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Exploration and Mapping

Exploration is about creating and using maps. Whether maps of space, earth, the ocean, to constructed spaces and the human mind The College of Exploration has an going program of action research on the creation and use of maps.

We use a selection of different mapping approaches and software programs to assist with the mapping process.

Geographical Mapping
The first maps we should draw are those of immediate surroundings experienced as a child. David Soble explains in his book Map Making with Children. There is a great series of books for young people called the First Guide to Maps. Check out the Mapping section of the College of Exploration Bookstore.

Google Maps
To map our projects and projects of others we use Google Maps. An example is our mapping of World Ocean Day activities. Click here for the days events are here on a Google Map version, and the World Ocean Day activities of Coexplorer community members. We have charted the route of the original HMS Challenger on a Google map. Here is a map of all the National Marine Educators Conference Annual Conference locations.(click the pins)

Geographical Information Systems
There are many open source mapping programs. Many companies supply GIS systems, like ESRI.

Concept Maps
The Coexplorer Project uses a program called CMAPS to support concept mapping. We have our own CMAP server. The software for PCs Macs and Linux can be downloaded for academic use. The program was developed by the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition which is affiliated with several Florida Universities.

Concept Mapping for Evaluation and Planning
Concept mapping can be used for evaluation and planning see an art ice by William Trochim from Cornell University.
A book by called Concept Mapping for Evaluation and Planning by Kane and Trochim describes their approach and the software is available at

Conceptual Flow Mapping
Conceptual Flows help illustrate a scope and sequence for a curriculum. A definition of conceptual flow includes backward mapping. See for example the Ocean Literacy concept flows.

Concept Diagrams or Thought Diagrams
The College of Exploration is a partner with COSEE Coastal Trends. One of the partners is the Integration and Application Network at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Part of the work of" IAN" is conceptual diagramming and the offering of symbols for anyone to use They produce concept diagrams An example is the land ocean interaction project.

The team at COSEE Coastal Trends, the Integration and Application Network and the College of Exploration are beginning to explore what drawing concept diagrams of the ocean literacy framework would be like. Here is a start on Ocean Literacy Principle 7 - The Ocean is largely unexplored.

Thinking Maps
David Hyerle has created an approach to teaching and learning using "Thinking Maps". He describes eight maps types based on cognitive approaches.

Argument Mapping.
Taking an approach to identify the specific arguments in an issue. See and this Wikipedia entry and at MIT they are developing a delibaratorium

Strand Maps
The College of Exploration is working on implementing its own instance of the Strand Maps Service from the National Science Digital Library

Mind Maps
We use a number of programs for mind mapping and planning. The College of Exploration used Mind Manager to compile a history of actions on ocean literacy prior to actions in October 2004. We continue to use commercial software from Mindjet - Mind Manager for mind maps and project management.

We have used collaborative maps from Mead Map which is the U.S. education organization representing

FreeMind is a free mind mapping software program.

See a program called Inspiration used widely in K-12 settings. A popular program in K-12 which we also use is Inspiration that is now on the web called Webspiration

Another cloud based mind mapping tool is

Cognitive Mapping
In the late eighties and early nineties we researched the role of cognitive mapping in executive development. We used software called Graphics COPE. This has now evolved into Decision Explorer.

Information Mapping
A way to map personal and corporate information is with a program called The Brain This is good for visualizing information on computers.

Database Mapping, XML Mapping
"Mapping" of data from different sources can build new applications and reports. The software tool "Mapforce" from Altova is one example. Watch the demo video on Altova Mpforce here Altova also offer a program called Stylevision to produce visual presentation of mappings.

Dialogue Mapping
We like to work collaboratively with partners. We also support collaborative activities by networks and groups. To support that work we use software called Compendium. This program helps display conversations in a more disciplined and diagrammatic fashion. More information is available from the Compendium Institute and also Cognexus. Here is a screencast of a compendium map linked to a GIS system.

Rich Picture
Peter Checkland has developed Soft Systems Methodology over the past 25 years. Part of the process involves drawing a rich picture. This is a free form graphic (map of the situation) that is highly collaborative and creative, designed to capture the people, processes, organizations and issues involved in the system being studied. Check land's definition of systems thinking is more about human activities systems and their complexity.

"Systems Thinking"
One definition of systems thinking is offered by and expressed as models that come from the systems dynamics modelling process. This company has a kind of "mapping" software that details flows and regulators for example. The software used is called Stella for ecosystems and educational use and iThink for business use, although the software is the same.

Network Maps, Mapping and Evaluation
The College of Exploration designs, creates, implements, facilitates and evaluates networks, mainly organizational, social, conversation, collaboration and learning networks, not hard wired networks as in telecommunication or computer networks, although they may well support, enhance or detract from organization social and learning networks. We use a couple of software tools to analyze and evaluate networks including Atlas TI and . Look also to the work of Valdis Krebs also June Holley

Business Process Mapping
There are many many programs for mapping business processes. We have used Visio from Microsoft another offering is SmartDraw. For collaborative work we are investigating using Activiti

Community Impact through Mapping
An organization called NiJeL, creates maps that tell powerful stories and have real community impact. Across the globe, NiJeL uses high performance mapping to identify and mitigate social, economic, and environmental problems in poor communities now so they don't become humanitarian disasters later.

Organization Maps
Stafford Beer has mapped organizational systems. His Viable System Model is a map for understanding and designing organizations.

Organization Charts
The College of Exploration org chart is created using Microsoft Visio. See the org chart.
Learn about Visio.

Visualizing Information
Edward Tufte has written seven books on the presentation of data and information in a visual form. He has a website.
Get his essay The Cognitive Style of Power Point

Knowledge Mapping
Robert E. Horn of Stanford teaches visual language. he has written an article on Knowledge Mapping for Complex Social Messes We have participated with Denham Grey defines knowledge mapping as " a navigation aid to explicit (codified) information and tacit knowledge, showing the importance and the relationships between knowledge stores and dynamics

We have helped organize and contributed to in a number of online workshops on Knowledge management and mapping, one was called the Knowledge Ecology Fair. Another for IBM was called KMBlue98.

The maps are made of family relationships based upon the family tree and the genealogical position of an identified person. Wikipedia describes genograms as a pictorial display of a person's family relationships and medical history. Software such as Genopro can help to create these maps.

Eco-map "is a graphical representation that shows all of the systems at play in an individual's life" according to the entry in Wikipedia They have some similarity to genograms but are more descriptive of the wider contexts. The term was apparently coined by Hartman in 1975 in relation to assessing family relationships. A broader definition could include complex pictures of ecosystems. This could also include pictures related to ecosystem management.

Pattern Mapping
Christopher Alexander talks of a Pattern Language as a form of mapping behavior and architecture and landscape to a word map of patterns

We use Timeline Maker - a timeline program to map our history and key events.

Visual Metaphors
David Sibbet was one of the founders of Grove Consultants . They are developing Visual Planning Systems.

Other Web Resources

Mind Genius Mind Mapping Software

Mind mapping blog.

College of Exploration Bookstore Mind Mapping Section


Dialogue Mapping Jeff Conklin
Idea Mapping Jamie Nest
Visual Language Robert Horn
Envisioning Information Edward Tufte
Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, Peter Checkland
Mind Map Book Tony Buzan
Learning, Creating, and Using Knowledge: Concept Maps As Facilitative Tools in Schools and Corporations, Joseph Novak.
Diagnosing the System for Organizations, Stafford Beer.
Concept Mapping for Evaluation and Planning by Kane and Trochim