Concept maps

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Concept map is the diagram showing the relationships among the concepts. The relationships are labeled arrows connecting the concepts. In general, concepts are represented in rectangle boxes and relationships with arrows. This gives the hierarchical structures [19]

Concept maps are used to stimulate generation of ideas and are believed to aid creativity. Concept maps are used to communicate complex ideas[19].

There are four major categories of concept maps which include
(1) Spider concept map: In this the main concept is placed at the centre of the map. The sub concepts will be radiating from the centre which surrounds the concept.
(2) Hierarchy concept map: It presents the information in a descending order. The most important concept is placed at the top of the map and later the concepts are branched accordingly based on importance.
(3) Flow chart concept map: It presents information in a linear form.
(4) System concept map: This map is similar to flow chart concept map but with the addition of ‘Inputs’ and ‘Outputs’.

The other formats of concept maps include Picture land scape concept map, Multi dimensional concept map and Mandala concept map[15].

Some of the concept map tools available are as follows:
(i) IHMC Cmap tools
(ii) Mindjet MindMapper
(iii) Free mind
(iv) Mind Map Plus
(v) Visual Mind
(vi) Inspiration
(vii) SimTech System MindMapper
(viii) Concept Markup Language – to represent concept maps graphically [10].


The Cmap Tools were developed at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (, a research institute of the Florida University System. The Cmap allows users “to construct, navigate, share and criticize knowledge models represented as concept maps”. These maps can be stored on the user’s personal computer or shared from a CmapServer.[16]

IHMC is an open source software which can be freely downloaded and installed. This tool is used to develop concept maps. Using this software the concepts and relationships can be easily developed. The relationships are labeled arrows. The IHMC software looks as follows:

REFERENCES: 10) Piedad Garrido, Jesús Tramullas (2004), Topic Maps: An Alternative Or A Complement To Concept Maps, Universidad de Zaragoza, España. URL:

16) (Last Accessed- June 2008)

19) (Last Accessed- June 2008)