Just wanted to share some of my recent experiences with Mind Mapping on the iPad. A buddy of mine showed me the app he uses for this kind of note taking process, and it really blew my mind. If any of you currently struggle keeping track of information that is coming in random order (which I think is true of everything), Mind Mapping is the solution.
It's not a new idea, it's actually been around for a many years, but Mind Mapping just doesn't get the kind of exposure that it deserves. For the first time, I've found a way to dump my brain in a non-linear mode, the way I think.
Under the covers, Mind Mapping is essentially an outlining process, except that all related items are organized on a 2D canvas and arranged spatially. The branches of the tree that associates all these items together (called nodes), can (and should) be colored to help distinguish each topic area. There's a kazillion videos on YouTube that covers these ideas from many angles, but Tony Buzan is the originator of the idea: [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyJrrUIocUI]YouTube - Buzan: mind maps make you smarter[/ame]
So, are there any Mind Map apps for the iOS platform? You bet. I've tried them all, literally, and only two bubbled to the top as the easiest to use and the closest adherents to the mind mapping guidelines (Learn how to draw Mind Maps with Mind Tools - MindMaps. Mind Maps examples.). This is a mini-review of what I use, I am not associated in any way with neither product nor developer, and am just an avid user.
MindNode - MindNode - $5.99
This is a (+) app, so when you buy a copy, it works both on your iPad and on your iPhone/iPod Touch. As an added bonus, the developer also has Mac Desktop app that also supports the same file format, for $24.99. Exchanging map file between the desktop and the mobile device is handled wirelessly by putting both apps in a sharing mode. Of the two, I'd say MindNode adheres most closely to the mapping guidelines.
One key differentiator for MindNode is it's ability to co-mingle an unlimited number of maps on the same canvas. I didn't think this was a big deal, until I had a project that I had to map that had many unrelated systems that had to all appear together. If not for this feature, I would have been force to place each map in a separate document. With this, I can assemble all together and organize logically so that it prints well and is easy to share with others.
Easy to exchange maps between desktop and mobile device with no conversion issues. Adheres most closely to mind mapping guidelines. Allows multiple maps to live on the same canvas.
Requires too much tapping on screen to create and manage nodes of the map. No keyboard short cuts to quicken topic entry. Pasting external text copied from elsewhere puts all text in to a single node. Trying to migrate an old outline in to maps is drudgery.
iThoughtsHD Mindmapping for the iPad by iThoughts - $7.99 iPad - $7.99 iPhone/iPod Touch
This is actually the first app I ever used to do Mind Mapping, so it's near and dear to my heart. My experience with iThoughts has shown that this app is more tuned for quick entry and navigation. This app is the most pleasing to the eye and while not completely adherent to the mapping guidelines, makes up for it in other areas. Indeed, this is the mobile app that I continue to use on a daily basis.
Keyboard shortcuts for making peer and child nodes quickly. Allows for a much faster brain dump to mapping process. Better UI for rearranging and deleting nodes. Pasting a list of items from an external source, appears as a list of child nodes, making the import process a snap. Migrating old outlines to maps is snap!
No UNDO! This is s scary shortcoming that the developer processes is coming soon. Importing text from an outline does not create a multi-level map as one would expect.
I welcome all comments and questions. I really hope that this helps others, as Mind Mapping is an important difference in knowledge management and transfer.
References: ThinkBuzan - Official Mind Mapping software by Tony Buzan - Tony Buzan web site
Video series from the BBC produced in 2003 showing how the Mind Mapping techniques were used to help the 6 worst children in a school outside London. Fascinating story: [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz_2undwiqY]YouTube - Tony Buzan - In search of genius 1 of 3 - buzanworld.com[/ame]
More comprehensive video delving in to the finer details of mind mapping: [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgshreqMfVU[/ame]