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Marc Orchant

Great post Nick. I'd suggest a fourth map type that I use all the time - the Writer's Map. Before I begin any substantial writing project, I organize the structure of my writing project in a mind map. Often, one branch in the map will be a library map-in-miniature as you describe, containing all of my reference material for the piece.

Using a mind map to sketch out a writing project is so much more flexible than outlining it. A good mind mapping program will allow you to export to an outline when you're ready to transition to the actual draft writing.


Do you have any examples of these three different types of mindmaps? I have not used them enough to be able to see your classifications.

Ben Royal

You comments on the types of maps has clarified my thinking about expanding their use. I recently created maps during initial planning sessions with several project teams and they were well received. Maps seem to capture team brainstorming much better than linear notes.

Marcel Geijsberts

This is a very clear exposition how business mapping can be classified. I have been using mind maps for quite some time now (since 1996) and have seen the mind mapping software evolve in the past years (especially mind manager).

The ideas put forward here really make sense to me:
how information can be seen from visual structure and that consistency in presenting the structure is vital for getting your point across the audience (in the future).

To have different templates for different purposes seems logical; the Mind Map book by Tony Buzan shows good examples of different uses of mindmaps but hitherto i did not come across to a "language" for business mapping using computer mind maps.

At this time I am trying to implement the classification put forward by Nick Duffill in my dayly practise. I had an example of a tunnel map ready but it seems that I cannot post it; by the way I hope Nick will show his version to clarify his classification and enlighten us all

Much appreciated your blog!

Tom Collins

Great start on a very useful blog. I'd only like to echo Iain's request for some examples. Uploading graphics to Typepad is really easy now, so please share the visuals, as well as your wonderful verbal explanations!


Welcome to the blogosphere. Another type of map is often used is the site map - portrays the relationships between 'pages' within a website or portal.

I've always found mindmaps to be limited when compared to concept maps as there are no nodes and cross-linking is not often seen, i.e. mindmaps are most often associated with outlines or hierarchies.

It is far easier to show relationships and meaning, if you have both nodes and arcs to work with. Mind manager also makes it difficult to use spatial position to portray additional understanding - unless I'm missing something.


very good


I know I'm a little late on this one... I use the library most often to map out my entire Masters. I also use the writing map as described above to map out any papers I need to write. I find my first draft doesn't need to be throw away this way as the knowledge is already in logical order and thought out thoroughly.

I also have a paper map template for reading others papers and mapping them. It includes critical reflection, structuring and application in practice questions to make me think about each paper as I read it (not as I try to write my own paper).

By mapping literally everything I do in my study, I only need to do a single pass on wordy readings. Any further thinking, reviewing and re-reading is done with my mind maps (and is super fast!).

Thanks for these other types. I'd not thought about the best way for presenting (or project work) before. Much more flexible than the old project chart!

- B

Joshua Long

Great definition of the foundational use of maps! I had never thought of using them for presentation tools. They have always been libraries and now 'Tunnel Timelines' thanks to ResultsManager and GyroQ.

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