It's taken a long time to get from planning to reality, but https://metamaps.cc now has a working import/export feature!
If you aren't familiar with Metamaps, and/or would like an invite code, feel free to reach me on Twitter.
Now, how can you get your grubby paws on some mind map data?
Exporting data from Metamaps:
The latest version, just pushed this week, enables 5 new urls for each map. Take map 1967, for example. Normally you can reach it at https://metamaps.cc/maps/1967. Now you can also export it from any of these five urls:
https://metamaps.cc/maps/1967.csv (redirects to the export view)
https://metamaps.cc/maps/1967.xls (redirects to the export view)
(note: maps/1967.json is another view of a map that doesn't include its topics/synapses, so you can't use this for import/export)
You should be able to do this without even logging in, so go ahead and try it out! Obviously you can't access private maps or topics using this method.
Changing data with Excel:
Now imagine with me for a second. You've just gone to a conference, and fifty or sixty people have been mapping together, building topics and synapses between those topics. There is a lot of knowledge to manage on your map. You can keep using your traditional tools, like filtering out synapses or metacodes. Those have and continue to be quite useful. But now you have another way to process your data - pull it down as Excel, and unleash all of your spreadsheet skills on the data in a more linear form!
There are all kinds of ways to fiddle. You can sort the data to look for patterns. You can filter the data and remove rows directly from the sheet. You can add data. You can remove or change the positioning of the topics on the map (just delete the x and/or y columns altogether!) You can even type in new topics or synapses by hand (although this interface isn't quite as nice as the real thing).
How to import:
Once you're done, hit Ctrl+A to select the entire spreadsheet, and then Ctrl+C to copy the data. Excel stores this data on your clipboard as tab-separated values, so hopefully there are no tab characters in your data! Open up a new map on metamaps, click on a blank spot on the canvas, and hit Ctrl+V to paste your data. A little alert box should tell you how many topics/synapses you're importing, and give you one last chance to cancel. Hit OK, and feel the raw power of your computer put your will into action! I've done this twice today now, and it's an exhilarating experience!
The team building Metamaps has always had a lot of ideas, and not a lot of time to implement them! So this feature is a classic - it gets the job done, and leaves a lot of room for improvement. I hope this feature captures your imagination as much as it has mine! If you do have wild ideas about the future of import/export, feel free to post them at https://github.com/metamaps/metamaps_gen002/issues/510.