Archive for category Creativity

Breakthrough Maps Don’t Follow Rules

Take a look at the four amazing maps linked below. They are innovative in: 

Now, do you think any of these map makers studied typical books on cartography* before making these maps? That’s right, no one ever made a breakthrough map by following the rules.


Join us tomorrow for an equally correct discussion on how all works of art are ultimately derivative, just to continue to confuse the point and have some fun.


*Cartographer’s Toolkit and GIS Cartography excepted! They are not “rule” books per se.

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Map Kusudama

This paper flower was made from map sheets cut out of a book, glued back to back, folded into individual petals, and then glued together. I’d be more specific about the steps to fold the petals but it was given to me as a gift.

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Map Cakes

A post on map cakes seemed just the thing for a Friday afternoon. It’ll be a good companion to an earlier post on Map Cookies. Clicking on the pictures sends you to the original sites.

This one has a few things going wrong with it–ocean where there isn’t, for example–but I’m willing to overlook that because it looks really tasty.

This one is perfect for this blog, since the London Tube Map is discussed from time to time. Here, they’ve made a London Tube Map cake:

When I set out to write this post, I would have never guessed that I’d discover a thematic map cake, but here’s a really neat weather map cake, made for a 13 year old’s birthday:

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Creativity Not Just For Cartographers: Geo Analysts Need It Too

Are you looking for ways to give yourself a quick zap of creative power? Are you wondering how creativity can be applied to GIS analytical work? just published my article on the subject if you would like to read more. It’s a longer piece than usual but it will be worth your time!

Expert Feature – Creativity Not Just For Cartographers: Geo Analysts Need It Too

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Creativity Update

To be extremely successful, you must be creative. Not the kind of creativity that compels people to put together scrap books or to arrange their bulletin boards just-so, but the kind of creativity that allows you to solve a problem with an uncommon solution. Your solution doesn’t have to be completely new and unique, but you’ll know it is a creative solution if it takes a certain amount of guts or audacity to explain it to people. Here are just a few creative solutions on my radar this week:

1) The idea of working out while working isn’t something I came up with myself, but I’m the only one I know personally who does it. Thus, it took quite a bit of research to figure out what was needed and how/if it would work. (By the way, yes, it does work. I cycle about 3 hours / day at about 7 miles per hour – slow – while working.)

2) According to an article this month in Fast Company magazine, someone offered free piggy-back rides to anyone who would “sign up today.” Okay, so we aren’t so sure that’s going to work out, as I certainly would be less inclined to sign-up (!) but I’m assuming he knew what his audience would think was funny and was successful with it.

3) The Stanford d school reported recently on student’s responses to the directive to describe each process design mode in one sentence. I like these: “Enter someone else’s world, observe and listen for an hour but design forever” and “Battle of egos: Pow! Pow!”

I know what you’re thinking: creativity means putting radioactively colored sticky notes up on the whiteboard.

Okay, so maybe it does sometimes. But the biggest two things you can do to boost your creativity are 1) give yourself a few minutes to one hour of free-time (Richard Branson used to walk around his garden to think, for example) and 2) do a quick creativity exercise such as putting together a few legos or solving a puzzle online.

Don’t be fooled, though, most creative ideas are met with criticism. If your idea is being criticized, it has to be met head-on. Is the criticism warranted? One way to find out is to think about whether or not you would have said the same thing. If it is something you would never say to someone, then you can bet the criticism is unwarranted.

A guy named Elbert Hubbard once said…

The only way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing, be nothing

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How to Recycle Computer Parts

Susan Stockwell, a UK artist, is doing some interesting things with old computer parts and maps. Take a look at this installation created for the University of Bedforshire:

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