Clusters of patents on a map with word clouds above showing the top technological trends they have in common

Making sense of the universe of relationships in massive data has been a longstanding challenge. The scalability limits of traditional node-link visualizations result in uninterpretable “hairballs.” New standard methodologies are needed to leverage the intuitive usability of geospatial maps for navigation and interpretation of multi-scale clusters and communities in data.

In this application of our novel graph mapping methodology, we built an interactive multi-scale map of all 2.5 million U.S. patents granted since 2001, linked by citation reference. Large, closely situated communities indicate technological domains with significant innovation. Analytic overlays convey themes, emergent or declining technological trends, and areas of intensive intellectual property contention.