Sunburst maps (also known as treepies) are a relatively new method of visualizing tree structures that is often positioned as an alternative to treemaps.
The very first mentions of sunburst maps can be tracked down to 90s, when various researches experimented with nested pie charts or radial versions of treemaps.
In a few years software developers have adopted the technique for visualizing disk content. Max Howell’s Filelight and Steffen Gerlach’s Scanner are probably the best known examples of such applications.
While working on DaisyDisk we’ve made a series of tweaks to make sunburst maps more suitable for disk visualization:
smaller objectssector making it easier to estimate the amount of disk space taken by large groups of small files (like image collections)
blossomanimations are not just
eye candy, but illustrate visual relationships between folders