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3D Topicscape ProDiscount

3D Topicscape Pro

Get Organized with 3D Information Landscapes

$110
for PC  Download Trial
Platforms: Windows 2000, XP, Vista
3D Topicscape Pro ScreenshotMind Mapping Software Screenshot3D Topicscape Pro, Mind Mapping Software Screenshot

Sometimes there's just too much information!

Do you ever feel like absorbing even one more tiny piece of info will detonate your brain into a million pieces? That, of course, is where organizational software comes in. We just wish that all those information organizers and project planners worked a little better. For some reason they never seem to help us find and utilize data in the ways that we really need them to.

Topicscape gives you a new way to organize your work and find the info you need. It displays your information in the form of navigable 3D landscapes that can reveal details and relationships that you've never noticed before, and might not have noticed otherwise. Topicscape can help you sort out your thoughts and approaches on a new project well before you've even begun collecting any files, data, or information.

Topicscape now has sophisticated tagging and filtering capabilities, side panels that swing out when you want to use them and get out of your way when you want maximum visibility of the information landscape, and many new ease-of-use enhancements. It even includes three built-in demos!

Purchasers of today's Bits du Jour offer will be eligible for a free upgrade to our new version when it is released. This will have interchangeable 2D / 3D mind maps. The 2D maps can be viewed by flying in a similar way to Cooliris; there will be a new option to choose Google Earth style controls for 3D landscapes; and 2D/3D toggles with a keystroke.

Review Written by Roger Thomasson
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Expand All Email Updates Load 13 Older Comments
Peter pereh Hello,

I looked at your web site, but could not find anything about what the new version will look like or what new features it will have. I could not find a release date, too.

Best regards,
Peter.
Jul 12 2009 at 9:59pm Copy Link
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Roy Grubb Hi Peter,
The new version is not described on the website yet - this will be done as soon as we release a beta version. It will have switching between a 2D view and 3D, improved previews and content viewing.
I'm always reluctant to give release dates, but expect the beta within a couple of months. Beta version will be available to all purchasers and registered beta users. The full release will be available to all Bits du Jour purchasers who buy this time (and to all who bought Topicscape Pro six months before the final release)
Roy
3D-Scape Limited - Jul 12 2009 at 10:10pm Copy Link
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Peter pereh Hello,

just about 3D: I would say it is not 3D, just 2D with objects in it. However, since you implemented a feature to 'fly' around, why did you not make it really 3D, meaning: including the depth? Imagine placing subtopics really UNDER a topic; create streps of activities that really look like steps in 3D and leading to a point at the 'surface', from where the entries go on until another need step up/down with children is needed. Now, that's what I would call 3D! It would not only look nice; most important: the real 3D placement would reflect a meaning I can give it.
Jul 14 2009 at 8:16am Copy Link
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Peter pereh Again, no editing...
Of course it should say '...create steps of activities ' and '...another step up/down'.
Jul 14 2009 at 8:32am Copy Link
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Roy Grubb Real experience with such an approach shows that it is confusing and does not prove to be an advantage. We abandoned it at the experimental stage.

A key benefit of 3D is the instant zoom which allows the user to zoom in on an area of detail, and decide whether it is what you are looking for - and stay there, or zoom out instantly for further exploration.

The height of topic objects provides information about their relationship to one another, and that is another benefit of using a 3D environment.

The information landscape spread out before you in Topicscape provides a sense of place - you recognize where you are and become familiar with it as you work. And the vista of information, combined with zooming allows a much larger collection of information to be used actively than with any other approach available.

I hope you'll give it a try.

Roy
3D-Scape Limited - Jul 14 2009 at 8:42am Copy Link
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Peter pereh Can those cones you use for visualization be replaced with other icons, maybe user-made ones?
And will Topicscape run under Windows 7?
Jul 14 2009 at 11:50pm Copy Link
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Peter pereh Just a question about your site link to 'Topicscape's Google Group', meant as a placeholder for a forum, I guess. Besides spam and your own messages, there is nothing going on. Do you consider to open up a real user forum?
Jul 15 2009 at 10:08am Copy Link
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Roy Grubb Hi Peter,

Just got back from trip to Europe - sorry for delay in replying to your two questions.

On the questions of cone replacement, please take a look at our discussion on this here:
http://www.topicscape.com...p?page=173
and on our Google Group here for users' thinking on that:
http://groups-beta.google...7f3a?hl=en

Thanks for the tip off about the Google Group spam. I banned that author permanenetly two days before he posted those entries. GG tripping up there.

The Group is active from time to time (many of the 195 messages are not from us). But it's mainly an announcement area. We have recently set up a wiki, which anyone can sign up for and edit and this will become our discussion area. It is still being built, but you can find it here:
http://www.topicscape.com...l:AllPages

As you know from various emails exchanges we have had with you off line, we are very responsive to emails and have conversations with our users continuously.

Roy
3D-Scape Limited - Jul 15 2009 at 11:34pm Copy Link
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Roy Grubb Peter,

On your Windows 7 question, the answer is that we have not tested on that yet. We shall do that as soon as the final version is released, as we are working hard on many specific product enhancements at present.

Roy
3D-Scape Limited - Jul 15 2009 at 11:47pm Copy Link
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Vanessa N I'm not I understand the difference between being able to zoom in to a particular area once a mindmap becomes large and unwieldy....all mindmap programs do this (I use Imindmap)...the difference here being that Topic does it in cooler fashion. Nothing wrong with that - I do appreciate slick GUIs as long as they're quick. ;)

A practical question and then a question/feature suggestion:

What's the user license on this? Per computer or per person? And the upgrade policy again is....?

My other question is: is there a way to maneuver your cones to distances around the landscape that make sense to your purpose, rather than having them all in a clump in one square areas?

My though is that even if thoughts/ideas are related (hence, parents, children, etc), oftentimes, some ideas are more distant than others (as in families). One idea may be "way out there", even if connected on some level. Hence spatial distance adds to the 3-d effect but also correlates with the actuality of some ideas's relationships with others, and not just whether they are more important (i.e. cone height) than others.

I thought of 3 uses for Topic that illustrate what I mean above. Say you're a traveler (for fun, consulting, work) making plans for the rest of your life for all the places you want to see, and the research you want to do on each place.

GUI-wise, it would be neat to have each cone be spread out, similiar as on a globe for the distances of countries and continents. Now that that would be true zooming to go around a "world" in planning, if in planning, if not in reality just yet! A Google Earth that you can make plans on!

I saw the user discussion on changing cones to other objects (this would be nice on a minimal scale) and your concerns on 3-D rendering , so if a rounded "world/globe" isn't possible to keep the program stable, then a "flat" world will do (after all, it was popular until the 16th century...). But it would be nice to spread these cones out in their proper spatial perspective....your trip to Austrailia certains entails a great deal of distance from the US, as compared to going to a neighboring state like New Jersey!

I imagine scientists, geographers, engineers, and others may find the above useful, not just travelers.

I can imagine a use for writers and game designers, both of which may be operating in worlds of ideas that are far flung and fantasical. A writer's novel may span several areas of the globe, or even time, hence events may be "distant" from another. And the same for game designers, who create new worlds whose areas and characters are spread apart.

This can also be used for people studying outer space, with the cones (be nice to have rounded planets and starred icons here) representing galaxies and solar systems and their cosmic inhabitants.

Is this possible in either the current version or a future version? I think otherwise the current setup (cones all in a clump restricted to one geo area) can be limiting when you consider the concepts I've made above. May have to design this myself and patent it ;)

I'm a writer, photographer, IT person who travels a great deal (and would like to travel the world), so that's where my ideas are coming from. Interesting that you folks are based in Hong Kong; one of my favorite spots- we lived there for 5 years.
Jul 19 2009 at 5:26am Copy Link
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Roy Grubb Hi Vanessa,

You have obviously put a lot of thought into your comments, thank you. We love to hear our users' thoughts and enter into discussion with them.

Zooming: I'm glad you thing Topicscape's Quickzoom is cool, but that was not the key design goal! What we were looking for was a way of viewing an entire massive map, but being able to examine any part in detail instantly. Quickzoom allows you to do that, and stay zoomed if it's what you want, or zoom back if not. Speed of examination of the map is crucial to efficient handling, and 2D programs are inevitably clumsy in this.

License: Topicscape's formal license allows all users using one computer to use Topicscape. Informally, we allow purchasers to use Topicscape on two PCs - a laptop and a work desktop for example - provided only one copy is in use at a time.

Maneuvering cones: The position of cones reflects the structure, so no, they cannot be moved around, but in practice this doesn't turn out to be much of a problem. That's because the same cone can appear in as many places in the structure as you wish. This is sometimes called cloning, or multi-parent hierarchy. That means that an idea can be related to several other ideas and appear in several places. Changes to one of those instances affects all the others. This is an immensely powerful way to organize information that 2D mind maps have difficulty matching. In fact, really it's only concept mapping software that can do this in 2D, but there, large maps become unreadable. We, and many other Topicscape users, have maps with thousands of topics.

I understand your point about a geographical layout to match real geography and you make a strong case for it. It's something we will consider, though I see some design problems in implementing it. No user has requested this in the past three years, so it concerns me that the demand for this would be small, compared with the ability to organize information by what-relates-to-what or what-is-part-of-what. We are also considering something similar based on a timeline instead of geography.

One thing that is important to know about Topicscape, is that you can choose any topic to be the 'central' one at any time. Coupled with the multi-parent capability, this means it would be complicated for users to specify how they want information laid out in all the views in which a topic might appear. Simplicity is something we are always striving towards.

However, another feature that we have already partially developed, is '3D favorites' and this may meet your needs. This allows you to repeat any topics in a separate area and move them around freely, grouping them together in little trays that can also be moved. I can't give a date for release of this because we have other priorities, but it is partly working in an alpha version at present.

Cone heights: They are adjustable by a non-published feature, but not individually only by type. What that means is that you can make Current Topic children taller or smaller, for example, but not one specific cone. This is because cone heights were carefully chosen over a long period of experiment to give maximum visibility (in conjunction with Quickzoom), and cone height is one element in communicating the structure to the user.

Roy
3D-Scape Limited - Jul 19 2009 at 3:41pm Copy Link
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Vanessa N Hi Roy,

Thanks very much for your considered reply to my post; it's always good to see developers take input and ideas seriously from their

Cone heights (and being able to adjust them) are not a huge issue for me; I just mentioned it because it is part of what makes your mindmap 3-D (and distinguishes it from others, in addition to the nice colors and smoothness of the GUI).

I was thinking more that I would like more control over my environment, over my landscape/mindmap, so to speak, so if I wanted to shift my ideas (cones) around on, on a sort of planning map/background, that's what it would be used for.

For geo-spatial research (such as with travel/countries, astronomy/solar systems, and other applications I haven't thought of), this makes sense on a realistic level, but again, this wouldn't be just for real-life spatial issues (or made-up ones by game designers and the like).

If brainstorming ideas, for example, some ideas are "outliers" (hence the importance of distance) due to their perceived distance from the main topic. Quite often these outliers often have only one parent anyway, because their nature makes them unusual, such that you question whether they belong to the parent anyway, or the map overall.

So you want to put them aside as a "possibility", as your other subtopics are closer to their parents than the outlier. They are still connected, though, so I should think that merely being able to stretch the connecting line to a much farther point on your 2D landscape shouldn't be too difficult (i.e. click and drag). The 2D landscape (the ground, so to speak), doesn't have to be hugely big either, although that can help.

Then if you decide the idea does fit (or needs its own map), you can move it in closer or remove it (or give it another parent if you decide it doesn't suit the original parent).

I think your forum is unfortunately slow in terms of visits (especially recently, which is puzzling); perhaps you should send an email survey to your registered users and remind them that it exists, but perhaps also send them a survey along with information on what future development plans are, as well as their thoughts on what they may like to see (your current customers)....as well as more marketing to attract others (being on Bits helps). You may be surprised if you were to say, give a list of what's been proposed and what customers have suggested, and see if anyone expresses. I think a forum on your own site would also help; less prone to Google spam (I love Google, but their groups are filled with spammers).

I'm going to pass today and see what future versions of Topic entails (hopefully you'll offer this on Bits again; it's a nice reputable site)....(I also unfortunately forgot to make a payment to my funding source that I usually use for online purchases last night; hence funds are short until the end of the week)

Good luck with Topic and I shall be observing further developments in the software with much interest.

Vanessa
Jul 20 2009 at 8:09am Copy Link
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Roy Grubb Topicscape has Loose Associations as a way of handling outliers.

The activity on our Google Group is affected by our ( perhaps too?) active responses to emails from users. And that probebly results from the little comment form available to users at the foot of every web page on our site. We have continuous and active conversations with many of them, and most start with a comment on one of those forms.

This is actually our fourth excursion on Bits du Jour.

Keep watching!

Thanks for all the comments.

Roy
(follow me on Twitter @roygrubb for mind mapping tips and hints)
3D-Scape Limited - Jul 20 2009 at 5:24pm Copy Link
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Roy Grubb No.

But why inquiring on Bits du Jour site, not Our Google Group or one of the forms on every page of our website at http://www.topicscape.com/?

Roy
3D-Scape Limited - Sep 9 2011 at 12:20am Copy Link
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