A MindMap starts in the middle of the page with some key word or core idea. Then additional ideas are written down or even drawn as images, related to the key word, lines symbolize the relations. Work is done in all directions from the center of the page, just as ideas and associations pop up.
MindMaps seem to have become popular or more widely known recently (end of 1999), but have been around since the beginning of the '90s. The term "Mind Map" is a registered trademark of the Buzan Organisation, a company owned by the Mind Map inventor TonyBuzan.
Actually they have been around since at least the mid-70s, when Tony Buzan produced a book and BBC TV series called UseYourHead?. The series was first broadcast in January 1974.-- DaveKirby (who watched it as a kid and still has the original book)
MindMaps can also be thought of as tree diagrams, with the root at the center and branches going out radially in all directions.
Mind mapping is a powerful graphic technique helping to unlock the potential of the brain. MindMapping can be applied in every aspect of life where clear thinking could enhance performance.
Mind mapping is based on the assumption that our notes are manifestations of our thinking. Mind mapping trains us to manifest our thoughts in a way that reflects the whole picture and the details, capturing an enormous amount of information on one piece of paper, helping us to see relations, connections and patterns in our ideas. It encourages integration of convergent and divergent thinking.
Software Tools for MindMapping
XMIND supports the FishboneDiagram, and even more, it supports the 2D chart! -- Stephen
I've found MindMan Personal useful for exploring object models. I don't use it often, but I do like it. -- GeorgeDinwiddie
I used this tool excessively ;-) One day I found that I had 300 mind maps. Then I stopped using it for a while because the tool also has its limitations, especially when having so many mind maps. Now I use it a few times a month in specific situations where it really helps. I recommend it whole-heartedly. By the way, forget about drawing mind maps with Visio. -- FrankGerhardt
I was introduced to MindMaps when the free version came with a computer magazine. I liked it so much I have bought the fuller version and use it. At first I wrote maps all the time and some of them became very complicated. That helps me to sort out the more convoluted ideas. After a while that slacked off and I have a MetaMap? which maps all the maps so that I can find them. I also found that a MindMap could have a link to anything else so I set up links to relevant web pages, pages on my SqueakWiki, etc etc. It can even start up programs I need to start up at the beginning of the day, so it becomes a control panel. -- JohnFletcher
I met TonyBuzan in London last August and he's an interesting fellow. It was interesting seeing the works from the MindMapping World Championships at the Mind Sports Olympiad last year. Unfortunately they are not online, but our website is located at http://www.msoworld.com/
Personally, I find them best suited for giving presentations and writing papers.
Sounds more like you're mapping your memes? -- BrendanTregear
Yes, kind of. I have a file cabinet full of them. I used to teach 'em to Computer Science students. They called them "SpiderDiagrams" (or "SpiderGrams") because of the way they look. Excellent personal brain storming and review tool. You also get fun comments from people looking over your shoulder. -- JuneKim
If you use MindJet?, they have a Palm version. MindJet? is anyway the mindmapping tool for Windows with excellent import & export features into e.g. Powerpoint (ever created a ppt of a topic you have an idea of in seconds? create the MindMap with MindJet? and just export it into the template you like).
I have been using FreeMind(http://freemind.sourceforge.net/), and I like it a lot - it's free, easy to use, good import/export, and the best "paste hierarchy" functionality I have ever seen. It may be possible to run it on a java VM on the PalmOS
Tinderbox(http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/) is a tool that allows concept/mind mapping, plus other views of information (e.g. outlines).
Check out ConceptMaps, which looks very similar to URL-diagrams and more suitable for decentralized ideas than MindMaps are. (Read Dr. NovaksWritings ; they are very helpful for techies and every kind of writers, including programmers)
The way in which I do this is to simply have a few very general concepts which I notice often recur in my thinking and make maps from them in my mind which I memorize as they are being made. Ie, the mapping occurs entirely in my head, which I think makes the thinking more smooth and improves one's ability to remember concepts with ease.
For other ways and places to visualize ideas: