Category Archives: design

Citrus inspiration for cartographers

New challenges for the projection-minded. What new types of distortion can be created with these?

The Art of Ornamental Orange Peeling, circa 1905

braids and twists

braids and twists

Winter Snow Landscape Art

Check out these snow patterns.  This takes a LOT of planning and significant capacitsnow-4y for spatial visualization in the process!  Especially interesting how only with the curve of the road in the lower right do you have any sense of scale.

h/t to Nag on the Lake.

an idea worth supporting: an innovative, well-designed, and community-sourced Food Atlas

New to me: the current project being undertaken by “guerrilla cartographers” to create a food atlas. I love the premise, I love the process, and I know I’ll like the product. Go mappers!

stunning earth science designs in fabric

From my favorite fabric store, Spoonflower, check out the winners of the earth science contest.  Can’t wait to quilt with some of these!


Connecting spatial thinking and clever thinking – big ideas need space

It’s hard to be creative without some space to explore your ideas, literally or at least figuratively.  Metaphorically too. Why is it so hard to make this happen in our lives, consistently and in a celebrated manner?

H/t to GreatMap, one of my favorite blogs, ever.

new discovery: Jerry’s map, all 50 years and 2500 plates

I’m sorry I can’t find the first link that directed me to this, but today I took a look at a site I’d tagged to revisit, Jerry’s Map.  I’m loving it. Only map-making, geodesign-inspired, cartographically-motivated, color-exhilarated people might watch all 10+ minutes of his story, on video. Me?  I’m going to watch it again.

I love how he lets the cards direct his movements, and how he’s realized how the combinations from non-adjacent tiles are just as beautiful as art, and how he manages to find his balance between following spatially-autocorrelated rules and taking artistic liberties.

marvelous French human kaleidoscope patterns

I *love* kaleidoscopes. I remember spending hours lying on my back and twisting them over my head, towards a sunny window.  Here is an awesome “human” version, done by some clever French folks, definitely thinking spatially!  I’d not have called it an arabesque, thinking only of the ballet position, but seems the word is much broader in its design sense.  Learn something new every day!

Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit.

h/t to Geography Education.

seeing urban patterns over New York

Once you have the habit of mind, you notice patterns everywhere.  Spatial thinking by photographers over New York, duly noted as City Geometry (link to NYT slide show).

airplane patterns into carpet

Turn your airplane views into flooring.  Lovely “land carpet” patterns on these designs from Florian Pucher.  I love the way he’s using satellite images as inspiration. I’m sold.

finding and learning through patterns

One way that spatial literacy is cultivated is the habit of observing (noting, identifying, recognizing) patterns.  Once that starts happening, they become your frames of reference.  They’re images that your mind draws upon as it makes inferences and organizes information.  Pattern, process, pattern, process.

Most geographers I know chose window seats in airplanes, even the geographers with long legs or small bladders.  Then Google Earth (and its fellow virtual globes) brought the visual exploratory experience to our desktops.  If you find yourself stuck with neither the internet nor an airplane, I highly recommend Bernhard Edmaier’s Patterns of the Earth, and Philip Ball’s Branches and Flow and Shapes. I also like to look through Gregory Dicum’s Window Seat, but I’ve never really used it while I’m flying.  I guess you could build a virtual globe lesson with it too.

Speaking of virtual globe lessons, check out Scott Wilkerson’s DELUGE project, one of the best collections of geologically-focused kml files I’ve ever come across.  He did a brilliant job of gathering and georeferencing topo maps to support 3D- and spatially-based learning.

Anyone know of other such books and resources?