Continuing Lecturer and Department Cartographer
B.A. (Geography), University of California, Berkeley, 1999
Every map tells a story and it is in the map narrative that my primary interest in mapmaking is embedded. Using graphic design and communication concepts to fuse traditional cartography, infographics, poster art, and journalistic text blocking, the map is constructed as a narrative device. Unlike a text narrative that starts with a page, a paragraph, a sentence, a word—there’s always a first word—a map allows the reader to step into the narrative wherever they are most drawn. It might be the title, it might be the key, or they might dive in anywhere in the graphic. Also, the map has a superb economy of space. Take any map: there will be scores, if not hundreds, of pages of textual information embedded in it. The map distills it all into graphic form.
As the staff cartographer and a continuing lecturer in the Geography Department, I design and edit maps and teach mapmaking methodology courses in the Cartography and GIS Education Lab (CAGE Lab). I have taught Geography 183 (Cartographic Representation) since 2002 and Geography 187 (Advanced Cartographic Methods: GIS for Cartographers) from 2010 to 2014.
My pedagogy is rooted in experiential learning and engaged scholarship. Students from the 2010-11 school year participated in a project to map the Mission District in San Francisco. Each student chose their own subject and the maps were collected in a printed atlas of hyper-local scale called Mission Possible: A Neighborhood Atlas. I am currently working with spring 2014 and 2014-2015 students on another hyper-local project to map International Boulevard in Oakland, called Intranational International Boulevard. In 2012, I formed Guerrilla Cartography, a loose band of geographers, cartographers, and designers. Together, we crowd-sourced and crowd-funded Food: An Atlas, a collection of maps on the geography of food. With more than 120 collaborators from 13 countries, Guerrilla Cartography published the atlas in January of 2013. It is available as a free download or hardcopy purchase at guerrillacartography.net.
My interest in storytelling has extended to the written word, both fiction and creative non-fiction. I am currently working on an MFA in Creative Writing at Mills College, with a planned graduation of May 2015. I look forward to continuing to tell stories—with words and with graphics.