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Table 5.2 Software options for PSM. Source: Authors’ creation.

From: Participatory Systems Mapping

Option Examples Pros Cons
General purpose diagramming software digarams.net
• Visio
• Concept board
• Miro
• Very easy to use
• This option is most ‘human-readable’
• Maps are easily editable
• Maps are easily shareable
• Layout easy to manipulate manually—that is, to reproduce layout from workshops
• No automated map analysis is possible, analysis can be conducted manually but is time consuming and prone to human error.
• Exporting map data is possible but is often difficult (i.e. least ‘machine-readable’)
• Cost of commercial options, but there are many free and open-source options
Purpose-built software • CECAN’s PRSM
• Kumu
• yED
• Easy to use
• Simple and/or appealing browser interfaces
• Map easily editable
• Some analysis available
• Maps are shareable
• Some advanced functionalities
• Stability of more bespoke and less well-used software can cause issues
• Analysis options are limited, but can be added on request
• Cost of commercial options, but there are many free and open-source options
Network visualisation and analysis software • Gephi
• R and Python packages
• Full range of analysis
• Can automate analysis approach once developed
• Steep learning curve to use
• Shareable as a file, but not possible to work on at same time as others
• Layouts generated rely on algorithms, and manual manipulation is difficult or impossible. Layout will be unfamiliar to stakeholders