This may be a silly question, apologies if it is. And further apologies if I've said something wrong.

Network graphs, or visualisations look somewhat like this, with each node representing a thing connected to another thing. So for my example, I'd like to model population changes for refugees from their origin country to their destination country.

I've been tasked to create a graph which shows a similar change over a period of years, but I am really not sure how years could be modelled? e.g. how would a graph like the example above, show a change in years?

Edit: preferably using the NodeXL plugin

  • $\begingroup$ Is it a compulsion that you need a similar visualization? Cause, there are better ones which can cater to your problem statement $\endgroup$
    – Dawny33
    Nov 28, 2015 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't have to be similar, just has to be a network visualisation of sorts. $\endgroup$ Nov 28, 2015 at 2:05

2 Answers 2


The Sankey diagram would be nicely suited for your problem statement.

The flow width can be the number of refugees migrated, and the end nodes can be the destinations (from and to) of the refugees, and the flow width would be the magnitude of refugee migration.

If you want to model the graph on a geographical map, it can look something like this:

enter image description here

I am not sure whether it can be done in NodeXL or not. But, a google search has returned me this link.


It seems that our first issue is to model the graph before visualizing it. I would recommend Neo4j and its Cypher query language.

For the data modeling, states can be the nodes with a population property (or even population for each year), relationship could be the directed migration with the number of refugees and a year property.

Now with such a graph at hand you can easily retrieve the total number of refugees per year by using the year property from the nodes or the edges.


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