Basic types of maps

Filed Under Mindjet


March 27, 2005

Nick Duffill wrote a very good summary of different types of maps: Three basic types of map. His classification is based on the map content.

We found another type of classification that differentiates maps not on their content, but on their life span:

Brainstorming maps are often used just during one session. You dump all your ideas or even better in a group session the ideas of the whole team, structure the map, set some priorities, decide on some next actions and afterwards the map is not needed any more. It has “just” facilitated the process. The life time of those maps is in the range of a few hours.

Project maps used to plan an event, a product launch or how to approach a sales deal, live until the project is finished. Afterwards they are not needed any more. Those maps are usually used for days or a few weeks. They are updated again and again to reflect the latest status of the project.

A third category is Knowledge maps. They contain information that you write down once and are then kept for a long time. They usually replace other types of documents like Word or PowerPoint. Those maps can live very long, even for years. Occasionally they need to be updated, but often they are never touched after their first creation.

3 Responses to “Basic types of maps”

  1. Me

    What about the term ‘work map’? Is it Workmap or Work Map? Are there any other terms for a work map; a workmap being a map that people use to create new information, such as land use, proposed routes, etc.


  2. Mike Jetter

    Examples for knowledge maps are maps that describe processes. You create them once, fine tune them over time and then reuse them a long time (which is the whole point of a process). This is especially useful to preserve the knowledge that is never written down anywhere, but just inside people’s heads. A good example we had at Mindjet was when Matt our training specialist come on board. He was quickly up to speed, because all our training processes and organization was “persevered” in maps.

    Another example for knowledge maps are all kinds of check lists e.g. for job interviews, how to prepare a trade show and so on.

    One of our partners the Knowledge Continuity Center is spezialzing on working with companies to convert the knowledge people have and build map repositories from that.

  3. Tommy Williams

    Do you have good examples of each type of map you describe? Brainstorming, project, and knowledge maps? I’m especially interested in the knowledge maps. I’ve been fairly successful using MindManager for brainstorming and projects, less so for long-term storage.