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Mind Mapping anyone?

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by pik0, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. pik0
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    Howdy all,

    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.

    Pros:

    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.

    Cons:

    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.

    Pros:

    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! :)

    Cons:

    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. :)

    Enjoy,
    Piko


    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]
  2. King Hal
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    King Hal iPad Enthusiast

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    Thanks pic0, this is really interesting.
  3. pik0
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    pik0 iPad Fan

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    Glad you liked it. Hope it helps others to appreciate the benefit of mind mapping, and just how fun and easy it has become on the iPad.

    Piko
  4. profTK
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    profTK iPF Noob

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    Cool post!

    My favorite is Mindo. There are also CrowdMap and SimpleMind.
  5. pik0
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    pik0 iPad Fan

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    Ya know, I checked out Mindo when I started this effort a month ago. At the time, they had terrible reviews. Just checked it again, and it still shows a 2.5 stars with the vast majority of respondents giving just 1 star. I didn't like that there wasn't any import/export ability, something that iThoughtsHD shines at.

    There are demo videos of iThoughtsHD on YouTube. Check it out. You may like the simpler interface.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHO3TYoEw2g]YouTube - iPad Photography App: iThoughtsHD: Adorama Photography TV[/ame]

    For CrowdMap, I love the collaborative mapping model, that's a very cool idea. But there isn't any import/export ability, so that kinda killed it for me. The reviews seemed kinda light. No demos on YouTube made me concerned.

    For SimpleMind, I was concerned about the listing itself. Only one screen shot and a single review from July said to me that it was not well received. I had also checked on youtube to see if there was any demos, and found none (then and now).

    I still like MindNode almost as much as iThoughtsHD, mostly because they have a kickarse desktop version that is file format compatible.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABuiUuWwTaE]YouTube - MindNode iPad mind mapping app review[/ame]

    My only lament about this whole thing is that every mapping app has a different proprietary file format. There is no universal standard.

    Piko
  6. profTK
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    profTK iPF Noob

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    iMindMap (from Buzan) just got released. Yes! It's gotten rave reviews so far. Can't wait to try it out.
  7. CMFox
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    CMFox iPad Fan

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    $32.99! for the app. Someone's a genius for making it up. I think I'll pass until the price drops, dramatically!

    Wowsers.
  8. pik0
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    pik0 iPad Fan

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    Ouch! That's terribly expensive considering all the other choices available. Even MindNode desktop is only $24.95. Why make an iPad app so much?!

    Piko
  9. HansTerhurne
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    HansTerhurne iPF Noob

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    There's a complete review on the website of CreaMatics.nl under publicaties/artikelen to find out if it's worth it ...

    Hans
    (not yet allowed to use links :()
  10. pik0
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    Bonus question:

    MindMap has totally revolutionized how I gather, organize and manage information. I wish I could go through college all over again armed with this new methodology. Since it's been around for so long, why doesn't it have more wide-spread acceptance and use? What's missing?

    MindMapping is a killer-app (Killer application - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) of the information age.

    Can anyone offer suggestions why this is the case?

    Piko
  11. iamsure
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    iamsure iPF Noob

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    about Mindo


    Mindo can export/import file via Email and iTunes File Sharing, support several file formats such as .mmap (Mind Manager) and .xmind (Xmind).
  12. CMFox
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    If you look in any art student's notebook/sketchbook you will see "mind-maps." Its a visual way to take down information. Its not new, Buzan, just made everyone aware of it. And made it cool for the lineal biz types to draw pictures. A few more art classes in your youth and you too would have been doing this year's ago.

    I give Buzan credit for reinventing the wheel and marketing it to make a profit.

    CM
  13. profTK
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    profTK iPF Noob

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    Great question, Piko.

    Here are three major reasons:
    1. Even with widespread use of mind mapping in business, most students have never heard of mind mapping.
    2. Once they hear about mind mapping, they don't know how to apply it to school (no systematic method). Note: this has changed now with publication of Concise Learning book (also available as an iBook :ipad-front:).
    3. The paper & pen note taking habit is hard to break because students have been trained to copy notes throughout their school years. With mind mapping, students can transition from copying notes to thinking during lectures, a big change that requires a major habit change.
  14. pik0
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    pik0 iPad Fan

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    iThoughtsHD has the same capabilities and much higher ratings.
  15. pik0
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    pik0 iPad Fan

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    I just did a quick image search on Google. I didn't find any art student sketchbook example that show any sort of radiant thinking style of mind mapping of knowledge. Can you paste links?

    Reinventing the wheel? Have you read his book? He makes it pretty clear that all the great minds in human history have been doing this for a long time. The only difference is, he attempted to codify their technique.

    I don't begrudge him for making money helping people.

    Piko
  16. pik0
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    1. Widespread? I wish it were. I've been working professionally since 1985 in the IT industry and have NEVER seen anyone doing anything remotely like this. I've worked with 100's of engineering professionals and everyone I've ever known kept it lineal. I've even attended brainstorming classes (a perfect outlet) and not a peep.
    2. Yeah, it's a travesty that when I went to school, I was never taught how to study. Would have been nice to have at least had Concise Learning around (although it appears to be a new book as of this year).
    3. Excellent point here. In fact I've been pinging many middle level managers on this very topic in relation to their employees and their abilities to complete tasks and projects. The end result is, they have all asked me to prepare a course to conduct in their office to teach the basics of mind mapping and how to apply this technique to their daily lives.

    And what, do you suppose am I using to develop the course? Why, mind mapping, of course, and on the iPad no less.

    Piko
  17. ginopiazza49
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    ginopiazza49 iPF Novice

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  18. jaybrass73
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    iThoughtsHD - just downloaded, really pleased with the functionality of it, seems pretty easy to navigate round
  19. bdegrande
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    I use iThoughts HD and like it quite a bit, I just got MindNode Pro for the Mac as part of the Mac Update bundle and will see if they will work together, if not I can always get MindNode's iPad app.
  20. pik0
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    Nice!! They also have an iPhone/iPod Touch version. If you sign up for a free dropbox account, you can easily exchange the map files between devices and access from your desktop. If you save in the freemind format (.mm), the files can be accessed by just about every mind map app.

    Piko

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