Concept maps

(Note: this post was recuperated from another website, where it was slightly out of place). Concept maps are an effective way of representing a person’s understanding of a domain of knowledge. Among many other things, they are used to capture the knowledge of experts of NASA before they retire. Clearly, they could capture the ins and outs of development knowledge, too? The trouble is that one cannot manipulate these pictures in a web post. Unless perhaps one could simulate a browser in one’s post message? Click on the image to see the dynamic version and browse through the concept map. It’s great fun. If you follow this link you go the page of Robert Hoffman, one of the experts at IHMC. But if there is anybody out there who knows how to include a dynamic cmap in a web page, I would be very glad to hear that. Or else a free (or not), online concept mapping tool with all the wonderful linking options as cmaps? Let me know, go to contact.

P.S. Meanwhile found part of the solution: 1. upload the cmap you want to display in your blog in one of the public cmaps of the IHMC, e.g.; 2. use the iFrame widget in WordPress to display your cmap in cmap format (so not as jpg, that’s another story and not half as interesting). Unfortunately I haven’t been able to take the second step, but I will, I will ….

P.S. 2: an alternative to Cmaps is the Visual Understanding Environment (VUE), a free open-source software platform for making concept maps. For some more explanations on its use, click here.


About Sjon van ’t Hof

Development professional who worked in rural development, tropical agriculture, and irrigation development in Chad, Zambia, Mali, Ghana, Mauritania, Israel, Burkina Faso, Niger, and the Netherlands in capacities ranging from project design and management to information management. Conducted missions to India, China, Kenya, and Bangladesh. Experience in the development and delivery of trainings in irrigation equipment selection, information literacy, Internet searching and database searching. Explores systems thinking in relation to international development, education, and management, with an ever stronger focus on the systems approach of C. West Churchman. Knowledgeable in tropical agriculture, project design and development economics, agricultural mechanization, irrigation, plant pathology, environmental degradation and protection, rural development. Co-authored "Wicked Solutions: a systems approach to complex problems", a book written by Bob Williams and Sjon van 't Hof. It was published in June 2014 and provides a practical way of dealing with wicked problems. Wicked problems are complex, ill-structured, human problem situations. This book will help you design an inquiry and intervention in such messy, wicked situations. It does so by guiding you through the steps and stages of a systemic process that addresses your own wicked problem. For more information, see or
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