So Much to Learn at the MN GIS/LIS 2014 Conference

There’s something wonderful about being surrounded by other GIS people. I got that experience most recently at the Minnesota GIS/LIS Annual conference in Rochester, Minnesota. The of whirlwind of people, sessions, and conversations, gave me a few takeaways:

  • Do you ever wish you could show someone what you are doing on your iPhone easily? Well turns out you can. The Reflector App lets you mirror your iPhone on your computer screen, and the only thing you need is a wi-fi connection. Took me about 2 minutes to set up. I can’t wait to take advantage of this for training on our mobile interactive mapping apps.
  • CartoDB now has some pretty slick ways to visualize a time series.
  • Presenting on map design is a really great way to talk with people all week about map design! For those of you who missed it (or just want the notes), I presented “No One Wants to Look at Your Ugly Map.” Click here to see the presentation!
  • Speaking of map design, one of my favorite conversations was with Jenelle Hudok at the MN Department of Public Safety, where she’s a Criminal Intelligence Analyst. She mentioned that when making maps for a jury, she’s not allowed to use certain colors, like red and blue (red can be “danger!” and blue can be “everything’s okay here”). I found that utterly fascinating: there’s definitely a fine a line between using design to communicate, and using design to coerce (especially in a criminal justice setting). I use red all the time (especially on a grey scale background) to say “hey look at me! I’m the important thing on the map!”

It’s definitely noting how much I loved hearing from the closing keynote speaker, Joshua Stevens, who talked about map design and data visualization. My favorite quotes from his presentation include:

  • “Design is about providing the mental lubrication that make design decisions easier.”
  • “Our eyes notice changes in brightness before a change in color.”
  • “Every design has a cognitive cost. If you pay the cost, the user won’t have to.”

Finally, I had a blast being at the AE2S booth with my colleague, Cinde Morris. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, it was so great to meet with so many of you!


2 thoughts on “So Much to Learn at the MN GIS/LIS 2014 Conference

  1. “hey look at me! I’m the important thing on the map!”

    haha, nice! and so true, Mars Red (next to Solar Yellow) is the best color to emphasize map content.

  2. At a previous job we used to have arguments on what to color the storm sewer lines because they always did it in red and I would insist red meant “preliminary”, while someone chimed in that it looked like “danger” as well. In the end red won out and now to this day I cannot color storm mains in anything else but red. Habits!

    I had a blast with you too, Danielle. Great conference, great meeting new people!

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