Mapping has evolved from providing directions for safe entry to harbours for example, or how to get from A to B and back to buy a bottle of milk, and is now approached in a more creative way. One aspect of mapping that I have been exploring is that of mind mapping. Mind maps are created with words or images. It is a way of visually organising information relating to a nominated idea. This is generally placed in the centre of the page with relating ideas radiating outward from the central point. It can be hand drawn, providing a quick way to map ideas in a meeting for example, or it can be carefully constructed using computer software such as those listed on Lifehacker as the five best mind mapping tools . Tony Buzan, a British writer and television presenter introduced and popularised the concept of mind maps around 1974, when he hosted a program entitled “Use your Head” on BBC TV. A companion book was published elaborating on his idea of a radial tree structure. His suggested approach when creating mind maps was:
- Start in the centre with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colours
- Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your mind map
- Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters
- Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line
- The lines should be connected, starting from the central image.
- The lines become thinner as they radiate out from the centre
- Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support
- Use multiple colours throughout the mind map
- Develop your own personal style of mind mapping
- Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map
- Keep the mind map clear by using radial hierarchy or outlines to embrace your branches
Along similar lines is the concept map which may have multiple groupings of ideas.