The computer program FLOWCHART can be used to very quickly and easily produce flowcharts of high quality for publication. FLOWCHART centers each element or block of text that it processes on one of a set of (imaginary) vertical lines. It can enclose a text block in a rectangle, circle or other selected figure. It can draw a 'line connecting the midpoint of any side of any figure with the midpoint of any side of any other figure and insert an arrow pointing in the direction of flow. It can write 'yes' or 'no' next to the line joining two figures.
FLOWCHART creates flowcharts using some basic plotting subroutine* which permit plots to be generated interactively and inspected on a Tektronix compatible graphics screen or plotted in a deferred mode on a Houston Instruments 42' pen plotter. The size of the plot, character set and character height in inches are inputs to the program. Plots generated using the pen plotter can be up to 42' high--the larger size plots being directly usable as visual aids in a talk.
FLOWCHART centers each block of text on an imaginary column line. (The number of columns and column width are specified as input.) The midpoint of the longest line of text within the block is defined to be the center of the block and is placed on the column line. The spacing of individual words within the block is not altered when the block is positioned.
The program writes the first block of text in a designated column and continues placing each subsequent block below the previous block in the same column. A block of text may be placed in a different column by specifying the number of the column and an earlier block of text with which the new block is to be aligned. If block zero is given as the earlier block, the new text is placed in the new column continuing down the page below the previous block. Optionally a column and number of inches from the top of the page may be given for positioning the next block of text.
The program will normally draw one of five types of figure to enclose a block of text: a rectangle, circle, diamond, eight sided figure or figure with parallel sides and rounded ends. It can connect the figure with a line to the preceding figure, and place an arrow pointing toward the second figure. Text blocks not in sequence can also be connected and 'yes' or 'no' written next to any line to indicate branching.
Figure 1 illustrates the various types of figures that can be drawn, spacings, connecting lines and the like.
* The plotting package employed is Buplot available on the VAX and PDP-1170 computers at the USGS Office of Earthquake Studies, Golden, Colo. Calls to the plotting subroutines must be adjusted if some other plotting package is used.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
FLOWCHART; a computer program for plotting flowcharts