Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Concept Diagrams

Last night I learned that the way I was trying to represent my idea of a visual thinking taxonomy was called a Concept Map. I had thought that a mind map would work and had started one in SpinScape, hoping to get some collaboration on it. Sadly, the collaboration hasn't really happened. And, I was really wanting to annotate the relationships between the entities in the diagram, which I couldn't see that I could do in SpinScape - maybe you can, I just didnt' see it.

I've used Entity Relationship Diagrams in the past and that was really what I was wanting to do. I showed a sketch to my wife and she replied, "Oh, that's a concept map. There's a free concept mapping tool you can download that you could do that in and I've got some information about concept maps on my web site." My wife has a lot more time and experience in the visual thinking world than I do.

So, I found the software last night, from CMap Tools, downloaded and it installed it. Didn't even get a chance to open it up and play with it until about 20 minutes ago. So far I like it. I'm not one to read user manuals unless I absolutely have to so I just began clicking around. It's pretty intuitive. Within about 15 minutes, I had the following concept map of my idea of a visual thinking taxonomy.
It's still a work in progress (both the concept map and the taxonomy). I'd like to identify more of what I'm calling the disciplines of visual thinking and then start in on defining the methods and tools used. I don't know about anyone else, but understanding how all these various components of visual thinking relate will help me understand it better. And I think it could be useful to explain to those who are new to the idea of visual thinking. Any suggestions or comments on the taxonomy are welcome.


Mark Salamango said...

The current version of Spinscape doesn't have relationship tagging, but stay tuned.

There is a feature in the works that lets people create their own relationships, assign meaning, visualize based on them.

Makani said...

Cool. Thanks Mark. I really do like the concept of SpinScape, especially the collaboration aspect of it. Looking forward to the new features.

thcrawford said...

I would be happy to help. It will be a little harder without a tool that allows collaboration, but let me know. You can contact me through any of the VizThink e-mails.

Vic-vic said...

Hi Makani,

There are many collaborative brainstorming and mind mapping tools that you might want to look at. All browser based. These are some that I know of: bubbl.us, comapping.com, glinkr.net, mindmaps.kayuda.com, mapul.com, mind42.com, mindomo.com and wisemapping.com.

For people who like mindmapping and want it free, I've just pulled together in one place the details of all of the web-based ones, over at

This shows what's free (and how much the subscriptions are for the others), and where to find them.

Spinscape isn't on the list yet, being in private beta.

The master list of mind mapping &
information management software