The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Mental Maps

Without opening your eyes, you can probably point to where a lamp is in your bedroom or the phone in your office. This is because, from the perspective of where you are, you know where the other things are that you're used to seeing or using each day. You can expand this relationship between yourself and other objects outside a single room.

For example, you may know that if you leave your home and take the next two rights and then a left, you'll arrive at your favorite pizza place. In this type of geographical example, you are the center of the universe. Everything is seen from your perspective.

What Is a Mental Map?

A mental map is one that a person creates to show where objects and places are in relation to the person's position. You can have multiple people create mental maps of the same places, and you'll notice differences between each mental map. This is because everyone sees their surroundings a little different from everyone else.

What Is a Mental Map?

You typically create a mental map to define a person's area of interaction. For instance, you might ask an employee to make a map that reflects the places they go during the workday, such as the warehouse, a manager's office, the break room, restrooms, and other places. This helps you see how the person views themselves in relation to their surroundings.

Mental Map Examples

You can also create mental maps for places that you have never been to. To create this type of mental map, you use information that you know or think that you know about a particular place. So why would need a mental map?

A mental map can help you determine how a person sees a particular area and how they interact with things inside that space. Once you have this information, you can use it to improve their performance or find ways to streamline their jobs. You can also use this information to see how the person views their surroundings.

How to Make a Mental Map

Since a mental map is from your own perspective, it should be easy for you to create one. Of course, it becomes harder to create a mental map of a place, area, or region you've been to before. However, in this case, you rely on your imagination and the information you have on the area to create the mental map.

As a first step to creating a mental map, you need to define the area the map represents. Whether it's a company office or a college campus, the space that you're going to map is important.

Mental Map Software

Yes, you can use a software program to create a mental map. However, you probably can't do the job well with your document or spreadsheet software. These programs aren't designed to let your imagination expanded. You're limited as to where you can place items, and you can't add symbols to the map, including buildings, roads, chairs, beds, or any other items that you use to identify a location or area.

Get Started Fast with Templates!

MindManager comes pre-installed with many templates for you to choose from. To use these templates:

  1. Open MindManager
  2. Click NEW in the navigation menu
  3. Select the template you want to use
  4. A preview screen will appear. Check to if you want to use your selected template
  5. Select Create Map
  6. Customize the template for your specific project

Other Types of Maps and Charts


A mind map is a visual representation of how you see yourself in relation to an area or location. A mind map can be used to define a location you spend a lot of time or one that you've never even visited. When you ask multiple people to design mental maps of the same area, it isn't unusual to have maps that are very different from one another.