#217 User-defined node orientations

Jeff Smith

Most people who use mappers like these are using them
to encode some knowledge set. The advantage of using
such graphical "thinking maps" is that they convert
relationship data into a visual layout. People process
visual information much more easily than other
non-visual forms.

The biggest drawback to FreeMind for knowledge
representation is that once a map gets more than about
20 nodes, they all begin to look alike. This arises
from the limitation of having each node oriented
horizontally and having to 'stack' the nodes in the
display area.

By adding a simple pair of numbers to each node, the
display could become highly customizable. If users
could set a rotation and stretch value for each node,
then extremely distinct graphs could be created.
I've written a short essay on the issue (which you can
read at
that includes some diagrams of what I'm talking about.

Such an extension would allow users to make much better
use of the display space and create much more
cognitively powerful concept maps. And it could be
implemented as a distinct mode, so that if some people
don't want to use it, you can simply ignore the
rotation and stretch values (assume them to be zero)
and it would just end up drawing the current style of
display graphs.


  • Jay Hamilton
    Jay Hamilton

    Logged In: YES

    I too would find this more helpful. I was constructing a
    large map and found that I wished to be able to control
    whether a node went right or left. Jeff's ideas would also
    be useful for the same reason readability.