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More about the Map: Design Concepts

Map extractHere is a place to travel the underground of your mind ...
Andrew Roberts, Middlesex University

The design of the BrainWareMap has drawn on a number of significant concepts and techniques. The chief of these are as follows:

Mind Maps

  • Mind maps, as developed by Tony Buzan, exploit the 'right brain' functions of graphics and colour, and are used to focus on the 'big picture' and to assist comprehension and memorisation. It is expected that after even a limited exposure to the BrainWareMap, many people will begin to internalise it and be able to use it to advantage as a simple conceptual map of creative learning and related topics.

London Underground Map

  • The BrainWareMap draws on the well established graphical design concepts employed in the London Underground Map, such as coloured lines, junctions and stations (see extract above). These concepts are very simple and 'clean': they are pleasing to work with and they give an impression of efficiency and clarity. To see a copy of the London Underground map, click here. Meanwhile for those with a fascination for the map, don't miss Owen Massey's 'Mapper's delight', the extended discussion in Edward Tufte's forum and my own Mornington Crescent. Finally, Dave Pollard's recent 'Is the blogosphere like a railway network?' should also be of interest.

'The Knowledge'

  • Behind each station on the BrainWareMap there is a page of key information about the related topic. And given that there are more than 90 stations on the map, each with its own page, this means that there is a substantial body of key information about creative learning just beyond the map and directly accessible from it. Essentially it provides an easy-to-use 'shallow end'. Alternatively, one can think of the key information as 'The Knowledge', comparable to 'The Knowledge' used by London taxi drivers, i.e. the key geographical information about London which they need (see The Knowledge).

Wisdom Pages

  • The information for each station is limited to approximately the amount which should fit on a single A4 sheet. This means that the writing is disciplined, with a focus on significant key features and with cross-references and external links (URLs) used freely. A side benefit is that the production of hard-copy pages is economical and convenient. For a 'big' topic like student learning, the single station is replaced by a sub-track, carrying as many stations as are needed to cover the topic: in the case of student learning there are seven stations in all (see the Learning Skills Map).

Strong Knowledge Domain

  • The BrainWareMap aims to promote the sense that here we have an integrated 'knowledge domain', which while possessing many links outside itself, also has a strong boundary. This is emphasized by the colour coding of the hot links. All external links are coded blue in the normal way; all internal links within the domain are coded red.

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Page last modified: 25 September 2009
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