Origins of mind mapping software
Wallace Tait (@visualmapper) of the Visualmapper blog put a question to the Twittersphere “What was the first commercially-available mind mapping software?” I responded that I had thought that Mind Man (now MindManager) was first but that someone corrected me when I wrote that once before, but could not remember the correction.
Nick Duffill (@NickDuffill) of Power Markers fame, stepped up with information about Mind Maps Plus and later a zip file for its demo package, which seems to establish that as first – it was probably Nick who corrected me last time. There are some very early ones on Mind-Mapping.Org, but I don’t have “first released” dates for many. One, CMAP 2.0 for Mac, even has a gopher address, so perhaps there are earlier ones.
After some more web research, including visits to archive.org, what follows seems to be the history of early mappers.
Mind Maps Plus: May 1991
Source: On a floppy disk held by Nick Duffill the earliest file is Metashel.exe 22 May 1991
Visimap (formerly Infomap): April 1993
Source: This web page, showing 08 April 1993 on the executable.
EGLE Mind mapper April 1994
Source: The Install file I have is dated 22 April 1994
Mind Man version 1.1e released in July 1994
Source: Page 66 of this: from Google books.
If anyone has a good source for anything in the 1991-94 period or earlier, please let me know using the “Send us an Email” link in the right hand column.
Mind-Mapping.Org has a list of historic mind mapping applications some available but not supported, some no longer available. That’s just a publisher/product name list, but full detail of these historic apps is also available.