Play : Learn : Sasquatch

I made the above map to learn a few things and have a little fun. You can see the full version here. I made it because I wanted to figure out what to use to rotate markers to a bearing and animate markers along paths generated by an API. I used the TriMet API for Portland’s public transit vehicle locations, which is in beta according to the website. There are categories of markers, paths to follow of varying lengths, and bearings.

…and what if the markers where something like northwest monsters? That would be fun.

For the type of project described above, I try to make learning something new a part of the design. And then assemble the tools for the job.

It is easy to pick your tools first. Either because we are used to them, or they are comfortable, or they are what the cool kids are using, etc. I’m guilty of it too!

So many tweets can be boiled down to “look what I made with ‘x'”. And again, I’m guilty of it too!

I am almost always interested in the first 4 words of that sentence, the “Look what I made…” part. I always want to see what creative and interesting maps and visualizations people come up with.

As soon as you pick your tools, the possible outcomes are limited. But when you design first, without thinking about whether you can do it with tool ‘x’, the possibilities are only limited by imagination.

It is as much a mental exercise as anything. Often clients make certain tools required or a project needs to happen fast. In those cases we all just use our favorite hammer. But when building to learn I will always try to avoid opening my tool box first. I try to come up with something fun to make and then acquire the bits necessary to make it happen.

That said, half the shit I’ve done lately has been using the same tools.

So, the code for the monster map is here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *