After describing two other use cases of my think tool
- (in Sense-making workflow, working with a larger text by someone else,
- and in Notes workflow, working with a limited number of my own notes),
I am going to describe a third type of maps: very large maps.
This use case is the one that is most similar to cartographic maps, and its purpose is to show many connector lines (‘roads’ and ‘streets’) and detailed items (‘villages’ and ‘towns’) but, at the same time, to retain a sense of orientation and gestalt. The orientation to see similar items in close proximity, and the gestalt to see recognizable patterns and clusters of similar items.
(Ideally, then, one would discover new connections within the condensed topic space. Or at least, become somewhat familiar with a new knowledge domain, by merely fiddling around and juggling a lot of its items.)
So, unlike many popular data visualizations, the map should not be an amorphous cloud of fancy arcs and tiny dots with random sampling just for marveling at, but rather, show identifiable connector lines and ‘palpable’, rearrangeable, items.
The orientation makes a difference that can best be seen in the short video here:
which is contrasting a navigation across an amorphous database, to a navigation based on spatial proximity respresenting the content similarity.
Now, the latest release of my tool offers some functions for teasing out how complex such a map might become before we are losing that sense of orientation. Max out the showable complexity by filtering more or less items and connections.
Originally, this third use case was not an intended application of the think tool. Rather, it emerged over time through single special maps as by-products. Click the examples below to see the respective posts.