What do we call our activity?

In my previous post about the mind mapping wiki, I promised to write about the phrase “information maps”:  It’s used in that wiki as a term to cover the whole domain. 

The nature of mind-mapping.org is that I need some general term. I don’t limit the content to mind map software in a strict or even a loose sense.  I toyed with “visual maps” but quickly realised that’s a tautology  —  maps are visual by their very nature. 

“Mind maps” and “concept maps” are such widely used terms, they will roll on for a long time yet, I think, but their problem is that some use them to mean something very specific, while others apply them broadly.  You may have seen minor skirmishes in newsgroups, forums and Wikipedia discussion pages over this.

‘Cognitive map’ is another, but it sounds academic and I doubt it would appeal to those outside educational circles.  In some ways it’s a pity that ‘concept maps’ has taken on a specific meaning because it would otherwise be suitable as a general term.   Information, thoughts, ideas, arguments – all fit well under ‘concept’

I like WikIT’s suggestion – it’s useful.  It’s not perfect, though.  After all such maps are often used to generate ideas.  Is a half-formed idea ‘information’, would you say?  Not really.  But as I can find nothing better for now, I may well start using this. 

The master list of mind mapping &
information management software


Cohere, Headspace, iThoughts, Jambalaya, Lovely Charts, ThinkDigits, TPAssist, Webspiration

It’s been a month since the last update to mind-mapping.org, and the list of items to add has built up more sharply than usual so I decided it was time to clear the decks.  Apart from anything else, iPhone is keeping mindmappers busy with low-cost software to play with and there’s a new and imaginative application appearing every few days it seems.

Cohere is a browser based collaborative visual thinking tool that allows many users to develop discussions and arguments on line and has more than a hint of concept maps about it.

This iPhone application occupies the space partway between a 3D outliner and a mind mapper.

This is an impressive attempt to bring mind mapping to the screen of the iPhone.  

I have successfully imported large FreeMind maps to iThoughts.  With such a tiny screen, a large map is hard to make use of, but that can’t be blamed on iThoughts.

Jambalaya is a plug-in for Protégé that allows domain experts to building knowledge-based systems to visualize ontologies.

Lovely Charts
A free basic diagrammer that works in your browser and has subscription-based collaboration options.

This is a fascinating fusion of information mapping and calculation.  Numbers in a calculator are normally pure abstraction, and this gives them real world context.  True creativity.

TPassist is an add on for MindManager aimed at enhancing time, task and project management using mind maps.

This web based version of Inspiration is now in public Beta, and free for now.

To see all the latest additions, just follow this link to additions to mind-mapping.org since 14th February 2009.

Vic Gee
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software


Bookvar, Debatemapper and Protégé

Last weekend, I though I’d pretty well cleared the decks for a while in the search to report information mapping software.  Wrong again.   

Protégé-Frames – This is the main component of Stanford University’s Protégé knowledge modeller.  It supports  a knowledge model which is compatible with the Open Knowledge Base Connectivity protocol (OKBC).   It was originally developed to model knowledge in biomedicine, but it is now used in many diverse areas such as intelligence gathering, and corporate modeling.


Protégé OWL – Protégé OWL was made as an extension of Protégé to support OWL.  OWL stands for Web Ontology Language and is one of the components of the Sematic Web.  Anyone who wonders why OWL is not called WOL clearly has not read Christopher Robin.


Debatemapper – Debatemapper is a free web-based tool for collaboratively modelling and evaluating debates and joins several other argument-mapping tools on mind-mapping.org.


Bookvar – This is mind mapping software at the “almost-Beta” stage at present — it also requires a Beta version of MS .Net so it’s only for the brave.  It’s desktop software but has a shared mode for collaboration via connected computers and supports publication on a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server.