As you may be well aware, mind maps are very popular and there is an enormous variety of mind map tools on the Internet. More than 300 have been collected at http://www.mind-mapping.org. And if 300+ is a bit much, just have a look at the 16 listed in Vic’s Faves. Among these, I personally tried bubbl.us, cmap, freeplane, imindmap, and prezi. Now these tools are indeed just tools. They must be applied for a purpose. I prefer Cmap Tools of IHMC for a number of reasons, the main one being its enormous learning potential. As shown in Joe Novak’s “Learning, creating, and using knowledge” (1998, 2010) concept maps can be used for many purposes, and very interesting purposes at that. What I am trying to do in this blog is to explore how far the concept mapping tool of Cmap can be stretched to accommodate mapping purposes for which it is not intended. One of the thing Cmaps cannot do very easily, is making simple arrows, without any text or whatever in it. A reasonable solution would be to leave the text out, or to use a point or an asterisk or something. Nothing really looked very nice until I tried to replace the text with a 9 pt bullet. By way of example, here is my impression of part of the influence diagram as shown in Fig. 1.2 of “Systems approaches to managing change” (Reynolds and Holwell, 2010).
P.S. I just tried an 8 pt bullet and it was even better.
P.S. Cmap Tools actually provides the option of selecting from a large number of so-called mathematical characters, which may be better than the bullets option. In fact, there are some bullets, too, that line out perfectly.