I’ve been interested in maps for a long time. When I was young, my brother and I would spend hours looking over the Washington State Atlas and Gazetteer, planning trips and connecting routes. I was also an avid reader of Fantasy, referring to the maps in the front of the books to see where the characters in the current story were roaming.

History and Social Studies were two of my favorite classes in junior high. Later I became more aware of and interested in the interaction (interplay) of physical geography and humanity, with its effects on population, economics, and culture. In college I took a few geology courses, with one class that talked about local high-end houses built on unstable, slide-prone rock formations. And, another that was all about geology and energy, from passive solar houses to nuclear power plants.

Recently I’ve been a heavy user of county and city GIS resources while looking for real estate in a few different cities over the last number of years. Some sites have been easily helpful, with a usable interface catering to the public as well as professionals. Others took more work to delve into the data, still offering an online option, but with more cumbersome controls and limited data in particular map sets. And still others required downloading special GIS software and near expert level knowledge to set up the data (or shape files).

Now I’m a librarian/information worker with an interest in user interface design, information architecture, big data, GIS, economics, politics, and yes, I still delve into a good (and sometimes bad) fantasy epic now and again. The trick now will be to see how to tie all these interests together (and make the time to figure that out).

Maps, people, information….