Metamaps Manual

Welcome! Here's your guide to exploring, utilizing, and extending the platform.

Go ahead and click on a subject heading in the list on the left, or read on below and click the rightward arrow (>) to proceed to the next section.

What is Metamaps?

Metamaps is an open source, collaborative concept mapping platform for visual sense-making by individuals and collectives. It's also a growing global knowledge commons, where any Metamapper may access ideas, connections, and insights of other users in the system.

The project emerged as a collaborative effort during the years from 2010 to 2012. The initial design came from designer Gavin Keech, architect Ishan Shapiro, and web developer Connor Turland. Other peers and projects provided input and inspiration, drawing from the fields of computational cognition, collective intelligence, systems thinking, transmedia, and human-computer interaction.

The platform is currently in an extended invitational beta as new features are being tested and our 'early adopter' user community gains steam. We welcome your participation on every level!

How Metamaps Works

Anyone can view public maps and topics on the platform, however you'll need to register a user account in order to create or edit maps.

  • Create a map to start mapping out ideas
  • Invite others to collaborate with you
  • Have face to face video conversations and harvest ideas
  • Discover the existing knowledge within Metamaps, and build on it
  • Make and discover connections between people, ideas, and more


Maps are graph-based collections of topics and synapses, in many shapes and sizes. Maps are the central feature of the platform, where you can visualize and work with interconnected concepts and content.

Topics are points (aka “nodes”) of information or content on a metamap. Topics can have a title, a description, and metadata, including a metacode symbol and a URL link.

Metacodes are visual representations of the type or category of each topic, using iconography. Metacodes consist of a graphic image (icon), with an associated label (e.g. “action”) that shows up when you go to select or change the metacode setting.

Synapses: Relationship between two topics are represented by lines on a map which may have a description and directionality.

Permissions: Permission settings are a way to choose who may view and edit your topics, synapses and maps throughout the site.

Getting Involved

We value and welcome contributions in many forms. Thanks for your interest!

One of the easiest and best things you can do is to keep on mapping your ideas into the knowledge commons on the platform.

If you're a developer interested in advancing the technology, contact us and take a look around our Github. Designers and others with professional skills can get in touch about opportunities for freelance collaboration.

Financial contributions are greatly appreciated in support of our work, and can be made via Flattr. All financial contributions are transparently recorded in our value accounting system, and allocated towards reaching targets on our public roadmap.

Groups or organizations interested in funding development of specific features or custom implementations are encouraged to contact us about possibilities for partnership at

Where can I find the project's collaboration spaces?

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