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Wanted: Map Builders

Are you an expert? Want to share your expertise? Want cutting-edge software, for free (a $1999.99 value!), just for sharing your expertise?

Dekstrus is looking for map builders, and we want to give you a unique knowledge mapping and modeling tool - the DNE - to use. The DNE is a combination knowledge management and modeling solution that lets you manage and present your knowledge visually. It is a powerful piece of software, and we want to give it to you, for free.

How powerful, you ask? Click here to find out Check out this list of features.

The only catch is this: we want you to share the maps you build with us. Give us four high-quality maps over the next six months and you can keep the DNE with our thanks.

What is a map? Maps can be roughly divided into two types: maps of what you know (knowledge maps), and maps of what you should do (models). We like both kinds.

Knowledge Maps

A knowledge map presents research. It combines the best of a research paper, book or encyclopedia article with the best of an internet search.

Like a paper, a map is well-organized. Everything is in its place, you can't lose your spot, and there is a quality-control mechanism in place. The content is fixed and determined by you, the map builder, so you are in a position to ensure that every step your readers take is a good one. On a well-built map readers aren't going to end up clicking their way through uncharted links into random pieces of misinformation.

Like an internet search, the reader can follow the directions that interest them. They can explore tangents, go in multiple directions, or follow one path for a while then go back and follow another. Knowledge maps harness the freedom that the internet offers without falling victim to its haphazard nature: because you, the map builder, are in control of what appears on the map - not only new information written specifically for the map but also all the links to existing information - you can make sure that all the available paths, and everything on them, are relevant, important and accurate.


A model guides you in completing a process of some sort. The process can be simple ("Recipe to cook the perfect spaghetti a la bolognese"), somewhat complicated ("How to write an academic essay") or very complicated ("How to complete your business taxes"). The model is a step-by-step guide to completing the process, laid out visually. Models can be made to any level of detail (the "Dummies model for completing business taxes" will look a lot different from the "Certified Accountant's model for completing business taxes", even though the task - completing business taxes - is pretty much the same). The model clearly documents what different options are available and what the implications are for each choice. Because the model is laid out visually (unlike a list of instructions) it is easy for the reader to grasp what they are doing and what they should be doing next.

The Deal

We want four high-quality maps within six months. Do that and you can keep the DNE with our thanks. You can pick whatever topics interest you, but we reserve the right to reject any map on any grounds, including but not limited to quality, legality or community standards. Nobody wants a "How to make crystal meth in your bathtub" map. Well, maybe they do want it, but we aren't going to publish it. All maps will be reviewed, but in most cases accepted maps will not be edited. You're the expert, not us - we just want to make sure the maps on our site maintain a consistently high quality.

We want maps people will use, so we want maps for things people actually do. Are you a stock broker? Show us how to improve our portfolio. Are you an art historian? Show us how impressionism came about. Are you a golf pro? Show us how to shave 5 strokes off our game.

While there are no absolute standards regarding size, content or topic, an acceptable map must be valuable. This can include (but is not limited to):
  • Original research
  • Improved organization/navigation of existing knowledge
  • Simplified or easy to follow instructions for completing tasks
Maps can include any information that can be stored digitally. This includes:
  • Any original work you've done in any format recognized by Windows
  • Multimedia (images, audio and video)
  • Web pages
  • Any other files in any format
  • plus, meta-data on anything you want
Obviously, all maps published on our site have to respect copyrights. Links to publicly accessible web sites are probably going to be okay, because the map will just open your reader's browser to the linked web page, but copying the content from a web page and putting it in a separate file might be an infringement. A note on multimedia: maps on the site are downloaded and hosted locally by users who run the DNEMaps map reader. Keep in mind that users may not want to download a map that is too large.

The Fine Print

  • You must submit a total of four maps in six months, at the rate of one map every 45 days
  • All submitted maps have to be approved by Dekstrus
  • Maps must maintain high quality. We aren't ogres about this; we just want our site to provide good quality information. Which is to say that we have editors who must approve every map before we publish it, but we want to publish every good map we get.
  • Maps can be rejected for any reason, including, but not limited to, quality, accuracy, community standards, and legal issues
  • Maps must not infringe copyrights (it is assumed that links to other web sites does not constitute copyright infringement)
  • Maps submitted can be freely downloaded by anyone
  • If you publish a map here, you can also publish it elsewhere (for instance, on your own blog), however, you must acknowledge use of the Dekstrus tool and link to our site
  • Authors are responsible for maintaining maps (correcting reported dead links, etc.) for one year.

There is never any commitment - if you decide at any time that you do not want to complete the program, just let the authoring license lapse.
System Requirements:
  • Microsoft® Windows 2000 or XP only

Hardware Minimum Requirements.
  • Pentium IV
  • 256 MB Ram
  • 1024 x 768 screen resolution
  • Sound card
  • 20 Gigabyte hard drive
  • 16 MB graphics card

  • Pentium V 1.5 GHz
  • 1024 MB Ram
  • Screen Resolution of 2048x768 (dual monitor)
  • 32 MB Graphics Card

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