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Jun 18, 2015

Announcing 2015 Creative Code Fellows

by Beth

After a very successful first year, the Creative Code Fellowships are back! We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Joseph Burg, Jill Hubley, Lindsay Irving, Andrew Kleindolph, Elaine Laguerta, Steve Pepple, and Carlo Urmy to our studio for the summer.

2015 fellows, from left: Lindsay Irving, Andrew Kleindolph, Jill Hubley, Carlo Urmy, Elaine Laguerta & Steve Pepple. Not shown: Joseph Burg

The projects that these fellows will be doing cover a wide range of data sets and ideas, but a strong theme of working with environmental data seems clear. The results may be installations, maps, fabric, art, or something else. We can’t wait to see what they make!

We’re also excited to be partnering with a wide range people this summer for these fellowships. Gray Area is providing space at the Grand Theater, as well as co-mentorship and a summer of creative coding classes. Britelite Immersive, Presence and Obscura Digital have offered financial support along with Stamen, and we have support through a variety of resource partners including the Exploratorium, UC Berkeley, Harvard, and SFMOMA.

Welcome fellows!

Nov 19, 2014

A Blueprint for Global Water Security: Visualizing Urban Watersheds for The Nature Conservancy

by Beth and Dan

Few things are more vital to a city than safe, accessible fresh water. More than 20% of the world’s population lives in areas where access to clean, fresh water is challenging. It’s obvious: Healthy cities need reliable clean water to thrive.

But how do we achieve that critical goal of safe, secure water supplies for hundreds of cities all over the world?

The Nature Conservancy, working with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the International Water Association, has the answer: Conservation strategies could benefit more than 700 million people in the world’s 100 largest cities—one out of 10 people on the planet.

A rich, new dataset created by Nature Conservancy scientists – and visualized by us – illustrates this opportunity, for more than 500 cities worldwide. In many cases, solutions are very manageable, making cities’ water systems safer and more secure while also benefitting wildlife and ecosystems. The dataset breaks down the water data metrics by quality:

..and by quantity:

It also covers the nature-based solutions cities could use to make their water systems safer and more secure, including best practices for agriculture, riparian restoration, forest protection, reforestation, and forest fuel reduction. These actions help to conserve water while benefitting wildlife and ecosystems in the process.

TNC brings incredible depth of knowledge to the work, and asked Stamen to help find a way to make their data approachable, engaging and navigable for city managers, mayors, water managers, and residents in cities around the world. The data itself covers 25 different variables for 535 cities, and those cities contain 1,840 “diversions” — watersheds, desalination plants, groundwater withdrawal points — and each of those has nine or 10 data points. If you’re following along at home, that’s 13,375 city data points and 18,000 watershed data points. It’s a lot for experts to manage, not to mention civilians!

The goal, of course, wasn’t to drown people in all that data, but rather to reveal the most interesting and relevant information at the right time. The team at the Nature Conservancy selected 25 cities to highlight with narratives and images that highlight the story they wanted to tell — that conservation works for people and nature — and our map and page designs showcase that message.

Once you find yourself on a city page, in Jakarta, for example, you can take in the whole sweep of that city’s water situation with a few simple charts and color-coded ratings. At a glance, you see that much of Jakarta’s water comes from afar, and that its overall water supply is very stressed.

You might also easily see how neighboring cities – like Oakland and San Francisco, sometimes have very different water supplies and, consequenly, water challenges. In particular, San Francisco’s water quantity is stressed while Oakland’s is not.

In the end, protecting an upstream watershed from deforestation can improve water quality as much or more than installing an expensive treatment plant. This has significant impact on the bottom line, and New York City’s story is a perfect illustration. In the 90’s the city was tasked to meet state and federal regulations to comply with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. One option on the table was to create a water treatment plan to the tune of $8-10 billion, not including annual operating and maintenance costs. The option they went with instead was protecting the city’s forested watershed, which cost $1.5 billion and has yielded some of the best drinking water in the world.

San Diego's approach is a different one: paying farmers to implement conservation measures so the water they save can then be used in the city.

All in all, TNC estimates that the water utilities surveyed could save nearly a billion dollars a year by investing in watershed conservation. For more on the economic impact of water conservation, download the full report at the bottom of the opening page.

This map is the culmination of years of work by TNC scientists. We are honored and delighted to have been able to work with them to represent their important work in a clear and accurate way. The Urban Water Blueprint is also designed to explore and share, so that people around the world can understand and talk about the water challenges faced by their cities. Most importantly, like TNC, we hope to see city leaders take action to protect water for people and nature.

Less doom and gloom, fewer dollars spent! There’s no reason not to conserve.

Get the Urban Water Blueprint for your city.

Nov 7, 2014

Notes from 2. Istanbul Tasarim Bienali – Istanbul's Second Design Biennial

by Beth

Greetings from Berlin. Earlier this week I was in Turkey, where I'd spent the last week coordinating the install of our curation, Mapmaker Manifesto.

The second Istanbul Design Biennial opened to the public on November 1. Produced by iKSV, one of Istanbul's, if not Turkey's, largest arts foundations, the event worked with over 50 artists, designers and artist/designers who each produced a manifesto under the timely theme of The Future is Not What it Used to Be.

The room for our curation within a curation in is a funny, narrow one, with paneling up to my ribcage topped by nearly 17'x12' of white wall on either side. The other two walls are home to a large window overlooking an abandoned building on one side and the entry way (with another window looking into the room) on the other.

The room has received an overwhelmingly positive response from curators, mapmakers, designers and artists who have visited it (as well as a mention in Design Boom, featuring The Refugee Project by Ekene Ijeoma and Hyperact.) I had multiple people tell me that it was their favorite room in the entire exhibition, even though the installation was not complete for opening weekend. The manifesto itself was not installed until Sunday evening, and the website (which is the guide to the room) is being added this week.

Designing inherently comes with a healthy dose of perfectionism, of course the incompletion caused me anxiety and stress. But then I remembered that manifestos (and exhibitions, for that matter) are idealistic in nature and messy in practice. The Mapmaker Manifesto is no exception. The manifesto calls for maps of all kinds as a kind of data collection process, to see if there is any universality that reveals itself through multiple representations of You Are Here. Data will save the world, right? If we can just see the things that are wrong, then we'll fix them, of course. We'll make a future together, if we can just agree on what the map says.

Of course, we know this isn't true. As Becky Cooper points out in Mapping Manhattan (which was included in the exhibition) maps are by no means objective, and in fact the contrary is true. Not only are maps subjective, they can sometimes be downright wrong. The false location of the Greek School (the Biennial site) in Google Maps reminded many of us foreigners of this fact. Joseph Dana from Monocle took out the pen and paper to route the actual location of another site for one of his colleagues, warning her against using the tool.

We call out the subjectivity of maps in our curation, which is, in and of itself, a very subjective map of maps. I had the great pleasure of speaking about this during a Designers in Dialogue session with Helen Maria Nugent, moderated by SAIC student and curatorial assistant Denise Bennett. Helen’s project maps the look of love using eye tracking technology, and then manifests them as objects made with the materials of anniversaries, such as paper and silver. Denise paired us together so that we could talk about the expansiveness of mapmaking and types of maps.

The biennial itself had countless maps hidden inside of it. I did my best to hunt for them all. Here is one about the 6th extinction, by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg:

And another one from Repair Society:

And another one from Occupy Gezi Architecture:

While I was busy talking about maps and tending to the still-in-construction room, Becky Cooper was on a mission throughout Istanbul. As part of the Mapmaker Manifesto, Becky walked the city with a translator, and documenter, and a whole lot of maps for her Mapping Istanbul project. This project, along with our online curation, will be happening throughout the Biennial, and perhaps beyond it. During her walks, she spoke with over 100 people, and even helped a blind man to map his memories as she described them to her. The hope is to collect enough of these maps and stories to make another book.

One of the most exciting diversions was seeing the map collection of iKSV’s editorial manager, Kerim Bayer. Over the past 7 years, he has been collecting maps, most of them from 1850–1950. During a break, we rode his motorcycle up to the top of one of Istanbul’s many hills to his office, where he has nearly 1000 maps! Here is a small sampling:

Kerim is an aspiring mapmaker himself. In speaking with him, it seems there are very few mapmakers in Istanbul (or at least few that he knows). He also pointed out that the OpenStreetMap data in the area is sparse, making it hard to work with. My hope is to keep in touch with him, and perhaps there is an opportunity for a Maptime in Istanbul, with enough people. Design is beginning to take off in Istanbul, and perhaps a community of map designers and data visualizers will come with that shift.

Things change all the time, of course, but there was an overwhelming sense among many of the artists and designers present that we are at an apex of sorts. Istanbul itself exists in a brackish water between old and new. Perhaps this has always been the case in a city that spans two continents, has had multiple names, and carries with it the weight of thousands of years of history. Taking over an old Greek school with futurist design ideas seemed in and of itself fitting for this year’s Biennial. The future-facing works within the exhibition created a brackish water of its own between art and design, modernism and postmodernism, science fiction and science fact. It can be quite overwhelming.

Our little room of maps captures this feeling, and like everything else in the exhibition, will before we know it be gone. The documentation, including the maps themselves, will be all that remain.


Visit the Mapmaker Manifesto site and see more photos on Flickr

Oct 3, 2014

Maps -> Istanbul: Announcing Maps and Mappers for the Mapmaker Manifesto Curation

by Beth

This year, the Istanbul Design Biennial has chosen the theme The Future is Not What it Used To Be. When they opened the call for participation back in January, they asked for manifestos of any form – words, videos, artworks, anything that spoke to this theme. So the Mapmaker Manifesto was born. This manifesto demands that we look at the data around us in an honest and critical way. With this information, we may choose a direction towards our future and find a healthy, sustainable way to get there.

It all starts with determining a collective you are here – but what is that? Is it cohesive? Disjointed? Funny? Sad? The works we have selected, put together, begin to paint a picture of the very tip of this iceberg. The content ranges from meditative walks to informal bus systems, with media from paper and paint to vectors and video. It's messy. It's overwhelming. And it's absolutely beautiful.

Without further ado, Stamen is pleased to announce the artists and works we’ve selected for the Mapmaker Manifesto curation.

Aaron Reiss // New York’s Shadow Transportation System
Alan McConchie // OpenStreetMap: Every Line Ever
Becky Cooper // Mapping Manhattan & Mapping Istanbul
Benedikt Groß &  Bertrand Clerc // Metrography
Bert Spaan // All 9,866,539 buildings in the Netherlands
Casey Cripe // San Francisco v.1.3
Ekene Ijeoma & Hyperakt // The Refugee Project
Jake Richardson // myPDX
Jay White // Vancouver
Joseph Lee & Benedikt Groß // The Big Atlas of LA Pools
Julia Griehl, Patrick Stotz & Achim Tack // The Limited Accessibility of Public Transport
Lize Mogel, Alexis Bhagat, Natasha Jen // Sharjah CityMap
Martin Pulicar // The (In)Visible Night Sky
Natalie Jeremijenko // Phenology Clock
Ross Kelly // Quasi Political Map
Sarah Williams and Wenfei Xu of the Civic Data Design Lab at MIT // Digital Matatus
Sarah Nordean // Walking Loops
Wendy Brawer & Isabelle Duvivier of Green Map System // Green Maps from Around the World

Once we’re done with all of the details necessary to put together the physical space full of the works above, we’ll be working on a digital space as well. Look for more information about this online portion of the curation, coming soon!

In the meantime, many thanks to these artists for working quickly within a very short turnaround. We are delighted to work with all of you and look forward to showing your maps in Istanbul from Nov. 1 – Dec. 14. Many thanks also to all the artists and designers who sent in their maps. It has been a joy to go through all of them, and a challenge to choose the above list.

Onwards to Istanbul!

Learn more about the 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial!

Image credits, from left to right: Alan McConchie & OpenStreetMap contributors, Aaron Reiss, Natalie Jeremijenko, Sarah Nordean (photo: Minttumaari Mäntynen), Jay White, Benedikt Groß & Bertrand Clerc, Ekene Ijeoma & Hyperakt

Sep 9, 2014

Silent Springs, Specifically: Visualizing North American Bird Flight Range Shifts for the Audubon Society

by Alan and Beth

Climate change, though we know it's there, is a hard thing to see: it's slow, it's invisible, and if you don't know what you're looking for, then you might not even miss it once its gone.

Birds, however, are often hard to miss: they can be loud, bright, beautiful, strange. It turns out that by watching where their flight ranges are shifting now, we can get some idea about where they are going, which points to some likely patterns of climate change and how it will affect an ecosystem in the not-so-distant future.

This is precisely the kind of data that the Audubon Society has been collecting extensively about North American bird flight range changes, and in this project we have helped them to visualize it. Working with data from “the broadest and most detailed study of its kind,” the visualizations we’ve made together, with a lovely site designed by our friends at Mule, collectively comprise “the closest thing we have to a field guide to the future of North American birds.”

Hundreds of thousands of observations (drawn from the long-running citizen science projects the North American Breeding Bird Survey and the Christmas Bird Count) combined with sophisticated climate modeling create these predictions of where certain birds will be, when. Suddenly we have a clearer idea of where each specific bird will go, not just that they will all travel north. [Waves hands to indicate broad area of northernness.]

The dataset for all 314 birds contained both summer and winter range predictions. Our main challenge was to make this data engaging for the public. For us, this meant making the visualizations easy to understand, as well as easy to share.

Realizing that individual animations would make it easiest to see the change, we decided to make a GIF for each bird.

Not quite like that. Rather, for each year in our dataset – 2000, 2020, 2050, and 2080 – we created a shifting cloud of movement showing the probability of where the birds’ range is now and where it's likely headed in the future. Yellow represents summer, blue winter, and green is a combination of both seasons. The yellow and blue outlines mark the 2000 summer and winter ranges to make it easy to see how things change over time.

We’ve been enjoying the wispy, smoky detail that comes through on the much as anyone can enjoy maps about such massive and potentially disastrous changes for so many animals. Just look at the beautiful detail in the Rocky Mountains in the maps for the Northern Shoveler or the Ruffed Grouse!

To create these maps, we wrote a script against Tilemill, one of our favorite cartographic styling tools. In the end, we rendered more than 1200 maps (four years of data for each of the 300+ birds).

In addition to the maps, we made two Venn diagrams for each bird as well. These overlapping circles show both the area of the potential 2080 range, but also how much the current range overlaps with the future range. That's crucial. Some birds (like the Hooded Oriole) might have big increases in theoretical range, but if there's no overlap, we can't be sure whether the bird can take advantage of that new range.

In some cases there is a lot of overlap, like with the Mallard:

And in some cases very little or none, as with Allen’s hummingbird:

…and the Cerulean Warbler:

…and Baird's Sparrow:

And so many more.

As sobering as this work has been to create, we thoroughly enjoyed working with both Mule and Audubon to create it.

To learn more and take action, visit Find your favorite map and share it with your friends! Or better yet, go outside and find a bird that you might not see again in the next 20-80 years.

A tech detail of the project is coming soon!

View the project live.

Jul 16, 2014

Summer of Education!

by Beth and Eric

We’ve been quiet about something cooking here at Stamen, in part because it’s new and experimental, and in part because we’ve been so busy doing it that we haven’t made time to write yet. That something is our Education program, run by Beth.

It was taking baby steps throughout the spring, and this summer it’s taken off running with our first ever Fellowship series in partnership with Gray Area Foundation for the ArtsCreative Coding Fellowship, Autodesk and SPUR, with two students sent to us directly from Harvard. We’ve also partnered with Gray Area for their Summer Immersive series, where Shawn is teaching 3 of the 10 weeks of classes designed to get students from zero to creative coding over the course of a single summer.

Stamen has had internships before, but this summer we wanted to take it a step further. Rather than having students work on bits of client projects, we decided that we really wanted to create a program that affords both research and design on a single project. This approach gives fellows the opportunity to complete a work with us that they feel proud of and that advances the current state of knowledge in their area of interest.

Although each fellow is working on their own project, what unites them all is a focus on urban data and making something invisible about the city of San Francisco truly visible.

Meet the Fellows

Andreas Viglakis // Uncovering Bay Area Transit

Andreas is a recent graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and has worked as an architect and urban designer in Shanghai, New York, and Hong Kong. His work this summer, in partnership with urban planning think tank SPUR, focuses on San Francisco’s fragmented transit system and how it's affected by the changing economic climate of the Bay Area.

A scale study comparing the size of the Bay Area to the size of other major cities. Shown above: Bay Area over New York.

Kristin Henry // Storytelling with Sounds in San Francisco

Kristin Henry, a fellow in partnership with Gray Area, is a generative artist and computer scientist specializing in science and data visualization. She also founded, a small non-profit for science literacy, where she leads a group of volunteer tech + art + science enthusiasts. During mid-career graduate studies in Computer Science, she developed an Android application that collects sound and some Python scripts to analyze and visualize the resulting collection of audio recordings. This summer, she’s using this technology to develop a sound map of San Francisco.

Sketches of walking paths and recordings.

Scott Kildall // Water Works

Scott Kildall is a visual artist who writes algorithms that transform various datasets into 3D sculptures and installations, which imagine “what data looks like.” His project for the Creative Code Fellowship is called Water Works and will include a 3D-printed data visualization of the San Francisco water system, which includes drinking water, sewer and storm pipes and emergency fire-fighting systems, all of which interact in various ways to provide a dynamic city infrastructure. His fellowship this summer is in partnership with Gray Area and Autodesk's Pier 9 Workshop, who is providing access to their workshop and advanced machine training in conjunction with their Artist in Residence program.

Screenshot of a mesh of manholes of the San Francisco water system, z-axis exaggerated.

3D visualization of the manhole mesh, 3D printed.

Fun fact: Scott has also interviewed Eric from a hot tub.

Meet our Business Intern

Moira Forberg // IP FTW

Moira Forberg is a current MBA student at Harvard Business School and is interested in the intersection of design and technology. Prior to school, she worked on hardware design for 3D printing projects at MIT and Disney Research, and worked as a strategy consultant at OC&C. This summer, she is helping Stamen design best practices for intellectual property (IP) management around internal research projects and productization.

About the classes

For many years, Gray Area has offered a variety of classes and workshops, but this summer’s Immersive is like nothing they’ve ever done before. Designed to get students coding from scratch, the (very affordable) Immersive series offers everything from basic HTML to projection mapping to microcontrollers. Stamen partner Shawn has taken up the task of teaching basic Web Skills, JavaScript, and Data Visualization. His work so far is on Github (web skills lessons are here, and the JavaScript classes are here), with more information (and blog posts!) to come. For now, read more about it on the Creative Coding site.

So this is all great, but why is Stamen getting involved in education in the first place?

Stamen has always been a place for experimentation and research, typically through our research projects. We’ve also been involved in teaching people how to do this kind of work for a number of years now, historically with a focus on developers. While that focus continues to be important, the world of visualization has changed and what’s new is a focus on mapmaking and data visualization literacy for all skill levels, and an effort to support education around truly creative coding (i.e. the beautiful universe that exists beyond charts and graphs).

Inspiration for developing this practice around education came from Maptime, which Beth started here at Stamen last year. In addition to helping even more people learn how to make maps, it’s also building a community through education. We aspire for Stamen’s education program to have a similar community building aspect to it as well, using educational and research activities as a way to engage the public, use public data, and when possible, to collaborate with some of the talented visualizers and cartographers and mathematicians and artists on our network map and beyond.

Additionally, we believe it’s important for businesses in our space to pay it forward. This sentiment has its roots in the spirit of open source software development, and in practice it also gives us an opportunity to meet new people and try new things. Thanks to our fellowship program, for example, we’re learning so much about visualization-based installations, physical computing and non-web visualization. It gives us a chance to be students again, as well as teachers.

Eric’s always talking about how he never wanted to work for a cigarette company during the day to pay the bills, and for Greenpeace at night to salve his conscience, but instead wanted to commit a studio towards relevant work that also pays for everyone’s 401(k). Beth’s always talking about how she dreams of starting her own experimental, forward-thinking school that focuses on art, design, technology, and sustainability. Together, we foresee some lovely opportunities and collaborations in our future. It’s starting here in the Bay, with Gray Area, Autodesk, and SPUR. We’re excited to see where this experiment goes next.

Interested in collaborating with Stamen on a educational activity? Want to get more information about next year’s fellowships and internships? Drop a line to education [at] stamen [dot] com.

Jul 8, 2014

Stamen Maps for Tableau

by Beth, Seth, and Kate

Stamen has long aspired to make it easier for people everywhere to visualize data, particularly on and with maps. In our recent partnership with Tableau, we’ve helped to improve a tool that does just that. Tableau’s latest version, 8.2, comes complete with a mapping suite designed by us. Suddenly it’s that much easier for people all over to make beautiful maps with their data.

The maps come in three varieties: light, dark, and blue water.

Light maps are meant to be as subdued as possible, using hints of terrain to provide texture.

The dark maps are designed for bright colors, barely hinting at the outline of country borders.

Blue Waters are meant to provide a similar subtlety as the light maps, only with more natural tones.

Our goals for the project were:

  • A clean, modern look and feel.
  • Consistency across the three maps. They should be strong enough to stand alone but work together as a set.
  • That the maps be beautiful in themselves, but primarily built to display data.

Finding the right shades for the background, shades that work well with all of Tableau’s standard palettes, brought a level of science to the color process that we had simply never practiced before. Typically Stamen's approach to color is an intuitive, experimental and evocative one; color theory is present but not primary. Tableau’s maps, in contrast, required rigorous testing and iteration for even the most incremental tweaks in order to retain contrast. Tableau’s Visual Analyst, Maureen Stone, was our guide deep into the world of color science. In doing so, she taught us more about color calibration than we ever would have thought to learn. We now know that color is not just about trusting the eyes; it’s also about trusting the numbers. The numbers are what allow a wide range of colors – important for data layers – to have consistent levels of contrast and pizazz.

This connection of art and science is part of what made the project come out so well. The resulting map design system has a consistency and intensity to it that we haven’t seen with any other out-of-the-box analytic tools.

We applaud Tableau’s use of Leaflet and OpenStreetMap for creating and presenting these maps. We're proud every time we can help one of our clients make the switch to designing with open data.

Ready to make lovely Stamen maps with Tableau and learn more about the release? Make your way to 8.2!

Read more about the Stamen + Tableau collaboration in The New York Times.

May 21, 2014

Stamen's Checklist for Maps

by Beth (along with the whole team, really)

Recently the fine folks at WIRED's Map Lab asked for a checklist for maps. We have a list of interaction design-related things we like to ensure across all of our map projects which we thought you might be interested to see. Here goes!

  1. URLs should contain and maintain state, by default. This feature means that you can deep-link into any place, any zoom and even any data layer's state.
    • Drag/Zoom/Pan affects the URL, and vice versa. Check out Stamen alum Michael Evans' leaflet-hash on Github.
    • Clicking UI elements affects the URL too, e.g. show/hide legend should also affect the URL.
  2. The map should be integrated with any external displays, so one affects the other in real time. You can see this at work on the Parks Conservancy Trails Page.
  3. The application should know when all required tiles are loaded, and act accordingly.
    • e.g. Make sure tiles are loaded before any animation begins.
    • e.g. Don't necessarily display data overlays before the tiles have loaded, unless they're easy to place geographically, which is rare.
  4. Mouse scroll should not affect map zoom level when the map is embedded in a page. There's little more irritating than scrolling quickly down a page and getting stuck way zoomed out of a map you hadn't intended to interact with.
  5. Double click should zoom into the click point on zoom, not the center of the map.
  6. No flickering (unless it's intentional). Work hard to make map transitions as smooth as silk.
    • All data and tiles should load smoothly. Tiled data is good for this, as are compression and content delivery networks.
    • Wait until the new data is ready and loaded before hiding older data. (Avoid showing grey tiles.)
    • e.g. switching between map styles. Don't throw the old stuff away and show grey tiles in between the switch.
  7. If you can, make a full screen version, or at least make the map as BIG AS POSSIBLE, like on the Chesapeake Bay Grasses project.

What's on your list? Anything you'd like to see added to ours? Tweet @stamen + @wiredmaps + #maplist, or send an email to info [at] stamen [dot] com.

May 20, 2014

Notes from the studio: a pretty damn good week

by Beth

When I first moved to San Francisco from Atlanta a few years ago, the first thing that struck me about the city (aside from the expensive everything) was the pace. People here go so fast, how can they possibly stop and smell the roses? Our speed at Stamen often reflects the pace of this city, and amid all the work, sometimes we forget to stop too. I think that's why we started ordering in lunches, so we wouldn't forget to eat, either.

So today I want to pause, to take a moment to reflect on some of the lovely things that have been happening round these parts just in the past couple weeks.

Eric gave a talk at TEDx Market Street. In addition to showing some Crimespotting maps of the Tenderloin, he spoke about some of the great work he's doing with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) in the Tenderloin. Much of that work is kept out of the studio (for reasons both legal and practical) so it was a first for me to see him speak so personally and passionately about turning alleyways into gardens, empty storefronts into art galleries, and buying buildings to create rent-controlled artist studios in a city where artists (and Outreach Managers, fwiw) can barely afford to eat, much less live.

Alan also gave a talk at UC Berkeley's DATAedge,where he spoke about designing with data scientists.

We released an open call for our first ever Fellowship! We've done internships before, but this is the first time we'll be working with a student to get them to sink their teeth into a datavis project of their very own. We couldn't be more excited to get this started next month just after EYEO, and to work with friends at Gray Area, Helios, and Obscura over the summer.

Dan and I hung out with California Open Spaces staff and advocates at the Bay Area Open Spaces Conference to talk with them about Social media usage in the parks is a hot topic, and a controversial one: some parks administrators are delighted about seeing social media usage around their parks, while others are less enthused about encouraging technology use in open spaces. Learning about all sides and perspectives is key to the project, so we loved being there and collecting 140-character comments on post-it notes, instead of Tweets and pics.

We hosted yet another wonderful Maptime, which is delightfully taking on a life of it's own all across the country. It inspired this sweet Tweet from @KaseyKlimes:

I've also seen some Maptime loveliness from open source geo educators who who inspire me. Code for America fellow and fierce geolady Lyzi Diamond wrote this great post on Why Maptime, and Tom MacWright made us an animated Maptime GIF.

George and Heather made us some more postcards! We were totally out of postcards. And now we're not! Hooray! #outreachmanagersdreamcometrue

Top it all off with meeting amazing artists U-Ram Choe and Theo Jansen within days of each other (one met off the clock; the other one on it during Scott Kildall's artist talk at Autodesk), I've gotta say the past few weeks have been filled with some loveliness. Let's hope for more like this in the weeks to come.

May 13, 2014

Stamen + Gray Area Partnering on Creative Code Fellowship + Classes! Apply now for Summer 2014!

by Beth

Today is an exciting one: we're pleased to announce that Stamen is offering a summer Fellowship! AND we're doing it in partnership with longtime friends at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, along with Obscura Digital and Helios.

This is a real opportunity for someone to come and work with us and Gray Area for the summer. The project comes with a modest stipend and will give selected Fellow(s) the opportunity to hone your research and visualization skills with guidance from a world-class team.

The project focus, which we'll decide on together, will focus on data visualization and civic engagement. It should address a contemporary issue (that’s not the Google Bus) within the city of San Francisco, involve data of some kind, and be visually represented within the Fellow’s technical capabilities. Ideally it will make visible something that was previously invisible or not well understood.

The deadline to apply is May 24, so submit your application soon.

Don't have the coding chops yet for a fellowship but want to get started? Fret not, dear artist-to-be! Gray Area is offering a Creative Code Intensive this summer, designed to get you from 0-60 in 10 short weeks. Follow the links below to learn more. If you've got questions not covered on the Creative Code site, feel free to email beth [at] stamen [dot] com.

Best of luck with your application, and happy creative coding!

Apply now for the Fellowship!

Enroll in the Immersive Creative Code Intensive!

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