Review: Map Your Mind With 3D Topicscape Pro

3D Topicscape Pro helps you map your ideas, data, and plans into a three-dimensional plan of action.

By Andrew Brandt, PC World |  Hardware, data management, project management

If your idea of project planning, data management, or brainstorming tends to be less whiteboard and more Minority Report, you're going to love playing with 3D Topicscape Pro ($150, 30-day free trial). Some people work better sketching out plans on a flat surface, while others use their minds to develop imaginary spatial relationships between ideas; this tool seems tailor made for the latter user. A mind mapping app with a twist, 3D Topicscape Pro is the more full-featured app of a pair (the other being 3D Topicscape Lite, which is little more than a file manager you can use to also keep notes about files or to-do lists--more about that later) that let users build a kind of virtual landscape made the relationships between ideas, plans, or topics---one that you can navigate or (literally) fly through, as easily as Neo might zip around The Matrix.

To get a sense of what this means, imagine how it would look if you took the outline from a term paper and made it into a three-dimensional conceptual model of the relationships between the topics and subtopics. Topicscape generates something like a mountain range made of pyramids, or partially-opened umbrellas, with the largest peaks representing the broadest categories within the outline. Smaller foothills representing subtopics surround these peaks. Navigating this environment is a bit like finding your old high school on Google Earth--it takes a little getting used to, and it's fairly graphically intensive, but after a little practice it starts to make sense. In addition, any topic or subtopic can be linked to data files, photos, or other relevant metadata or information, turning a conceptual landscape into a kind of filing system that's even less grounded in the real world than little folder icons on a desktop.

Topicscape also offers a $50 Lite version of the software, with far fewer features than the $110 Pro version. Among the limitations of the Lite version, you can import data formats from fewer competing products and link up data files from fewer applications; there are fewer "skinning" options to change the appearance of the 3D map; the Lite version also lacks the 2D interface, and much of the searching and extended file management features that make Pro so unique.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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