Thinkmap puts content into context, and is a good example of an emerging trend of making it easier for people to find and use knowledge. -- Larry Prusak, Distinguished scholar in residence, Babson College
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If you want to use Thinkmap in your project, or for more information about the professional services we offer, please contact us at: or call 212-285-8600

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01. What is Thinkmap?

Thinkmap is a software platform for developing customized visualization interfaces to complex data. The software provides a system for crafting visualizations with structured data in order to make the information more intuitive, accessible, manageable and meaningful. Thinkmap visualizations can make relationships in the data more apparent than can traditional line graphs or column displays and can improve understanding and discovery.

Thinkmaps are highly customizable and are deployed by companies in a variety of rich applications: CRM, IT asset visualization, knowledge management, operations and workflow, network management, e-commerce, research & development, and intelligence. Via the Thinkmap Software Developer Kit, developers can quickly create their own visualizations tailored to their data and integrated with their applications. Thinkmap runs on a variety of platforms and can be deployed in a variety of ways.

02. What are the benefits of using Thinkmap?

Thinkmap enables organizations to incorporate dynamic, data-driven information visualization technology into their enterprise Web applications. Thinkmap applications allow knowledge workers to make sense of complex information in ways that traditional interfaces can't. Data that may seem too overwhelming, too multi-faceted, or too dry comes to life inside Thinkmap visualizations, keeping your users more engaged and effective. Thinkmaps make information more intuitive and understandable, often leading to discoveries of relationships and nuance not otherwise possible.

Compared to other visualization platforms, Thinkmap offers compelling benefits:

  • Thinkmap is inherently flexible. Its underlying core can be molded and customized into any look or behavior. At the same time, Thinkmap comes with a rich assortment of preconfigured visualizations.
  • Multiple Thinkmaps can run simultaneously and together to depict different aspects of underlying data.
  • Thinkmap supports nearly infinite "dimensions" of data displayable. Each element of a Thinkmap display — from the length and thickness of a line to the color, size, shape, and movement of a node — is infinitely configurable, and can be mapped to properties in the data so that interfaces can be designed to perform specific tasks.
  • Thinkmap supports multiple data sources: Flat-file, SQL, XML, Web Services, and custom data sources.
  • Thinkmap is efficient with large numbers of nodes and huge databases. Its thin client brings over only the data that it needs.
  • Thinkmap's SDK comes with a fully working example and template to help developers get their own visualizations running very quickly.

03. How is Thinkmap different from other visualization software?

Thinkmap is unique in its flexibility, scalability, and compatibility. Thinkmap's flexible architecture allows developers to create highly dynamic, visual interfaces for a broad variety of data sources. Each element of a Thinkmap display - from the length and thickness of a line to the color, size, shape, and movement of a node - is configurable, so that visualizations can be designed to perform specific tasks and depict information density in an intuitive and clear manner. Because these elements are controlled by properties in the data set, Thinkmap can show both qualitative and quantitative data.

In addition to its flexibility, Thinkmap offers a scalable and compatible solution. It is designed in such a way that it is easily configurable, efficient, and able to coexist in a large variety of legacy systems. Thinkmap's modularity enables rapid development of new application systems, and because its datasource API is standards-based, Thinkmap works well within most standard application server environments.

04. How is Thinkmap 5 different from earlier version of Thinkmap?

Thinkmap 5 uses HTML5 to render the visualization, utilizing a combination of JavaScript, CSS, SVG, and HTML5 Canvas. The result is that the visualization is completely browser based (no plugins required) and works on all modern browsers, including those on tablets and smartphones. Thinkmap 5 also adds a large number of new features.

05. Can I customize the appearance of Thinkmap?

Yes. One of the distinctive features of Thinkmap is the amount of control that developers have to fine-tune the look, feel and behavior of the resulting application. Via the JavaScript API, you can control how nodes and edges represent underlying data. Nodes and edges can be represented by any SVG image.

06. How long does it usually take to develop and deploy a Thinkmap application?

The Thinkmap SDK is designed to allow developers to rapidly implement solutions. It reduces complexity through a well-considered separation of concerns. Developers of Thinkmap applications can focus on the visualization of their information, and not worry about the exact mechanisms that make it work in a seamless fashion.

Assuming the data is properly structured, a developer can typically produce a fully functional, data-rich Thinkmap in under a week. In the context of a very large project, the development cycle can be a few months.

07. How can I get started?

If you want to use Thinkmap in your application, or for more information about the professional services we offer, please contact our sales department at , call 212-285-8600, or see our licensing page.

08. How do the three versions differ?

There are three versions of the Thinkmap SDK available: Standard, which provides developers with the full capability to customize the Thinkmap visualization component, Professional, which includes the ability to access the datasource API and Flex, which offers a more flexible licensing model. The Standard Edition is perfect for those who are interested in experimenting with Thinkmap or using it for fairly straightforward Web applications. The Professional Edition is necessary for most integration with existing legacy systems or if it is necessary to provide different levels of access to the data. The Flex Edition is used by those who have complex deployment needs, and who need flexibility in deployment.

09. How do I buy Thinkmap?

If you are interested in purchasing Thinkmap for use in your application, or for more information about the professional services we offer, please contact our sales department at , call 212-285-8600, or see our licensing information.

10. Is there an evaluation copy?

In selected cases we make the Standard Edition SDK available with a limited term license for research and development purposes only. If you have an interest in evaluating the Thinkmap software, please fill out the form on this page.

11. Can I purchase complementary professional services to help implement Thinkmap in my application?

Through our partners, we offer complementary professional services to help our clients implement Thinkmap. Such services include training, data analysis, information architecture consulting, interface design, development, integration, and deployment services.

12. How is the Thinkmap Platform structured?

Thinkmap is a suite of loosely coupled components that together give users the ability to visually navigate, organize, and manipulate large data sets. For more general technical information about Thinkmap, please see the architecture page.

13. What forms of data does Thinkmap support?

The Thinkmap API is designed to allow developers to rapidly implement customized solutions. The Standard Edition comes plug-and-play connectors to JDBC databases and flat files. Customers who license the professional edition get access to an API to easily integrate Thinkmap with web services, non-standardized data sources, and proprietary software.

14. Does Thinkmap find the relationships in my data?

Thinkmap does not find relationships in data per se. Low-level data relationships are defined as part of developing a Thinkmap application, and Thinkmap then depicts the relationships. It is in these depictions, however, that users oftentimes discover relationships, patterns, and meanings in the data that would otherwise not have been apparent. Thinkmap visualizations can reveal these subtle connections in the data.

With Thinkmap, the developer (and the user) sets the rules for how the information is displayed. These rules can be complex, and are based on properties of the data. As the data is laid out, patterns emerge, and a user can then make decisions as to which parts of the data should be explored further.

15. Which OS platforms and Web servers are supported?

The Thinkmap Server is 100% Java and runs on all platforms that support Java, including Mac OSX, Unix, and Windows. Thinkmap uses Java's Servlet API to communicate with any standard Web server — such as Apache or IIS. Thinkmap's server-side component will run under any valid JVM. If your server is accessing a relational database, the JDBC drivers must be pure Java or native for the chosen platform.

The Visualization Component uses HTML5 for rendering, and is completely browser based, needing no plugins. The client component functions on all modern browsers that support HTML5 including those on browsers and mobile phones.

16. How scalable is Thinkmap?

Thinkmap is built to work with extremely large databases in situations with multiple simultaneous users. The server component is very efficient, but if additional server power is needed, it's a straightforward process to load balance a Thinkmap application.

17. How flexible is Thinkmap?

Thinkmap can be connected to virtually any data source, and can show relationships and data properties for a nearly unlimited number of data types. Thinkmap is standards-based, and works well within most standard application server environments. The technology has been deployed as a front-end to a variety of enterprise systems, including document management systems, customer relationship management systems, digital asset management systems, and automatic classification engines. Since the visualization component utilizes HTML5, a developer who has experience working with HTML has almost complete control over look-and-feel and behavior.

18. How do I integrate Thinkmap into my Web site or application?

Since the Thinkmap Visualization component is 100% browser based (using HTML5), it's easy to integrate Thinkmap with a web application. One or more Thinkmaps, and they may communicate amongst themselves or other components of the Web page. Thinkmaps access data in enterprise applications and back-end databases via the server component of Thinkmap, which may access SQL, XML or Web Services data.

19. Does Thinkmap come with a Developerís Kit?

Yes. The Thinkmap SDK includes comprehensive configuration files, API, a full template/example, complete documentation, datasource adapters for relational databases, XML, and flat files, and a library of traditional user interface elements that can be used as components in a Thinkmap application.

20. How much programming expertise is necessary to use Thinkmap?

A developer using the SDK should have a basic understanding of JavaScript (and ideally experience working with other JavaScript frameworks), and a good understanding of HTML. If you are using our server, someone on the team should know how to deploy Java web applications.

Thinkmap. Visualize Complex Information.