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Author Topic: Mind-Mapping Software  (Read 7265 times)

KenR

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Mind-Mapping Software
« on: February 14, 2007, 12:37:17 PM »
Here's a page of interesting "mind-mapping" software. Hmm, I wonder where my DC nucleus is :P

Quote
Vic's compendium of software that supports knowledge management and information organisation in graphical form. Includes mind mappers, concept mappers, outliners, hierarchical organisers, KM support and knowledge browsers, 2D and 3D. The opinions are Vic's but material in quotes that follows "What they say" is quoted from the vendors' web sites. All prices are as at the most recent check (March 06). "$" means US dollars, other currences use the international currency code (EUR, euros; GBP, Pounds Sterling, etc.) The product names used in this web site are for identification purposes only. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners...



from www.stumbleupon.com
Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Jacksonville, North Carolina  28546

CWuestefeld

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2007, 02:08:26 PM »
I've been working for some time on a thought-organizing app, inspired by mind mapping. IMHO, there are some pretty significant flaws in the basic mind mapping approach, and no software (until mine is complete ;) ) addresses them.

Most significantly, while it's intended to be a tool for brainstorming -- that is, to organically develop your thoughts on a topic -- its hierarchical nature forces you to come up with a structure from the get-go. That's a Catch-22. If you're still trying to develop your thoughts, how do you know how to organize them?

Also, it doesn't provide very good support for ideas that are highly interconnected -- that is, ideas that have more than a parent and children, but also rich relationships between them. And another problem is that the structure that's appropriate for considering something varies depending on what aspect you're examining, but current software is almost universally centered around building a diagram as opposed to relating a set of thoughts.

I've blogged a few articles about these problems in detail, see The inadequacy of mindmapping here http://www.thewuestefelds.com/blog/?p=5 and Fixing the mindmap here http://www.thewuestefelds.com/blog/?p=12 .

tinjaw

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2007, 06:11:21 PM »
Very interesting find Ken. Thanks for the information.

CWuestefeld, I read you blog entries and I have some ideas. I'll post a reply to you blog.

roytsganda

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2007, 08:05:38 PM »
I agree about the limitations of the pure hierarchical structure of mindmaps.  Have you tried 3D mindmapping, where this is resolved?  Topicscape ( http://www.topicscape.com ) allows as many parents for a node as you want, it also has a 'loose association' link for ideas that are outside the parent/child hierarchy, and a Topicscape Islands node where things can be parked for later consideration, to be moved once you've decided where they go.

Apart from the hierarchy problem with mindmaps, there's the matter of size.  Any serious mindmapping - for innovation, business or creativity - can't afford to be fenced in by a 2D sheet, even when when you're looking at a portion of a virtual sheet in a window.  Topicscape solves this one by moving away from the single center and letting you arrange the mindmap around any topic.

And finally there's the annoyance that nearly all mindmapping software needs one node for every file you save on it.  When I'm brainstorming I'm just working with ideas, but when I go on to the next stage, I'm gathering information from all over and I want to manage that information in a mind map - often one culled from the brainstorming session, though heavily trimmed.  If I have a six-page article from the web, I don't want six nodes.  With Topicscape, I can put all six (or as many as I want) in one node.

See if it solves your problems with mindmaps.

vizacc

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2007, 05:03:42 PM »
hi,
I'm writing a mind-mapper program currently...

what features would you like to see in it?


mouser

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2007, 05:11:44 PM »
the most important thing to me in such tools is ease of use.. make it really easy for me to do the basic stuff like put objects on screen and connect them and then move them around.  i know it sounds obvious but many of the big drawing tools i've seen are geared for complicated stuff and are not the best for quickly sketching out stuff.

Curt

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2007, 06:35:54 PM »
One feature I will need is the kind of tooltip that shows you a lot of the text from the object I am pointing at. Headlines alone will not do. Also, it should handle RTF format.

kartal

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2008, 10:28:20 PM »
multimedia support (image, movie, sound)
file drag and drop operations (as nodes and content)
automatic thumbnail creation of images and movies
rss and html support per node
import and export for common formats
preliminary internal drawing tool (vector or bitmap)
ability to reference nodes from other project files
internal calendar
customization
custom color schemes from center node to braches (like gradient)
speed and small memory print :)

I have more ideas but these are the main things I d onto see many softwares support





what features would you like to see in it?
« Last Edit: May 17, 2008, 10:29:58 PM by kartal »

sri

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2008, 10:33:31 PM »
Here's a list of online mindmapping web services I collected: http://delicious.com/sridhar/mindmapping.

Popular mindmapping links: http://delicious.com/popular/mindmapping
<a href="https://sridharkatakam.com">My blog</a>
« Last Edit: October 27, 2014, 04:54:25 PM by mouser, Reason: fixed delicious.com link »

Dormouse

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2008, 04:09:34 AM »
Topicscape ( http://www.topicscape.com ) allows as many parents for a node as you want, it also has a 'loose association' link for ideas that are outside the parent/child hierarchy, and a Topicscape Islands node where things can be parked for later consideration, to be moved once you've decided where they go.

With the resurrection of the topic, I had a look at this. It seemed very attractive until I looked at the screenshots under User Stories. I had expected it to be much more visual than 2D mindmaps, but it is actually much less - everything is represented as a pseudo-3D triangle/cone/pyramid. Just a slightly graphical frontend to a database. I'm as happy as anyone to deal with pure data, but the point of mindmapping to me is to see more possibilities and different types of links  by seeing/thinking visually.

It would be nice if there were anyone around who actually uses it and can say why I'm wrong.

VicGee

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2008, 08:55:06 AM »
I've used Topicscape for a couple of years - I was in on the beta trials and have used it ever since.  It's really more an information organizer, but it uses a mind mapping way of thinking to organize information.  You can fly and zoom around the information landscape.  I wouldn't be without it, but I suppose it's a matter of taste.  It's quite demanding on graphics hardware, as you'd expect from 3D.

Vic Gee
http://www.mind-mapping.org/
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software

mouser

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2008, 09:24:25 AM »
vic is that your website? very cool if so!

Dormouse

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2008, 10:08:34 AM »
Thanks for the response Vic (and for your website :)).

My own needs would include being able to use Images for nodes, having many different types of link (with different appearances) and having as many links as wanted between as many nodes as needed. The view of Topicscape seems like an army lined up with each officer having their men behind them - and all officers and men looking the same apart from size.

I do see how it can work as an information organiser, though it only seems to offer one simple view at at time.

I'm just disappointed because the list of features seemed good. And intrigued because I wasn't put off by the price - and I had never thought I'd have that level of need for a mind mapper.

Never mind; I'll stick to my current collection of software for info & organisation, wait for SQLnotes to develop further (albeit without the pointy-headed pictures) and see how much I can get out of Cayra for mindmapping type stuff.

CWuestefeld

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2008, 11:54:11 AM »
I had a look at this. It seemed very attractive until I looked at the screenshots under User Stories. I had expected it to be much more visual than 2D mindmaps, but it is actually much less - everything is represented as a pseudo-3D triangle/cone/pyramid. Just a slightly graphical frontend to a database.

This is pretty much true as far as it goes, but there's more than that.

First, the metaphor of a landscape with an unlimited horizon, along with robust searching, makes for the ability to handle a much larger picture than a mere mindmap.

My own needs would include being able to use Images for nodes, having many different types of link (with different appearances) and having as many links as wanted between as many nodes as needed. The view of Topicscape seems like an army lined up with each officer having their men behind them - and all officers and men looking the same apart from size.

TS has some of this. You can have many links between nodes, although the menu of appearances is limited. Similarly, nodes have some variety, but it's limited.

Another advantage over a strict mindmap is the rich content of the nodes themselves. They can be a simple note as in a mindmap. But they can also be containers for any other content you like -- including project files, which is how I use them. Moreover, a given node can contain not just a single item, but a whole collection of them.

TS isn't everything I need either, but it's a heck of a lot more than a mindmap.

Dormouse

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2008, 01:38:32 PM »
It seems as if I should have a look at TS (when I have time to do it justice). The prog it seems most eqivalent to (in my current state of ignorance, and realising that there is a big difference in graphics) is SQLnotes. Both seem to be integrative information managers with good search facilities. I haven't got really into SQLnotes fully yet either, but it is easier to have a look every now and again while it remains free to do so. TS just has a time limited trial.

melitabel

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2008, 10:11:33 AM »
I use Personal Brain, which is also an information mapper which allows multiple parents and peer relationships between items.  I have looked at Topicscape, but I'm finding it hard to figure out and I don't like the visuals as well.  PB gives me an inherently networked view of my information, which I can't figure out how to get in Topicscape.  Also, while Topicscape offers more choices everytime I click on a node, it always ends up being more steps to take to do something simple, like attach a link to a web site.

PB also incorporates Boolean searching, which is another really important feature. 

PB does have features of a relational database - it has entities to which you can assign properties and relationships.  I happen to prefer a visual interface to a database like SQL Notes.

Vic, I think you used to use PB - I'd be interested in hearing what you like better about Topicscape.

VizAcc, this is a very crowded field.  Look at VicGee's master list - the best I've ever seen - before you invest much time in such a project.
More curiosity, less judgment.

Armando

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2008, 10:51:30 AM »
>I happen to prefer a visual interface to a database like SQL Notes.

IMO, SQLNotes already has a lot of visual "capabilities" : gantt charting, pivot charts and table. Mindmaps/concept maps are coming soon.

I've always wanted to try personal brain. I'll try to give it a shot during the weekend, if possible.

VicGee

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Re: Mind-Mapping Software
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2008, 09:55:00 PM »
Vic, I think you used to use PB - I'd be interested in hearing what you like better about Topicscape.
Hi Melitabel,
The difference is visibility.  I have a need to organize a large corpus of information for projects I work on, and I switched from PB to TS because I find I can see where I am in its 3D landscape much better than in the mass of words on a blue (or whatever) background of PB.  TS shows more levels of the hierarchy at once, and once I've got to the right general area for what I'm looking for I recognise where I am.

You mentioned attaching a link to a web site - that's one of the things I use a LOT in Topicscape because it's easy - you click on the little icon in the browser's address bar and drag it to Topicscape.  I use IE (sorry!) and if I right-click and drag, in one step it makes a Web archive for me, puts it in whichever cone I drop it on and makes a live hyperlink in the source field.  That doesn't work in FF though.

If you don't like the visuals as much, well that's just personal taste, but I happen to greatly prefer them - also personal taste! 

BTW to help figure out the relationships press F7.  It shows colour-coded relationship lines.  After using TS for a short time, I stopped needing that.

I think my main criticism of TS would be that it has a lot of features and it takes time to learn them, but I wouldn't go back to PB.

mouser and Dormouse - thanks for the kind words about my site!

Vic
http://www.mind-mapping.org
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software