Home » InfoViz, Knowledge Management, Mind Mapping, Open Source

Information Visualization Toolkits for Mind Mapping

Submitted by on June 4, 2009 – 10:25 pm 2,137 views 2 Comments

The other week, I wrote a blog post The Visual Wiki: A New Metaphor For Knowledge Access and Management. At the time, until I read the paper in depth, I hadn’t realized that this was about a project that I had blogged about last year: Thinkbase – A Visual Semantic Wiki. In a nutshell:

“Thinkbase is a new way to navigate and explore information on the web. It is what we call a ‘Visual Wiki’. It is based on Freebase, an open, shared database of the world’s knowledge – in other words a Semantic Wiki. Thinkbase uses a visualization tool (Thinkmap) to create an interactive visual representation of the semantic relationships in Freebase.”

The other similar project that was mentioned in the research paper was ThinkPedia. While ThinkBase offers visual navigation for FreeBase, ThinkPedia does the same for Wikipedia content. One of the sub-projects of my Personal Memex project intends to offer visual navigation in very much the same was as both of these applications. The engine that these projects use for visual navigation, ThinkMap, is VERY impressive. Unfortunately, it’s a commercial license (~5k) and keeping with the spirit of my open source model, I need to find something that is free.

With that said, I’ve started to research various visualization toolkits/APIs that offer some time of visual navigation. This navigation is very mindmap or concept map like in nature. There are some variations: some are force-directed graphs while others are hyperbolic. My research is still very much underway, but I’ve been collecting my links and have assembled into a mindmap. I’ve broken down the categories based on open source vs. commercial (for illustrative purposes), and platform (Java, Flash, or JavaScript).

Stay tuned on my progress in this area over the coming months since this will more than likely be my primary “pet technology project” for the summer.

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