Understanding, manipulating and searching hand-drawn concept maps

Yingying Jiang, Feng Tian, Xiaolong Zhang, Guozhong Dai, Hongan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Concept maps are an important tool to organize, represent, and share knowledge. Building a concept map involves creating text-based concepts and specifying their relationships with line-based links. Current concept map tools usually impose specific task structures for text and link construction, and may increase cognitive burden to generate and interact with concept maps. While pen-based devices (e.g., tablet PCs) offer users more freedom in drawing concept maps with a pen or stylus more naturally, the support for hand-drawn concept map creation and manipulation is still limited, largely due to the lack of methods to recognize the components and structures of hand-drawn concept maps. This article proposes a method to understand hand-drawn concept maps. Our algorithm can extract node blocks, or concept blocks, and link blocks of a hand-drawn concept map by combining dynamic programming and graph partitioning, recognize the text content of each concept node, and build a concept-map structure by relating concepts and links. We also design an algorithm for concept map retrieval based on hand-drawn queries. With our algorithms, we introduce structure-based intelligent manipulation techniques and ink-based retrieval techniques to support the management and modification of hand-drawn concept maps. Results from our evaluation study show high structure recognition accuracy in real time of our method, and good usability of intelligent manipulation and retrieval techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11
JournalACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Artificial Intelligence


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