Kinhost dot Org

Self-Map Technology

The articles on various types of headmaps and headmap exercises New.

How to create Headmaps: Headmap technology

Anything and everything can be used to create headmaps. LEGO people, dolls & stuffies, index cards, whiteboards, pen/pencil and paper, crayons, markers, paints, art applications, text editors, fridge magnets, charting & diagramming software, vector programs, mind-map programs, journals, and the list goes on and on. Anywhere that someone can organize information or put information into form, whether temporary or permanent, can be used to create maps.

Just draw it.

Nothing will ever replace the use of pen/pencil/crayon/marker/etc. — if your system is relatively simple, this is definitely the way to go, and you can get creative and artsy with it.

Please date it

The one regret we have when looking back at a pile of headmap sketches, images, drawings, napkin sketches, electronic art, etc. is that we didn't always date them. Now it's difficult to put them back into order, or know what other events were going on at the time. As of 2020 (when we're writing this), we Crisses have 34 years of headmaps from our first internal landscape map (which we know was drawn March or April 1986, but not the exact date) to our current system maps which we now do date, and this is our only regret in terms of documenting things about our system. We're generally good about dating journal entries, but we didn't date our headmaps for the longest time. So even if you can't put an exact date, log as much as you can, number them so they're in order, etc. now before you're looking back decades trying to reconstruct this stuff.

Also don't count on file creation dates for your images - if you can, put the date in the image itself. We have some maps where the file creation date got zapped from uploading them to a server that didn't store the information the same way. Oops. Thankfully we eventually got into the habit of putting the date in the file name.

"Diagramming" or free-form mind-mapping software.

You probably don't want mind-mapping software that locks you in to a center "thought" and then has distinct branches from there — that's much more like an outline. You want to be able to draw independent "Nodes" and have several branches or connections as needed.

The other feature you need is that when you make a connection between "nodes", the connection remains when you move the node. So simply using "drawing" software can be frustrating, even if it's vector art, because you're constantly having to move the lines separately from the nodes.

These apps have the features you'll probably want:

There are also iOS and Android apps to do these types of diagrams

What I mean by "free-form" mind-mapping software

You probably don't want mind-mapping software that locks you in to a center "thought" and then has distinct branches from there — that's much more like an outline. You want to be able to draw independent "Nodes" and have several branches or connections as needed.

If you use traditional/strict mind-mapping software make the central node your body or system name so that the branches/subsystems/people don't have to be connected to each other. Apps that allow conduits/connection between different branches outside the hierarchy are helpful. FreePlane (open source, cross-platform) is pretty good this way.

"Thought-Mapping" applications

So we used this 3D "collaborative thinking" software to re-create our complicated headmap with myriad subsystems and connections in it: (free for personal use) which allows you to tour your "globe" headmap from various directions.

Other "Thought-mapping" software could be of interest, but probably not as pretty. And in cases like "The Brain" (which we've used for information and has a free individual license), it doesn't allow any independent nodes (as mentioned above)... so it doesn't work well for most system maps.

Free-form applications that don't base around a central node (example: Scapple by Literature & Latte, Mac & Windows) or professional-level diagramming software which can get very expensive (Lucidchart, browser-based, allows 1 free map or Dia, free open source, cross platform).

Internal Landscape "Mapping" or Diagramming Applications

You can get creative with headmaps — especially if you're artistic or you want to depict your internal landscape. Don't forget the power of just a large piece of paper and some pens, pencils, rulers, etc.

There's also a good number of free or relatively inexpensive software that allows you to draw buildings, room diagrams, do interior decorating, etc. Just make sure you proceed with caution on privacy policies and security as needed.

Also note, the better the application, the higher the learning curve will probably be. You might be better off with paper sketches or free-form drawing applications until you are certain it's worth learning something more complicated.

  • Dia (free, open source, cross-platform): — to keep it private on your own computer only. Also has the ability to create timelines.
  • (hooks to Google Drive) — If you don't mind 3rd parties having access.
  • Scapple (Mac & Windows - approximately $18USD look for discounts via around November each year) something like a free-form fridge magnet application that allows relationship maps with the ability to add images, connect words with solid, dashed or arrow lines, add and connect images, and group objects with "background shapes" that can be "magnetized" to move everything inside them. You can get very creative with it.
  • - online diagramming application similar to Visio, you can do a few maps for free per email account.
  • - free web-based app, wants Chrome, doesn't require a login — but be careful because headmaps change just about as soon as you think you're done with them, so you may have to re-create it from scratch if you didn't have a login. I imagine they may try to sell you furniture or something that you used in your diagram — paint, etc. Looks like a great application.
  • - Online or app-based. The free version has good tools, you can buy an extended library of figures/furnishings. I like apps I can download and own my data. Creates both top-down maps, and does lifelike 3D renders of your space.
  • - another online 3D room diagramming software, well liked by the reviewer I got these listings from.
  • - free web-based lite architectural app, wants Chrome I think, has a model database people contribute to — so you can use a house, office building, etc. and add to it. May have a steep learning curve, but may have what you need to get started, too. Can create 2D floor plans for internal landscape drawings, can create 3D models and floor plans as well if you're feeling spunky. Since it has a user-contributed model database, we may borrow a Millenium Falcon to alter to make our internal landscape "Spaceship" idea. It's a thought.

Leave a comment

Subject: Name (required)
Email (will be private) (required)

Enter code: Captcha