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On-line mindmapping and concept mapping


It’s hard to keep up with the on-line tools appearing to help those of us who often like to do our thinking in a visual workspace. 

Today Kayuda ( popped up.  This is a concept mapping tool rather than one for mindmapping and describes itself as a visual wiki. It does call itself a mind-mapping tool but not having any center, mindmappers would probably disagree.  It’s in public alpha (there’s confidence for you!).

Online info mapping is becoming a lively and interesting space now.  [Update: This is now defunct.]
First there was – basic bubble-diagrams (  Watch the spelling!  I caught myself several times with and reported certificate problems here.  Apologies to
Next came (, a site from Romania which gives an interesting on-line mindmapping experience.
Then we had Mindmeister (, from Germany and this seems to be the slickest and most complete, especially as it is still in private Beta [update: It is now out of beta] and releasing new features periodically.  Sign up for their newsletter and you may get an invitation to the Beta.

I said “First there was” but in fact long ago there was Mayomi.  It seems to have died now – its web page is a kind of open source advertising portal.


 Updated 03/19/2007:  Corrected mis-types in two URLs.

  1. Roy,

    Thanks for the mention. Yes, we’re "public alpha"…we REALLY wanted to get some live feedback. :> At the same time, our quality is (in my not so humble opinion) very good. The only reason we’re calling it "alpha" is because you will still see various warning messages pop up about transport errors and the like. These don’t actually impact your ability to use the application, they are just annoying. We’re squashing them as fast as we find them, and expect them to be gone in another week or two.

    As to us not being a mind-mapping tool because of our lack of a root node…that’s true, and it was a deliberate design decision. (For those who aren’t familiar with mind maps: mind maps, as defined by Tony Buzan back in the 70s, start from a specific center and work outwards in a branching structure. The fancy name for this is a "directed acyclic graph" or DAG for short.) DAGs are nice, but they can be limiting. Human thought doesn’t follow a neat, outwardly-branching, never-crosslinking structure, which means I’ve always been somewhat puzzled about why Buzan defined it that way. So, when we built Kayuda, we made it so that any node could link to any node, not just to once immediately "below" it on its own branch. We also allow you to put arbitrary amounts of text in your nodes. And soon we will have support for embedding images, video, sound, and other arbitrary files.

    On the other hand, if you want a formal mind map, it’s trivial to build one in Kayuda. Just start from your initial node and branch outwards without crosslinking anything or linking back to a previous node.

    Hope this is useful.

    Chief Evil Overlord of the Kayuda Team

  2. Yes, I’m all for freedom in information maps and I’d go along with your deliberate design decision.

    If you look at 3D Topicscape, you’ll see something similar. Although at any one time there is one topic around which the landscape is built, any node can be nominated as that central topic.

    I think radiant maps and Buzan’s rules are good for learning – they keep the learner’s focus from wandering and provide motivation. For mindmaps in the adult world much more flexibility is needed.


  3. Actually, when we were first sketching out the design for Kayuda, we did a survey of all the mindmapping and related software that we could find. I thought that Topicscape looked really interesting…it’s a new approach to the problem, and its more 3D approach makes it more “concrete”. It takes advantage of all those hardwired neurons that are designed solely for manipulating the physical universe.

    Unfortunately, I’m a Mac user…. :

  4. Drat drat, double drat. I keep forgetting that WordPress will eat anything after a “greater-than” or “less-than” sign…which means I can’t use my standard smileys.

    Anyway, I was just asking if there’s any plans in the works to port Topicscape to the Mac?


  5. Topicscape was developed mainly in Java using OpenGL because a port to Mac and Linux is firmly on the roadmap. It uses some DLLs written in C++ to let it handle tasks like paste special through Windows calls, and porting those to the equivalent on each platform would be the main effort.

    We know from the many requests we’ve had that 3D Topicscape appeals to Mac mindmapping people, but fleshing out the features of the Pro version is going to be driving us for the next few months. We’ll be releasing the next Beta today or tomorrow, in fact.