What is mind mapping?

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Mind mapping is a graphical way of dividing a topic into component parts, generating and organizing solutions to a problem, or provoking ideas and capturing the results of a discussion. Many mind mappers feel that it has freedom of thought and creativity built in.

Mind mapping is less formal than concept mapping. It looks similar, but is very different in actual use. Mind mapping is more personal. You may make a Mind map for many different purposes and two people will often produce very different Mind maps, even though their starting subject may be the same.

What a mindmap contains and how it looks will depend on why it is being done, and how the person making it chooses to slice and dice the subject matter. Here are two thumbnails to give an idea of just how different mind maps can be:

Projectmindmapthmb.jpg
Thinkingmapthmb.jpg

These mind maps were both done by the same person but for different purposes. One was made to control the information gathered during a large project, the other to think through a problem and come up with some answers.

The first one seriously needs Topicscape - it was made before Topicscape existed - to take control of the over-large, unfriendly 2D sheet. When it's at a readable magnification, it is hard to work with it. Still, it is easier than working without a mindmap.

2D mindmappers will tell you to break large maps into many sub-maps (sub-mindmaps, mind-submaps), but that shows that 2D maps have reached their limit in such cases. At this size, and complexity this is just when you need a way of having a good overview, and a 3D landscape provides it.

My strong belief is that most people doing mind mapping are well motivated by the results and find it an enjoyable framework for organizing information as well as for thinking, learning and producing ideas. That's how it works for me, and as a consultant working in many countries I've met and worked alongside many people who feel the same.

You can find out more about this intriguing tool for planning and thinking here: Mind mapping

Who uses mind maps?

Mind maps are used by teams in companies, by individuals who think visually and by students in Europe - in the United Kingdom especially, because the man who claims to have coined the term, Tony Buzan, is British. It has a good hold in Asia - Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and, to a lesser extent, Hong Kong.

Importantly, we have seen ever-increasing awareness of the technique in the USA. There is now a steady daily stream of blog posts, news items and new sites, and mindmaps themselves are even appearing as integrated parts of web sites and blogs.

It is used by project managers to do their initial planning and organize their project information, by writers preparing to blog, by business people preparing reports, and by hobbyists to organize their collected information about their favorite topic.

What is the Mindmaps Directory for?

We feel there is no better way to understand information maps of most types than to browse examples produced by many people around the world. We therefore collected hundreds of maps, founded the Mindmaps Directory and made them easy to browse with thumbnails.

A random collection of maps, however comprehensive, is not much use. There are a few of those around. We know that some form of filtering is needed, if these are to be useful, so we tagged all maps with the subjects they relate to, and categorized them by type of map. So just by clicking, you can elect to see, to give just three examples,

true mind maps, economics
concept maps, science
spidergrams, the Internet

You may have noticed that at the beginning, this answer says "information maps of most types". We need to explain the "most types": The exception is 3D mindmaps and 3D concept maps. These are not included because there are many static examples of these throughout the 3D Topicscape website, and also because to appreciate them, you must experience them: In 3D where you can fly, zoom and center the map around any chosen topic. That just doesn't work with a simple, static image.
 

Mindmapping articles - more about this great way of getting organized

Mindmaps Directory - thumbnails and links to mind maps


 

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Visual Thinking Center
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