While mind maps can be divided into two distinct categories when it comes to how they’re created, they can be divided into three distinct categories when it comes to the format and purpose of the map.

Reference or Knowledge Mind Map

Some mind maps are created with the purpose of exploring a topic or organizing a specific group of information. The idea of reference or knowledge mind maps is to be able to come back to them later for information. Essentially these mind maps are created to be used for future reference. Once created, these types of mind maps can be used by different people for many years. They can be created to cover certain topics, manage lists, organize resources and facilitate learning.

Brainstorming Mind Maps

When a group is working together to solve a problem, answer a question or prepare for different scenarios a mind map is a great tool for identifying those ideas. A mind map can be drawn during the brainstorming session and act as a living reference while the group works. Since mind maps are created to be enhanced or changed at will, it can be an important tool to inspire creative thinking. One of the most important benefits of brainstorming is the creative energy that is encouraged from the participants. A mind map is very effective at facilitating that creativity while remaining organized.

brainstorming mind map

There also another format of mind maps called:

Planning/Project Mind Maps

If you’re planning an event or special outing, a mind map can be very helpful in working to cover all of the different details that need to be considered and fleshed out. The map would have the project at the center and the different areas would tackle different parts of the project. This kind of map could be used on an ongoing basis to track milestones, communicate goals and keep a planning schedule.

Final Thoughts

By determining the type of mind map you will be using, it can help you make the best use of it. When you’re doing any type of analysis, you have to be clear about your purpose when creating it. With mind maps, you must first determine whether it’s going to be hand drawn or computer generated then whether it’s a reference, brainstorming or planning map. Often times the situation will help to dictate the type of map being created but overall it helps to figure this out before you start it.