Our other passion is combining that same unique range of data / information / knowledge hunting & cartographic expertise with Corel (formerly ‘Mindjet’) MindManager – the world’s best information (‘mind’) mapping software – to create multi-function knowledge maps (‘hierarchical tree diagrams’) that visually capture not only the various individual elements that make up just about any ‘knowledge space’ and the ‘spatial’ inter-relationships between them, but also the (potentially 1000’s of) official / definitive / plain old useful knowledge resources available about them in the public domain. So they are an interactive map, a visualy structured ‘discover within the bigger picture context’ index of online knowledge resources, and a ‘minimal-click’ portal to those resources all in one.
We began using MindManager to map the knowledge in our own ‘business space’ in 2002, but soon realised the technique could also be applied to mapping knowledge about the ‘real world geographic spaces’ with which we were familiar (or so we thought!), and then the everyday ‘time spaces’ that rule our lives. In fact we realised that we could use it to map – and bring clarity to – just about any ‘knowledge space’ that we humans have created to conceptually structure, physically manage and navigate our world on a day to day basis.
(Note you can see here an illustrated ‘walk through’ of the process of turning an official spreadsheet of information found in the online public domain into a visually structured knowledge map, taken from our ScotlandTheMap project).
Realising the value of these new ‘knowledge atlas’ and ‘knowledge calendar’ maps to everybody trying to build a better world (or at least their bit of it) – whilst simultaneously struggling with information overload and getting all the other stakeholders ‘on the same page’ – we decided to share them via our digital download map store, in both HTML5 and MindManager (.mmap) format. HTML versions (an export feature unique to MindManager) can be viewed by anybody using any modern browser, on any device, on or offline, without the need for any plugins, whilst anybody with access to MindManager software can use the original MindManager format maps as ‘ready made’ templates to amend, adapt & repurpose (in whole or in part) in their own projects so they do not have to re-invent the knowledge wheel each time. (MindManager is more usually famed for it’s rich feature set for project planning & execution.)
We also offer a bespoke knowledge mapping service for clients – especially for communities – as well as consultancy & training. Along with our fellow partners in the MindManager International Value Added Partner (MIVAP) Network we also offer a complete MindManager consultancy service to help others to get the most value from this most amazing digital tool.
About Our Knowledge Maps
New to our knowledge maps? Find out all you need to know below. Please contact us directly if you still need more information…
By combining our unique range of data / information / knowledge hunting & cartographic expertise with MindManager’s many unique capabilities, we are able to…
- Map any sort of ‘knowledge space’ – By capturing the ‘things’ that make up any ‘space’ of human interest and endeavour – be it physical, virtual, conceptual or whatever – as branches in a MindManager ‘tree diagram’ map, we create a digital, visually structured, knowledge framework that not only records what entities make up ‘the space’, but also the hierachical relationships between them.
- Map knowledge resources about the space – By attaching (often multiple) hyperlinks to public domain knowledge resources about the entities to their branch in the map – be they official, definitive or just plain old useful – they become both more easily discoverable within the ‘bigger picture’ context of the whole map, and more easily accessible as they are never more than a couple of mouse clicks away! No more scrolling through endless search results (assuming you know what to look for in the first place of course).
- Incorporate contextual knowledge – Using MindManager’s many unique ‘information cartography’ features some of the core information contained in the linked resources can be embedded within, or attached to, the map branches – such as images of ‘traditional’ geographic maps (eg. location maps) or basic geo-statistical data like size and population – creating ‘knowledge seed branches’ that both act as mini knowledge portals in their own right and negate the need to consult the resources for basic information.
Consultancy & Training
After several decades of travel along the ‘Information Superhighway’ (remember that one kids?), lack of information isn’t usually the problem. With most teams / organisation it’s usually the opposite, with information overload slowing down people’s ability to find the specific information they need amongs ‘all the noise’, understand it, and process it into knowledge that they can apply to the task at hand so they can achieve what they want to achieve to move forward.
The first step to taming information and making it work for you is visually capturing it – or at least the definitive sources of it – in MindManager. Once in a map, it can be turned into specific knowledge resources as required.
However knowledge mapping is a journey. Let us help you along the way with consultancy / ‘done for you’ services to get you started working visually with your data / information / knowledge, and then after a while some training so you can do it for yourselves.
Please contact us directly to start your knowledge mapping journey.
Public Domain Knowledge Map Store
As part of our ongoing mission to “connect people with the information they need to know using maps (of all sorts)”, we have created public domain knowledge maps of fundamental concepts that humans use to structure and make sense of the world – such as geographic space and time – and then we publish them in the world’s only digital download knowledge map store so that people can more easily structure and make sense of the world, as well as find out the knowledge they need to know about it in order to do what they need to do, quicker easier and with a lot less stress…
Maps are available in both MindManager and HTML5 format so you don’t need to be a MindManager user to get started on your visual knowledge journey. If you do want to take it a bit further though you can easily get hold of a fully functoning 30 day free trial copy of MindManager here. Even if you don’t decide to purchase a licence, it will still work as a free map reader for store maps in MindManager format in perpetuity.
If you have an urgent requirement for a particular public domain information map and it’s not in our store, then we may be able to create it and add it to our store inventory (if the information is “out there” to be mapped of course and we think it will add to the public good).
Bespoke Knowledge Map Creation
If you have more bespoke knowledge maps in mind, then we can create those for you too…
Perhaps you want map your own knowledge mapped ‘on top of’ one of our already published public domain knowledge maps, in the same way you might add your own data on top of a geographic basemap in a GIS? Or perhaps combine it some other way?
We can do this for you and create HTML maps or, if you are a MindManager user we can initially do it for you to get you started and then help you to do it for yourself in the future.
Please contact us directly to discuss your bespoke knowledge mapping requirements.
Business Knowledge / Information / Data Mapping
MindManager software was created specifically as an information mapping tool for business users. The rich & dynamic visual framework that it provides enables the information to be seen in context, even at the finest level of detail, in a way that traditional business information tools like spreadsheets just can’t. (See our MindManager Applications page where we have lots of tutorial videos, recorded webinars and other resources that show how MindManager can be applied to just about all areas of business).
Here are just a few ideas to show you the range of business information mapping services we can help you with…
Map your everyday world – organisations,departments, teams, people networks & communities, assets, documentation… – with the maps serving as a mixture of visually structured digital directory, organisational map, as well as educational and awareness raising resource. These are sometimes called ‘dashboard maps’.
Organisational knowledge (such as in blogs and manuals) before it gets lost when the only person who knows retires to the South of France, leaves to work for your rival and / or gets run over by the proverbial bus (are the 2 events connected?)
- Projects and initiatives (perhaps stored on Microsoft SharePoint sites) so you can find the information resources you need sooner, as well as raise awareness and buy-in from stakeholders.
Data contained in spreadsheets and databases. MindManger integrates with all the programs in the Microsoft Office suite, with inbuilt tools eg. the Excel spreadsheet mapper tool imports the columns you specify from a spreadsheet and turns them into a visually structured tree map, with the data columns added as branches, attached notes or marker tags.
Please contact us directly to discuss your own business knowledge / information / data mapping requirements.
As well as capturing and visualising existing data / information / knowledge, MindManager can be used to facilitate business processes. For example it is the ideal tool for any – and all – parts of the meeting cycle…
It can be used to brainstorm meeting content as well as all the logistics around the organising. With a bit of tidying up and linking through to meeting documentation, this ‘agenda’ map can be sent to all participants beforehand. This is especially useful when meetings are called at short notice so there is not much time to create the necessary information resources for participants (such as in the agile way of working).
The same ‘agenda’ map can be used to actually run the meeting (even if only on the facilitators laptop). As well as keeping everybody on track, ideas and discussions can be visually captured real time as they unfold as sub-branches off the appropriate agenda branch in the map. This will greatly improve participation and engagement of the attendees, and the extra energy generated may even lead on to the formation of some sort of forward looking, structured strategic plan. Or even as far as an operational plan, with tasks assigned to individuals.
With a bit of ‘tidying up’ and marking up of action points, the same map can quickly be sent out to all attendees afterwards to provide a great interactive record of what happened as well as the next steps they need to take. This will greatly improve post-event engagement.
So depending on the style of meeting and how much you want to do yourself, you may need a bit of help doing some or all of this. It’s not always possible to facilitate and lead discussions and listen and type all at the same time! Also you may not have a colleague on-hand who knows their way round mindmapping software. That’s where we come in with our meeting mapping service. Let us:-
- record and display your meeting ideas and discussions as they unfold.
- creating bespoke map resources for your meeting and send them out to particpants beforehand.
- send out the meeting maps to all particpants to improve post-event engagement.
Please contact us directly to to ensure the next brainstorming / strategising / wash-up meeting between you and your colleagues / clients is a rip-roaring success.
Conference / Workshop Mapping
MindManager lends itself especially well to conferences and workshops, which are essentially meetings that are more complex and involved..
there will be more multiple sessions, and possibly even more than one stream.
a lot of information has to be imparted to participants within a limited amount of time.
the information flow is 2-way, with organisers requiring to record feedback from the participants on the information that they have been given in real time.
- if sessions are recorded and being made available post-event, then a more permanent library of knowledge resources can be created by simply linking the recordings to the agenda map.
Again we can help with all aspects of conference / workshop cycle.
Please contact us directly to help you ensure that your next conference / workshop hits the mark!
Community Knowledge Mapping
Community mapping is all about empowering communities with the knowledge resources they need in order to move forward with challenges or opportunities they are facing. This is done by connecting them with each other, with what they do know, and with the wider general and specific knowledge bases so that they can fill in the gaps.
The first task in any community mapping process is mapping the community (ie. defining it visually). This is relatively straight forward when the community is defined geographically (see also our Geographic Community Mapping Service), but what about when it isn’t? What about if it doesn’t exist in the physical world at all but is entirely online? As already pointed out this is not a problem when using MindManager to map communities, the interelationships between members and the component parts.
Once the members can locate themselves on the map of the community, the inter-connection and knowledge sharing can begin. This process is greatly accelerated if what knowledge they do possess around the challenge, or is known about it in the wider public domain knowledge bases, is already knowledge mapped and available to the community.
This process of ‘community mindmapping’ is an interactive, iterative one, with the knowledge (and links to knowledge resources) being added to the map over time sparking more collaborative thoughts and ideas and responses to the challenge. As with other exercisies in knowledge mapping it’s up to the participants to decide when the process is finished (“even if it’s just for now”). And where to take it next… As discussed already it’s easy to turn knowledge maps into a plan of action, if that is the desired outcome.
Let our knowledge mapping skills help your community move forward to meet it’s challenges and opportunities…
Please contact us directly to discuss your community knowledge mapping requirements.
Scotland The Map Project
Our biggest community mapping project yet…
ScotlandTheMap is a ground-breaking, national knowledge mapping project virtually connecting general, geographic & specialised knowledge resources about the ‘key building blocks’ of the nation, by visually connecting them in digital knowledge maps. This makes them easier to discover, find, understand & utilise, which benefits resource users, creators, and the nation as a whole.
We achieve this using our unique mix of professional information hunting & cartography skills and MindManager, the world leading information mapping software. The resulting HTML knowledge maps – which you are free to view, download & share on this site – open in any modern browser, on any device, without the need for any plugins.
We welcome your feedback & suggestions for subjects for future maps, or other definitive / official / plain old useful knowledge resources to link to (as long as they’re freely accessible in the public domain). We are also keen to collaborate with like minded organisations, communities & projects for the benefit of the common good.
Why Knowledge Mappers For Knowledge Mapping Services?
In our experience there are very few areas of human endeavor that don’t benefit from the increased understanding, buy-in and alignment that working visually with the data / information / knowledge you need brings. Here are some of the reasons why you should ask us to help you start realising those benefits…
Knowledge Mapping Client Testimonials
From the UK Chief Medical Officer to Local Council Officers, Project Managers and Headmasters, our mapping products and services have connected many individuals, teams, organisations & communities with the knowledge they need to get done what they need to get done… quicker, easier, and with a lot less stress 🙂
ScotlandTheMap Project - Local Government Maps Show How Digital Knowledge Maps Are Built Up
In our experience much time & energy is wasted by individuals, organisations & communities hunting for the knowledge they need about Scotland and it’s component parts (it’s ‘national building blocks’), especially at the sub-national level. 1000’s of ‘person hours’ are spent every day floundering around down online search ‘rabbit holes’, painstakingly piecing together the ‘big picture’ from individual knowledge resources scattered around the web, or even creating ‘new’ knowledge resources because they couldn’t find what they were looking for (even though it may already exist)…
And that’s just the time that’s wasted. If the knowedge is crucially required in order for people to fulfill their day-to-day tasks today – which includes operationally planning what needs to be delivered tommorrow, and strategically thinking about what could be in the future – then it’s wasting a lot more other resources too…
In our humble opinion people should be spending their time better actually utilising the knowledge resources that currently do exist – or identifying the gaps where new ones are needed – so that they can better do what they need to do, and progress themselves and their organisation / community / project.
Any tool or technique that makes the knowledge gathering, assimilation & utilisation process quicker, easier and less stressful for all concerned can only be welcomed, and can only benefit the nation as a whole.
Enter the’knowledge map‘ – a single, visually rich, information dense, hierarchically structured, intuitive to navigate, easy to share, ‘clickable index’ document…
Seek And Ye Shall Find... Eventually
“Och everything’s online now, all you have to do is Google it…”
There’s no shortage of knowledge resources about Scotland out there in the online, public domain. And sure, if you only need to find out a couple of facts in isolation now and again, a Google search will probably do it for you – as long as the answer you need is on the first few pages of the 8 million search results returned 🙁 (otherwise you may lose the will to live before you find the ones you need, or indeed reasonably conclude that the knowledge you seek does not currently exist, at least in the searchable pubic domain).
However if you regularly need to find a lot of information out in a more sustained, systematic way, AND record the existence of those new knowledge resources so you can return to them again later, AND build on the newly acquired knowledge they give you now – as is the case in doing desktop research for work and/or personal projects – then you will know what a frustrating & time consuming way of doing things a Google search is, especially if you are starting off from a ‘zero knowledge base’ yourself…
So, so many results to wade through… Results not all presented in order of relevance or importance to you… Resources linked to in different digital formats (eg. webpages, some buried in report documents without internal links, and what about all that data in downloadable spreadsheets?)… Dozens of browser tabs open because you don’t have a robust system of logging a ‘useful’ resource once you’ve found it so you can go back to it later…
We’ve all been there, so what’s the solution?
Start By Visually Capturing The 'Things' As Seed Branches In A Digital 'Tree Map' Using MindManager Software
Digital knowledge mapping using MindManager software is the only technique we know of that can simultaneously record the existence of potentially 100’s of real world ‘things’, 1000’s of knowledge resources about them, the ‘big picture’ contextual relationship between them and in which they are found, and ‘where they are’ online (ie. their ‘URL’).
AND do it in a very intuitive way, with a short learning curve, both in terms of making & sharing a map with software, and understanding it so that you can use it to find out what you want…
AND do it using ‘every day’ digital tools found in most office setups, making the requirement for further investment in technology minimal…
AND in a way that actively engages with more bits of your brain than traditional, linearly structured knowledge resources…
AND in a way that is able to cope with the real world as it is, in all it’s well intentioned, information overload, messy, ‘fuzzy logical’, glory…
Maps Provide A Visually Structured Frame Of Reference For Knowledge
A map encodes & conveys information visually, but crucially does so in a structured way using cartographic principles & devices. So utlises such elements as visual hierachies (more visually prominent things are more important), lines showing hierarchical relationships between things (equivelant to or a subdivision of?), shapes, symbols (ie. visual metaphors), meaningful colours (eye-catching, complementary & contrasting) etc., all in conjunction with a minimal amount of text (which too is visually formatted using the same cartographic principles).
Together all these elements create a visually structured framework of knowledge that more actively engages with your brain than a linearly structured, text-only knowledge resource does, and so it is more easily navigated, understood and assimilated.
A map is also just a ‘visually structured index’ of what ‘things’ exist in a particular ‘space’, and the relationships between them within it – a particular (& valuable) type of knowledge resource in it’s own right (as Google Maps know only to well).
Connecting Visually = Connecting Virtually...
However unlike a ‘traditional’ geographic map, a knowledge map need not be confined to showing only ‘things’ that exist in geographic space. Yes they can show those – and our ScotlandTheMap knowledge maps most definitely do – but they could equally be ‘man made constructs’ that exist in our ‘conceptual space’, such as ‘organisations / bodies’ or ‘sectors’ or ‘networks’ or ‘communities’ or ‘partnerships’ or ‘governments’, or any other number of the ‘real world things’ we create to structure our societies and help us run them on a day to day basis.
Equally the ‘things’ they can map may only exist in a virtual space like the world wide web – which is already hierarchically structured into websites, pages, sub-sections and downloadable files along with some sort of associated human navigation system. So ‘things’ like online knowledge resources about the ‘real world things’ in geographic or conceptual space…
Combining both concepts of ‘spaces’ in the one knowledge map creates a visually structured index of knowledge resources about real world things, that is visually (and therefore virtually) connected to a visually structured index of the real world things themselves…
Visually Structured Index Becomes Visually Structured Portal
And if the digital knowledge map included the URL of those online knowledge resources, it would not only be a visually structured index of the resources that existed about all the real world ‘things’ of a particular type, it could take users straight to them with a single ‘mouse click’ on a hyperlink.
Then our knowledge map becomes a visually structured portal to – rather than simply an index of – knowledge resources.
Contextual Knowledge Can Be Embedded & Attached In Multiple Ways
As well as attaching hyperlinks to external knowledge resources, information mapping software has a range of ‘information cartography’ features that (in the hands of the right map-maker) enables general, contextual knowledge elements to be visually embedded within branches in the map.
Such embedded knowledge can be in the form of imagery – real life photos of people or places etc., or screenshots of ‘knowledge pictures’ like geographic maps (eg. boundary maps).
Or they could be in the form of traditionally structured data devices like spreadsheets or charts. They could also be individual data fields, the values of which can be used to visually format individual branches eg. assigning a fill colour (the same way the ‘thematic mapping’ process colours in areas by value in geographic maps).
Branches can also be individually tagged with attributes, and the tags used to perform simple querying that hides / shows only those branches that fulfill defined criteria in a search (the same as in the ‘geo-filtering’ process used with geographic maps).
By visually incorporating such embedded and attached knowledge about national building blocks into the map, the need to even look up other knowledge resources is much reduced, thus saving even more ‘person hours’ that could be better spent progressing the individual, organisation or community.
Base Frameworks & Not Re-Inventing Wheels...
As the virtual library of maps of the fundamental building blocks of the nation and the knowledge resources about them grows, it becomes apparent that many of them (in whole or in part) could be re-used to provide a ‘base knowledge framework’ upon which further ‘layers’ of more specialised knowledge branches can be added. So for example our Scottish Local Councils – General & Geographic Knowledge Atlas provides a base framework for our Scottish Local Council Electoral Wards – General, Geographic & Electoral Knowledge Atlas, which in turn forms a base framework for our Scottish Local Councils, Electoral Wards & Local Councillors – Political Knowledge Atlas.
This process is akin to the one used to build up geographic maps in an online, mapping viewer or a GIS, where general basemap – such as those provided by Open Street Map, Google or Ordnance Survey – provide a general spatial context for additional ‘layers’ of more specific geospatial data (the ‘points, lines & polygons’) that are displayed on top it.
Thus a well-constructed general knowledge map can be re-purposed to make any number of more focused maps in the future without having to ‘start from scratch’, or ‘re-invent the wheel’ every time…
The videos above provide overviews of the maps produced so far by the Scotland The Map Project…
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