How big can a map get?

Does anyone have any comments on issues working with "large maps"—however that may be defined?

From a technical perspective, I guess there may be a limit to the number of different elements that can be included in a single map.

But from a usability perspective, does anyone have any guidance? I'm working with a map that has 55 elements (counting individual premises as one) and finding it a hassle because it's so wide.


6 years ago

From what I can see in an argument map on your blog you found the option of (un-) folding branches of a map. You can make (parts of) branches even smaller by clicking on the little circle in the right corner of a box. This is about how to present an argument map.

Something different is when you want to change the number of reasons/objections itself in an argument map.. A rule of thumb is that a group of arguments should have at the most 5-6 distinct arguments.

When more, you will probably see arguments that most likely belong to a lower level, or that belong to a higher level or there is a missing layer of abstraction. The solution here is to reformulate the 'small' arguments to make them as abstract as the others in the group, or move them to lower levels of the argument map and/or insert a missing level of abstraction in the argument.

Please check Tutorial Argument Mapping, Set 6: Macrostucture for some information on the rules how to (re-) group different arguments in a complex map. And here an example.

by timo
6 years ago

Thanks, Timo.

  1. You didn't comment on the technical limit to map size. Is this something so big, we don't need to worry? :)

  2. The rule of thumb for 5/6 arguments per level is interesting. I will add it to my guidance notes.


6 years ago

No technical limits within the Rationale editor itself; the limits to map size will be produced by the speed of your computer (processor/memory) and of your browser.

by timo
6 years ago

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