How did you first get into cartography and visual communications for nonprofits?
I started off doing design work for bands, mostly posters for shows and album covers. Then I slowly got into activism, and I have been working with nonprofits and advocacy organizations for over 10 years now. I started off on the branding side, but then I slowly moved towards mapping and data visualization because I think it gives us an opportunity to better understand the social and political reality of today.
A lot of your projects are dedicated to Houston. Which one you’re most proud of?
I collaborate with One Breath Partnership, and I helped produce a four-part investigation called The Houston Arrow — if you look at almost any map with the city’s social data, you can see a group of neighborhoods shaped as an arrow that is more rich and well-developed than other parts of the city, with significant racial inequities. We explored how history, segregation, and history of Houston affected what we see today.
How did you use Felt to coordinate multi-organizational canvassing effort to register voters for the midterms?
I work with an organization called Houston in Action. This nonprofit brings together dozens of partner organizations that work all across the city and aim to remove barriers to civic engagement and empower communities to make change. When it comes to elections, we work together to make sure everyone has information about upcoming elections, including voter registration deadlines.
Houston is a very big city, and it’s hard to coordinate activities so everybody would know where everyone else is working. To coordinate our voter registration canvassing campaigns in the past, we would take a screenshot of a map of Houston and then have people on Google Jamboard draw on top of the screenshot. This process was really chaotic because this work is hyper local–you want to see the regional level but also street by street–and I was looking for better tools.