Aug 30, 2008
Over the weekend we released, for MSNBC, an interactive hurricane tracker. And just in time, because Hurricane Gustav is apparently "bearing down on Louisiana like a shotgun full of wind and rain."
I'm really pleased with how this project's turned out; in particular I've not seen a map like this before that gives a sense of the relative speed that a storm moves at (take a look at how Gustav slows down as it passes over the southwest coast of Haiti). It's not something I've really ever thought about before, but now that I've seen it, I'll be looking for it in every other map like this I see—which is just how I like to change the world. Congratulations to Tom and Geraldine for pulling this one together.
This is the first time that we've released something this concrete. At dinner last night Lane told me that it was the first time he'd seen something that Stamen had done that was going to really matter to him in 72 hours. We've historically shied away from doing work that's overly predictive and analytical, preferring to focus on the lyrical and metaphorical aspects of visualization. This is the first time you can make a decision based on something we've built, and I'm glad we seem to have crossed that barrier without fretting too much about it. Just about every big decision I've ever made that's turned out well has been made in lightness and in haste; no sense stopping now!
I was at Burning Man during Katrina, and I'll never forget the sinking feeling in my heart when people started arriving towards the event with copies of the New York Times showing New Orleans under water. I'm in London now, even farther away, but now watching and hoping that things go better for that beautiful city this time.