How do I make this sort of diagram?
July 31, 2006 3:19 PM   Subscribe

I need help charting information in a way that's intuitive.

If you know Civilization, this diagram is familiar to you. (Even if you don't, it's probably self-explanatory -- it shows the progresson of civilization advances within the game and how they depend on each other.)

I want to do something similar for a math curriculum I'm designing. My questions:

1) What is this kind of diagram called?
2) What is the best method for creating one? I'm on a Mac, and I know FileMaker. I'll probably create some behind-the-scenes accounting for the final system in FileMaker, but I'd like something that I can use intuitively to arrange the sequence in a graphic format and (ideally) export it into an outline or database.

If pen-and-paper or some other hands-on system works best in your experience, I'm receptive to that outcome as well. Thoughts on the thought process also appreciated.
posted by argybarg to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by sindas at 3:23 PM on July 31, 2006

Broadly speaking, that's a directed graph (then again, if you're teaching math, you should know that). And yes, Omnigraffle is probably the tool of choice.
posted by adamrice at 3:28 PM on July 31, 2006

(on follow-up): I am amazed to learn that snark has a particular meaning in graph theory.
posted by adamrice at 3:33 PM on July 31, 2006

Third vote here for OmniGraffle. I have to do that sort of thing a lot, and there's nothing better.
posted by athenian at 3:33 PM on July 31, 2006

The Visual Display Of Quantitative Information by Tufte.
posted by baylink at 3:36 PM on July 31, 2006

Anything comparable for Windows?
posted by crack at 3:54 PM on July 31, 2006

I would have called it a "dependency chart".

When I need to create graphs like that on the PC, I use Visio. But Visio doesn't run on MacOS.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:57 PM on July 31, 2006

OmniGraffle is a lot like Visio, Steven.
posted by evariste at 4:10 PM on July 31, 2006

crack-on Windows, along with the aforementioned Visio (a program which is not originally Microsoft's; they bought it), there's also SmartDraw.
posted by evariste at 4:12 PM on July 31, 2006

Also, this is unrelated but I think it's really cool: an AJAX timeline toy, and a Mac OS X app for making gorgeous timelines, appropriately named "Timeline".
posted by evariste at 4:14 PM on July 31, 2006

The Timeline app can import outlines from OmniOutliner, as can, of course, Omni's OmniGraffle application. So if you already have an outline and you want to turn it into a timeline or an OmniGraffle...graffle, both apps make it super easy.
posted by evariste at 4:17 PM on July 31, 2006

That AJAX timeline is awesome, evariste!
posted by kimota at 4:33 PM on July 31, 2006

The snark thing is pretty cool too, adamrice.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:27 PM on July 31, 2006

Have you tried MindManager?
posted by HJB123 at 10:18 PM on August 5, 2006

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