With the launch of Apple’s iTunes AppStore, the number of applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch have literally exploded. Not surprisingly, the number of visual mapping applications for this popular platform is also starting to grow.
The latest mind mapping tool for the iPhone is iBlueSky, developed by Tenero Software Limited, and it appears to have achieved a remarkable balance between simplicity and functionality.
Although I haven’t had an opportunity to use it (I don’t own an iPhone – yet!), the developer has conveniently launched a video of iBlueSky in action on YouTube that provides a great overview of what this diminutive map app can do.
The user interface appears to be a masterpiece of simplicity, with only buttons to access your list of maps, add and delete topics, and to access cut, copy, paste, and e-mail commands. It’s designed to preserve as much of the iPhone screen to display your maps.
To add a topic to your map, you simply tap on the topic that you want to start from, and then tap on a “plus” (+) button on the lower part of the screen. A keyboard pops up on screen so you can add the text for your topic. Individual topics can be moved from one location within your map to another using the aforementioned cut/copy/paste commands.
iBlueSky also takes full advantage of the iPhone’s touch capabilities: To scroll around a map, you simply drag your finger across the screen. To zoom in, you use the “pinch” maneuver (in which you move two fingertips closer together). By rotating the iPhone or iPod Touch, you can automatically switch from portrait to landscape display modes; according to the developer, the landscape is preferred, because it makes the buttons on the virtual keyboard easier to use.
One of the biggest shortcomings of MindMaker, another iPhone mapping application that I recently featured in this blog, is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to move your maps off of the iPhone and into a desktop mapping program for further development. iBlueSky addresses this by including the ability to e-mail your maps to anyone in your iPhone contact list. Maps can be exported as PDF or PNG files. While this still doesn’t allow me to open iBlueSky maps in another mapping program, it’s definitely a step in the right direction!
Now that I’ve watched the iBlueSky video, I’m thinking even more seriously about investing in an iPhone!