Does a tool exist to make conceptual maps/models on a broad topic?
November 17, 2014 3:28 PM   Subscribe

I want to map (or model, or some other word, not really sure what to call this) a whole lot of things that all pertain to a broad topic. My hope is to visually represent a lot of things, such as relationships, goals, tactics, gaps/needs, strengths, etc. Is there any type of software that does this sort of thing?

The topic I'm hoping to diagram is very broad and is a problem I'm trying to solve. The solutions have many parts and players, and I'm trying to create a visual tool allowing me to represent as many aspects of it as I can.

- Relationships between all the different moving pieces, be they humans, organizations, policy, etc.
- Goals to help us reach the identifiable solutions.
- What the tactics and strategies are to help toward those goals.
- Gaps of things/organizations/linkages that do not yet exist but should.
- The many different needs that will need to be met in order to do the work.
- The strengths of the myriad players/tactics/parts/pieces/etc.

I can envision how to do this with a process map, but I'd love for it to be better looking and more interactive than that. Is there a software that a layperson can use (i.e. not an engineer or someone with a ton of programming experience) to build a conceptual model of this nature? Thank you so much for your ideas. I recognize I'm not doing the best job explaining this question - if you have any follow-up questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Thanks so much.
posted by binocularfight to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
sounds like a "Mind map"
posted by thelonius at 3:41 PM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

cmap would probably be good for this, and it can be downloaded here. It's free.
posted by sockermom at 3:45 PM on November 17, 2014

This is definitely a mind map.
posted by dmd at 5:27 PM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

MindJet / MindManager / MindMap (I don't know what the software is officially called) purports to do what you are looking for.

In my cursory experience I found it somewhat lacking for representing complex relationships--but to be fair I didn't get much opportunity to play around, as it kept crashing my stone-aged work machine.
posted by ista at 5:58 PM on November 17, 2014

Scapple does this as well. It's $15, but it may offer better looking output than the others.
posted by mumkin at 6:14 PM on November 17, 2014

Had a lot of experience with mind mapping software. Mind Jet's line is really, really good, but Mindmeister is far cheaper and, unless your making a knowledge taxonomy of a major pharma company, probably good enough for what you need. Plus it's free for like three maps.
posted by digitalprimate at 5:58 AM on November 18, 2014

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