Monday, August 22, 2011


This is my InMap, a visualization of my LinkedIn professional network. DJ Patil, chief scientist at LinkedIn has come up with this simple yet intuitive way to represent the professional network of LinkedIn users. These are the simple steps to get your own InMap and explore it:

1. Log in at and wait till your InMap is populated using your LinkedIn contacts.
2.  Once your InMap is up:
    - Use your mouse scroll to zoom
    - Click and Drag the map to move
    - Click on a connection's name to get more information
    - Label the color-coded clusters to describe your relationships

At the center of the network is the user for whom this visualization is being created. The user is surrounded by all his contacts grouped together logically. The coloring of these closely grouped contacts is random and to make more sense, one has to hover on these contacts. Once you can figure out a logical connection in all the closely placed contacts, you can fill in the legend provided with this network. In my network, the blue contacts are my classmates at NC State. The orange and green contacts are either my undergraduate classmates or friends. The light-blue, grey and maroon colors do not have a logical connection. There is a provision of zooming in/ out over a specific contact. You can click on a contact and see the overlap of that contact's professional network and your professional network. The radius of a contact's circle is proportional to this overlap. In the above image, I have clicked on a contact who is my friend, undergraduate classmate and also worked with me in my previous company. Evidently, there is a lot of overlap between his and my network. This is the reason he can be seen as a comparatively big green circle on my network.

The underlying algorithm for this visualization is a predictive algorithm. Contacts are placed topologically on your professional graph in the vicinity of other similar contacts. The accuracy of this algorithm increases with the addition of more contacts in your professional network. As in my case the grey/ maroon contacts are either family or friends and the topological representation of these contacts will improve as and when I add more family/ friends to my LinkedIn network.