My Bad Interview

It was 2004. I was wrapping up a masters degree in “GeoScience” at Central Michigan University. Married, and with a young son, I wanted badly to lock something, anything, down before graduation. I had a faint but growing sense of urgency, having heard nothing back from the hordes of resumes and applications that I’d been sending … Continue reading My Bad Interview

Ghost Labels

Blending-Mode Label Coloring Last winter, I was experimenting with applying blending modes to label text, as a way of annotating a map without a heavy-handed solid fill or double stroke. I wanted the labels to recede when looking at the map as a whole, but then appear if the eye stopped for a closer look. Labels … Continue reading Ghost Labels

Misty Mountains

Recently, I was tinkering with ways of creating the illusion of depth for mapping water. The gist is that you can use increasing opacity in deeper areas to get the effect of diffused light and reduced visibility. Like in real life. But there is no reason you have to go restricting your shenanigans to ocean environments. … Continue reading Misty Mountains


I love binning things up into hexagons. So much cooler looking than image heatmaps, and you can interact with them. More complex than squares, so you get some geometric variability in your surface, but just compact enough so that the shape isn’t distracting. Plus, nature loves the hexagon, so we are wired to admire it. Why fight … Continue reading Hexperiment is a color resource for designers, developers, or the just plain curious. Jinnan Zhang and I have been tinkering with an idea for making word-derived color palettes by sampling colors from mashed up photos. By searching tagged images, then melting them into a single impressionistic image, you can squeeze out a color palette that … Continue reading