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One of my favourite techniques for organising a project or structuring a problem is a Mind Map. Some people create very extensive maps but mine are mostly quite small, ideal for an iPhone and it was one of the first pieces of software that I searched for in the App store. It turned out to be not such an easy decision.

There are several reasonably priced & well reviewed options that run on the iPhone (iThoughts and iBlueSky stand out). The challenge is choosing one that works nicely with a compatible desktop version. Ideally, I would like some sort of OTA (Over The Air) syncing that required absolutely no thought or action from me, similar to calendar or contact sharing via MobileMe. Mindjet offers this but at $250 it is very expensive. After a bit of research on which programs support which file formats. and how they interact. I settled on Xmind (the free version) and iThoughts.

The clever part, and what prompted me to write this post, is the way that maps are shared between the two. iThoughts is designed to upload/download maps from Box.Net, which is a cloud-based file storage and sharing site that offers 1gb free. You still need to upload/download the files from Box.Net to your computer so it’s not ideal but it’s pretty good and at a total cost of £5 (for iThoughts). I should also say that you can also transfer files via WiFi, but that is only from iPhone to computer.

Apart from their freeness the good thing about XMind and Freemind is that they are java based and can run on both Mac and Windows (several of the paid applications can do too but you will have to pay for two licenses).