Foreign Exchange Kid

Finished a draft of my screenplay, currently titled FOREIGN EXCHANGE KID today. Excited to be done with this summer project! It took a while… It’s based on my real-life experiences as a foreign exchange student in Hungary in 1993/94. A […]

7. Blue is for Water

This may seem obvious. However, sometimes in the heat of a design binge, it’s easy to select blue as a nice, neutral color to use on your base map. Don’t do it! Brains don’t like it. Namely, your map users’ brains. Whether […]

5. Avoid Using 100% Black Text

Type and Text

Given their size, form, and distinct appearance from other map visuals, text demands attention by default. Text boxes in particular will command attention. Rarely do you want all of your text to stand out in the visual hierarchy. Thus, there […]

6. Your Map Projection Must Frame Your Message

Map Layout

Often, we cartographers think of selecting a projection as a boring task. And for good reason! Projection lectures were often the ones you immediately tuned out as an undergrad. Nothing like listening to a disinterested professor drone on about compromise versus […]

4. Map Copy Is All About YOU

Type and Text

My favorite book to read before bed is “Words That Sell.” The title says it all: it’s a book full of word lists to use in different contexts to elicit different feelings and emotions from readers. The idea, of course, is to use […]

3. Shape Your Text Boxes Like Funnels

Type and Text

It’s amazing how simple happenstance can change your thinking forever. One evening in the fall of 2000, I randomly pulled a graphic design book off the shelf at a Barnes & Noble Bookstore in State College, Pennsylvania. I flipped to a page in the […]

2. Don’t Center-Align Your Text

Type and Text

There’s no shame in it. We’ve all made this mistake at some point in our lives. Until someone actually points out that center-aligning more than one line of text  is a horrible design decision, almost everyone believes it’s a surefire method […]

1. Avoid Default Fonts

Type and Text

Though subtle, using unique fonts has a MASSIVE impact on map aesthetic. Imagine if National Geographic only used Arial and Times New Roman on their maps. Would you appreciate the maps differently? Would they be lacking some personality or uniqueness you’ve come […]

Going Down to Cow Town…

I never thought I would be citing the name of an obscure They Might Be Giants song from the Lincoln album in a blog post, but well, I never thought I would be returning to Wisconsin either. I’m ecstatic to […]

It’s all about how you handle Plan B…

Dear Students, Colleagues, and Friends: A little over a year ago my wife and I decided that we were ready for a major change in our lives — some new cultural scenery and a new academic setting. Reading a beautiful job description […]

“Looking at the Big Picture,” Cartographic Perspectives Open Access

Having recently become increasingly disgusted with copyright laws in general and with the extremely capitalist mindset of my mid-Atlantic environs in general, I am thrilled to be able to say that my latest publication is Creative Commons. It’s for everyone. Cartographic Perspectives is the bomb […]

Book Review of “The World at Their Fingertips”

Today my first publication, albeit a small one, under the James Madison University banner came out. My book review of “The World at Their Fingertips” by Geoff Armitage and Ashley Baynton-Williams just came out in Cartographic Perspectives 76. It was a good […]

Rethinking Concepts of Map Form and Style

PowerPoint Slide from Recorded Talk

A week after presenting at NACIS, I finally got around to recording my talk again and posting it to YouTube. The downside? It’s twice as long. (Hey, I was rusty!) However, the missing, “fluff” slides some people were requesting are now […]

#AutoCarto2014 and #Nacis2014 were a blast!

Just returned home from a stellar week in Pittsburgh attending and presenting at both the AutoCarto and NACIS Conferences. I am super stoked to be a cartographer again! The talks were all around excellent at both events. I will be posting […]

On the Road to DeKalb…

Excited to be heading to Northern Illinois University (NIU) tomorrow to give a coffee hour talk in the Department of Geography this Friday! I was supposed to give the talk last January but caught the flu. Thus, I have been popping extra […]

Slate Magazine Article about (Dumb?) Viral Maps

About a month ago I was interviewed by Ben Blatt of Slate about some really “bad” viral maps that have been making the rounds. These maps take the individual states of the US and associate them with random things like leading hair […]