Legible Zoom Out

I’m making huge concept maps in Scrivener, which work well when you’re zoomed in close enough to read all the specific text. But I wish that the interface would stay legible when I zoom out.

It is legible when there are <10 nodes on the screen.
It doesn’t stay legible when all of my hundreds of nodes still stay on the screen when I zoom out.

Would be cool if Scrivener could, like google maps, have a simple algorithm to choose the representative nodes to blow up when you’re zoomed out, and hide all the others. The effect would be that only <10 nodes are on the screen at any given time, meaning that, at any zoom level, you could get a sense of the biggest topics you were discussing.

Sort of like Google Earth for ideas. I really want this—might build a concept mapping tool that does this if Scrivener / others aren’t able to provide.

Just to clarify, what are you using in Scrivener to do this, as it does not have any features that would naturally express a concept map? I suppose there is the freeform corkboard mode, but it doesn’t really zoom so much as change the card size.

It sounds more like you are describing Scapple.

I agree that this use case is specific (and common) enough to recommend you search around for some specialty software made for that niche. I know I have seen the base code /interface of GMaps used in a fictional project before, but I don’t know if the time/effort equation is there for you.

Another possibility aside from the zoom map I’ve seen used is chunk maps.
Like each level / country / region in a fantasy game gets its own “zoomed” map, while the overworld uses a different, less detailed map.
It might be easier on your creative process to focus on one region at a time, leaving the union of the pieces to a second step so you don’t have to shuffle the entire world w/ each change.

GL w/ your project!