Monday, October 10, 2011

My maps are now helping to define GIS

At least, the California Map Society is using two images of my maps to help them define the term GIS (URL: I created these maps back when I worked for MTC, and submitted them to ESRI for use in their Map Gallery. Somebody found them at the California Map Society page, and emailed me with a question about how I made them... which is a refreshing reminder that cartography does matter, and once upon a time, I did a lot of it.

An interesting side note is that these maps represented for me the first result of my dabblings in "psychaedelic geography", or the use of non-traditional colors and methods to depict GIS data on maps. The purpose of psychaedelic geography was foremost to make maps that looked more interesting and less boring, which was intended to have consequential side effects of getting people to pay more attention to the data represented on the map. Looks like it worked!

In the three years since I came over to Calthorpe Associates, I have been doing a lot more work behind the scenes, that is, work involving databases, project coordination, public relations, client relations, spreadsheets... in short, everything but cartography. Maybe, thanks to this reminder and the changing demands of the project, I will start to do more cartography soon...

Friday, September 09, 2011

Obama's speech tonight hit it out of the park.

He did an excellent job articulating his messages, he showed emotion, and he did effective combat against a lot of the anti-intellectual ideas that the opposition has been throwing up recently.

I predict that his new for-the-people offense will prove successful in passing the jobs for america act. The question is, did he write enough oomph into it to provide an effective-enough boost to the economy to ensure his re-election? I'm curious to hear Paul Krugman's analysis of what the macroeconomic effect of this bill is likely to be...

Still, I suppose that the bottom line with regard to Obama's reelection will involve many more variables than just the degree of success of this bill.

For instance, the surface transportation reauthorization bill will be another upcoming opportunity to inject massive amounts of funding into capital infrastructure improvements, which have large job-creating capabilities... This will be thus another good opportunity for Obama to exert leadership and use the bully pulpit to fight for large expenditures on transit and bike/ped, which are proven to generate large numbers of relative jobs per dollar spent.

So, here's to hoping that Obama's new fighting spirit will hold, prove effective and be put to good use!

Friday, March 11, 2011

YouChooseBayArea website launched

One of the projects that I've been working on over the past year, Envision Bay Area, has now produced a product, the YouChooseBayArea website, which allows users to play with different policy choices to produce a future scenario for growth in the region, and then see the results of these choices. It's all done up in an easy-to-use manner, with well-written text describing the implications of the choices and the collateral benefits (or damage) resulting. Metrics measured include fiscal impact, public health, GHG emissions, travel behavior, building energy and water consumption, and others.

The scenarios were run through the Rapid Fire model that I was instrumental in the process of building here at Calthorpe Associates. This model produced all of the quantitative results that you see on the website. This is the model that has also been used to produce the initial Results Report for the Vision California project.

Go check out the website. Let me know what you think!