I feel compelled to take a few minutes to revisit this year. It was shitty but also pretty great. A wonderful friend schooled me on the finer points of yiddish and unearthed this gem—chutzpadik. I pride myself on being well-versed in yiddish or at least well-versed for a lapsed Presbyterian. I think the year should be referred to as, chutzpadik-2021
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
adjective showing chutzpah; not showing due respect; impudent; impertinent; brazen
On a personal note, I had a little heart thing and am currently recovering from an avulsion fracture in my running ankle. Technically both of my ankles are “my running ankle” but this one is now the limiting reagent—we can’t go anywhere until leftie is back from its PTSD inducing snap and rip on the trail.
Professionally, I continue to make progress on an O’Reilly publication, Python for Geospatial Data Analysis : Theory, Tools, and Practice for Location Intelligence. This is my first time working with an entire development team including a patient and skilled editor. If I was going to describe the book to someone not familiar with data science I would say the point of the whole endeavor (or the punchline to the joke) is location matters.
The built or natural infrastructure contributes immensely to outcomes that might appear uniquely unrelated. A simplified example is light pollution. Think of artificial lights in any random location. Altering diurnal (normal wake sleep cycle) patterns diminishes sleep and may impact reproductive cycles. We have all seen moths or heard of sea turtles being disorientated and attracted to an artificial light source moving them away from their preferred habitats concentrating them in predatory environments. We have data that allows us to measure and visualize environments and analyze the impact of several factors location specific in their composition.
My specific area of expertise is looking at inequity and how the built infrastructure both man-made and natural impacts these communities.
I will let this serve as a bit of an introduction to my year-end recap of powerful tools impacting my work life in the year of chutzpadik. All of these items were purchased by me and selected independently although may be lightly influenced by the podcasts I listen to or books I read. In full disclosure any affiliate links toss a few coins in my direction at no additional cost to you.
On the fly mapping
The map at the beginning of this conversation was rendered by @anvanka. You go to her website, City Roads, enter your city of interest and boom—you have a map. Although oversimplified for many uses, it is a great introduction to the complexity of the network of a city.
Jupyter notebooks and Medium
I credit Ted Petrou and Dunder Data with teaching me how to think in Python. I originally learned applied data analysis from an executive online education class from The Fu School of Engineering at Columbia. If you want to really understand Python for an ongoing deep understanding Ted is the best. Affordable, Understandable, and Accessible. It is one thing to complete an educational curricula — it is quite another to be able to apply it to your work.
Ted has created a package that posts jupyter notebooks directly to Medium. If you have ever struggled with copy and pasting data frames and images from your notebook to a blog post—this will make your day. Watch the video on YouTube and get started. I will be releasing the notebooks from my book, Python for Geospatial Data Analysis: Theory, Tools, and Practice for Location Intelligence using the jupyter_to_medium package so stay connected…
Cartography by Kenneth Field
This book is a beauty. I may be able to analyze all different types of data but cartography is an art. Ken is a master. The early tutorials that made me fall in love with maps, GIS, geospatial analysis and cartography were all by ESRI. I thought Ken was just a fun and inspiring instructor—I learned he was a master as I dove deeper into the coursework and the field as a whole. This one belongs in your collection. I have just begun to explore.
Books about perception and “seeing”
There are not multiple sources of truth. That isn’t how truthiness works. Art is powerful for revealing biases of all types but I also believe the ability to use works of art to learn about critical thinking and perception can be safe and life altering. And once you learn how to “see” you can’t quite unsee it.
With Amy Herman’s Fixed., we now have access to what the FBI, NATO, the State Department, Interpol, Scotland Yard, and many more organizations and their leaders have been using to solve their most intractable problems.
Ever since Amy’s first book, Visual Intelligence: Sharpen your Perception and Change your Life, I have been seeing things differently and seeing different things. These books are foundational in how I view data and especially how it is visualized or imagined as a tool in exploring ideas, thoughts, and important questions.
Walking the Galleries
I was fortunate to spend an afternoon walking the gallery space at the MoMA with Amy. I was introduced to a relatively unknown multi-media artist, Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943). Reasons for her anonymity were attributed to her gender and polymathic tendencies to explore different trajectories throughout her career. I loved the series of tessellations and explorations of white space and groupings. I could readily see similarities with data visualizations.
Let me know what you are reading, seeing, and thinking about!