About me

From map design and remote sensing to motion graphics and 3D composites, I have more than a decade of experience creating award-winning visualizations.

I am passionate about combining insightful analysis with clean, clear visualizations to communicate about our dynamic planet.

I am currently the lead for data visualization and cartographic quality at NASA’s Earth Observatory. You can read more about my role at NASA in a recent interview.

Before joining NASA I was an NSF IGERT PhD fellow in Big Data Social Science and Geography at The Pennsylvania State University.

At Penn State I researched cartography and geovisual analytics with an emphasis on human-computer interaction, interactive affordances, and big data. My work focused on new forms of map interaction made possible by well constructed visual cues.

During this time I held joint research assistantships in Penn State’s GeoVISTA Center and Media Effects Lab. At the GeoVISTA Center I researched and designed map symbology for mobile devices. I also helped develop and design the Symbol Store, an online repository for finding and downloading map symbols. My research in the Media Effects Lab made use of social media and visual analytics to reveal the connections between user interaction and emotion.

Prior to my work at Penn State, I received a B.S in GIScience and a master’s in Geography with Dr. Kirk Goldsberry at Michigan State University. My master’s thesis was on traffic map design and methods for improving travel time visualization. You can read about some of the findings here.

In my spare time I help run things on DataIsBeautiful and volunteer as a panelist for AskScience—mostly answering scientific questions related to cartography, spatial reasoning, and geography.

Aside from geography and maps I enjoy photography, fishing local streams, geocaching, and anything that gets me outdoors.

Background

PhD (ABD), Penn State University 2011-2015
Geography
NSF IGERT Fellow in Big Data Social Science
Dissertation: Cues and Affordances in Cartographic Interaction

MS, Michigan State University 2009-2011
Geography
Thesis: Alternative Segmentation Schemes for the Design of Traffic Maps

BS, Michigan State University 2006-2009
Geographic Information Science

Expertise
Domains
  • Cartography, design, color perception, spatial reasoning, human-computer interaction, and user experience
  • GISci/GIS and remote sensing
  • Spatial analysis, statistics, and scientific data processing
  • Data-driven journalism, scientific communication, and outreach
Tools
  • ArcGIS, QGIS, GDAL, GRASS, and SAGA
  • Python, R, Javascript, HTML/CSS, and Bash
  • After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Blender