Have you ever hade a bunch of points just sitting on a plane and wondered “Given some arbirary location on this plane, what is the closest point?” I have. And a Voronoi diagram will show you the answer. Let’s create one.

There are a few efficient algorithms to calculate Voronoi diagrams. Those would definitly be interesting too look at, but for now we’ll just use a javascript library that’s ready to go. Once we’ve computed the diagram we’ll look at a few ways to visualize it’s output with paper.js.

Setup

First install the library.

npm install voronoi

Now include an initialize it on the page.

import Voronoi from 'voronoi';

const voronoi = new Voronoi();

Now we need some points. Here they are just being placed at random, but other point placing stragies could be used. Or you could even use real-world data for your points.

function randomPoints([width, height], nPoints, margin = 0) {
const points = [];
for (let i = 0; i < nPoints; i++) {
points.push({
x: random(margin, width - margin),
y: random(margin, height - margin)
});
}
return points;
}

const margin = 20;
const width = 1000;
const height = 1000;
const nPoints = 100;
const points = randomPoints([width, height], nPoints, margin);

points is an array containing 100 objects with x and y properties bound by the width and height plus the margin of 20 we gave.

Computing the diagram

To compute the Voronoi diagram we need one last thing, a bounding box. Without a bounding box the outside partitions of the plane would shoot off to infinity, and infinity is hard to draw, The voronoi library won’t compute the diagram without one. The bounding box is an object with xl, xr, yt, and yb properties, for ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘top’, and ‘bottom’. Now just call the compute method.

const bbox = { xl: margin, xr: width - margin, yt: margin, yb: height - margin };

const diagram = voronoi.compute(points, bbox);

The compute method returns an object describing the voronoi diagram. It is still up to us to draw it. The object describes the voronoi diagram as a collection of cells, edges, and vertices. With these properties we can draw the diagram a number of ways.

Drawing the edges

The most simple way to draw the diagram is to just iterate through the edges list. We can iterate through the list of edges and draw them. This will show the boundaries of all the cells. The edges are not listed in any particular order, but it does have lSite and rSite The edge properties which refer to the points on the left and right of the edge. va and vb are the vertices of the edge. They are what we need to draw the line between.

diagram.edges.forEach(edge => {
new Path.Line({
from: edge.va,
to: edge.vb,
strokeColor: 'black'
});
});

Drawing Cells

Another way to draw the diagram is by iterating over the cells. Each cell has an array of halfedges. A halfedge is slightly different from the edge we just drew because it is specific to a cell and it is directed. The halfedges alway run in a counter-clockwise direction around the point the cell contains. We can use the halfedge’s getEndpoint method to get all the points to form a path. Here the path is filled with a random color.

diagram.cells.forEach(cell => {
if (cell && cell.halfedges.length > 2) {
const segments = cell.halfedges.map(edge => edge.getEndpoint());
const path = new Path({
segments,
closed: true,