On the seventh day of mind mapping, we’d like to share with you…7 terms to know, in case you’re a beginner (or as a refresher if you’re not). Plus: 6 awesome tips, 5 mappers’ stories4 Maps for That, 3 things to do, 2 favorite blogs, and a robust eCard resource for the holidays.

The below jargon is well-known to expert mappers, but may come as a lesson for those of you getting started.


Otherwise known as ‘topics’, nodes are where you house central ideas. They’re the place where relationship lines in your map intersect or branch off from.

Floating Topic

A node containing topic information that is outside of the main map topics, and not linked to any specific relationships in the map.

Split Tree Growth

This type of map organization shows how two divergent paths of developments or associations are related, in order to help delineate the differences between ideas or approaches. For instance, if you were mapping the possible outcomes of two approaches to a problem, you’d be able to see how they differ or mirror each other without having them intersect.


If you’re a traditional mind mapper, this might make you think of your favorite colorful pack of Crayola pens. But in the world of mind mapping software, ‘markers’ are all about deeper organization, and are used to assign priority levels, progress percentages, and other identifying attributes to topics and relationships. For example, Priority Markers are typically numbers (1-5), and reflect the importance of a particular node in the overall map.

Radial Thinking

Otherwise known as cyclical or non-linear thinking, radial thinking is a foundational concept of mind mapping. The visual network of ideas in a mind map reflects the dendritic nature of the brain, mirroring the way our brains actually store and process information by applying context to ideas.

Hierarchal Organization

A type of map that classifies topics and actions, based on various criteria like priority or resources, into successive levels or layers.

Non-Linear Relationship

Indirect, non-linear relationships are a powerful component of mind mapping complex topics. They represent a correlation between two nodes or topics in which changes happening in one do not correspond with constant changes in the other. For example, if you were mapping department budgets, expenditure in one section would affect the overall budget but may or may not have any bearing on spend in another area.