Category : data visualization

The Uncanny Valley

Featured Image: Roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro and the android based on his likeness. More at If you’ve never heard of it before, the uncanny valley is a phrase used to describe the discomfort-inducing zone that an image or likeness of a human passes through on its way from abstract to representational. The term was first coined in 1970 by […]

Vintage Infographics
Posted by on June 28, 2016
Posted in: data visualization, graphic design, inspiration, mapping

(Above) Color-linked pie and bar charts illustrate the causes of death in Switzerland from 1890-1894 (Swiss Statistical Office). Looking back into history many infographic styles originated from detail-oriented professionals such as lawyers, meteorologists, surveyors, and nurses. Often a single graphic represented the culmination of a life’s work of research and involved extensive personal commitment to produce. […]

Posted by on December 4, 2015
Posted in: creative community, data visualization, mapping

If you’ve ever visited Fat Pencil Studio (or seen my SketchUp profile video) you know about all the maps and infographics that decorate our walls. They serve as inspiration for our work, and are pretty darn interesting to stare at from time to time. After reading an article about Portlandness: A Cultural Atlas, I knew […]

Mapping Buildings
Posted by on August 5, 2014
Posted in: data visualization, mapping, software

Last week I had the opportunity to try Tableau, data visualization software used to create a wide range of maps and graphics from large data files. For my testing, I decided to use a Portland Buildings Footprints data set downloaded from the CivicApps website. The file includes every building in Portland with specific geographical location […]

Crime Data Maps
Posted by on March 1, 2014
Posted in: data visualization, DataViz, mapping, software, tips and tricks

Several months ago, we wrote about Google’s Maps Engine Lite, a fun and easy way to make interactive maps. Since then, we’ve upgraded to Maps Engine Pro, which offers a few more features, such as the ability to measure distances, add more layers, and to import more data. So we decided to test it out […]

Train Injury Case
Posted by on February 5, 2014
Posted in: animation, data visualization, DataViz, graphic design, legal, mapping, projects

We just got word of a settlement in a train injury case that kept us busy for a good portion of last Fall. We learned a lot about train operations in the process, making this an interesting job from start to finish. After weeks of trying to understand the finer points of how draft gear […]

Happy New Year!
Posted by on January 1, 2014
Posted in: creative community, data visualization, DataViz, graphic design, inspiration

It’s 2014! The adolescence of the Millennium is fully underway… In honor of the New Year, we made a calendar for your amusement and edification. The days are arrayed in my favorite continuous vertical grid format, with each cell color-coded according to the average daily high temperature for Portland, Oregon. Typical weekly rainfall is plotted […]

Calendar Time
Posted by on September 24, 2013
Posted in: data visualization, graphic design, inspiration, projects

Calendars are essential. They help locate us in the endless river of time, casting a net around the slippery fish of now. Their design can be whimsical or humorous, pragmatic or poetic, cute or clever. You’d think we’d have run out of new and interesting ways to present the days of the year, but no. […]

Low Poly Vehicles

We often create large 3d models that include many copies of various components. For instance, the model we made for the Seattle Streetcar Expansion contains nearly 15,000 component instances. The Williams Bikeway model tips the scale at 30,000, split into three different files. When placing so many components, it is very important to strike a […]

PPS Data Stories
Posted by on April 25, 2013
Posted in: creative community, data visualization, graphic design

Earlier this year I was pulled into a public debate about “enrollment balancing” and the future of neighborhood schools in N/NE Portland, also known as the Jefferson Cluster. My son’s elementary school was one of several considered for closure. Between public meetings and private Facebook groups there were many passionate remarks from students, parents, teachers […]