Shoe Treads

In December our team was allowed two weeks to pursue a “passion project”. It didn’t have be work-related, just something you truly wanted to work on. I chose to design tread patterns on the soles of shoes.

I had never given a thought about shoe treads until, a week earlier, a woman on the NodeBox forum asked for help creating organic shoe patterns. I asked her to elaborate on what she meant by “organic” and (more...)


In this post I will simultaneously have Fun With Data and Fun With Maps. I will use public APIs to turn my Isle of Alameda into a “choropleth“, a map which displays areas that are colored or patterned in relation to data.

To do this I will need to find boundaries within Alameda that I can associate with data of some kind. For this I turn to the ultimate source of geographical data (more...)

The Isle of Alameda

The best way to learn how to make your own maps is to map someplace familiar. The place I live, Alameda, is an island in the San Francisco Bay, but existing maps don’t do it justice.

So as part of my Fun With Maps project I set out to disentangle Alameda from the urban sprawl that surrounds it and, using open source data, make a cleaner map that captures the windblown isolation of a real (more...)

Fun With Maps

Maps are one of the oldest and most powerful forms of visualization. Lately I’ve been learning how to make my own maps using open source data and public APIs.

I started by simply plotting locations on a world map. World maps in svg format are readily available on the web. Wikimedia Commons, for example, has free maps in a variety of formats. The simplest is an equirectangular projection.

It’s dirt simple to plot locations on (more...)