Node Map 3D — IT Asset Interactive Visualization

Rohan Gaikwad
3 min readAug 13, 2023

The project aims to disrupt how IT administrators visualize, interact, and query IT assets by combining cutting-edge 3D object manipulation technology with a leading database management system.

Software development teams increasingly need visibility into cloud infrastructure as there is a growing trend of deploying applications across distributed environments. They want to be able to track, log and act on any incidents occurring within their applications immediately so that it does not disrupt services for the end users. Typically, an IT infrastructure consists of thousands of configurable items that need continuous observation. Sophisticated visualization tools have emerged that enable system administrators to monitor service networks. Currently, most observability tools available are static 2D node graphs with minimal interactivity. They are enormous and become highly cumbersome to analyze and prove less engaging. We had an opportunity to design an innovative 3D asset map that can prove a lot more engaging and empower IT administrators with tools to be productive and efficient in managing IT infrastructure.

The product was designed primarily for software development teams and IT organizations, and more specifically for IT administrators.

By using a 3D forced-directed layout, the node map self-adjusts based on the relationships, creating a much more compact visualization. Adding the ability to pan, zoom, drag, and move nodes add natural mechanics of manipulation to the node map and supports user engagement and analysis. An integrated histogram component enables the user to investigate using past events and draw insights. Layer filters allow the user to analyze the node map across various kinds of nodes. All these features were built based on close consultation with the service map experts. The usability and appeal of an interactive 3D visualization of a service map is far superior compared to existing tools. User testing confirmed that the users felt node map 3D is far more exciting and encouraging compared to previous versions. They were delighted by the level of interactivity supported by the map and the tools it provided for analysis. They reported a high level of confidence in the tool to solve their pain points and the empowerment it provided to investigate deeper and draw attention to areas where optimization is needed.

The node map 3D project was an outcome of the long-standing requirement of modernizing the node map product. A small team including UX Designers, VX Designers, Product Managers, and Design Leaders was assembled and tasked to come up with futuristic concepts that would leapfrog current solutions in the market and prove as an inspiration for others.

We organized a 2-day research workshop to understand use cases, current offerings, and innovative ideas. Our group included experts from the IT infrastructure industry for our research validation. Through this workshop, we finalized concepts that aligned with our vision. We iteratively designed from lo-fi sketches to highly interactive visually rich prototypes using Figma. Continuous consultation with industry experts helped us solidify our designs. We prototyped the final concept using open-source 3D javascript libraries called D3.

The project’s ground-breaking approach of using force-directed graph to manipulate unified map helped it win the 2023 UX Design Awards Public Choice.



Rohan Gaikwad

Product design leader who advocates for the end-users and designs products optimized for growth.