard. We show nonetheless that optimal solutions can be found in a matter of seconds on realistic instances using integer linear programming. Finally, we provide several efficient heuristic algorithms and experimentally show them to be near optimal on real-world and synthetic instances.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Human-centered computing → Geographic visualization
  • Applied computing → Biological networks
  • Theory of computation → Discrete optimization
  • geophylogeny
  • boundary labeling
  • external labeling
  • algorithms


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