In Profile 6: Visualization in Academics, Cairo discusses an interview with Geoff McGhee who is an interactive data visualization and multimedia story-teller at the Bill Lane Center for the American West, a research institute at Stanford University. In Cairo’s interview with McGhee, he mentions how he is a unique designer in the sense that he has a “unique position to bridge that gap” he’s worked in that not all designers typically work in. McGhee stresses the importance to understanding wed graphics and the intensity of time and labor within it. Online graphics are labor-intensive because they are databases in an essence and not just a summary of data. McGhee’s career change into academia was due to him feeling a need to learn more about what’s going on with information graphics and visualization because when he was working in media he was aware of the many innovations to be learned. Some of these being new tools, new techniques, new practices, and so forth.
I found it interesting and also inspirational that he was a professional journalist who was interested in computer science, data and visualization and made that jump into a different career path but was able to use that to his benefit, which makes him this unique designer. Simply because, I myself would like to major in the Graphic Design field, however I have a separate passion and goal to work in the Medical Field one day and would like to back to school for something entirely different but would still like to correlate the two fields to my advantage. The field I want to go into but am still thinking about is radiology, which is separate from the design field but does deal with images and visualizations in a different sense. So I really did enjoy reading about his career story and how bringing people together with different skill sets could be beneficial.
Image in relation to reading:
This is an interactive piece that was designed by Geoff McGhee, Lauren Sommer and Maria J. Santos which depicts the Bay Area and it’s long history in preserving open lands. It relates to our reading because its one of many designs Geoff created while working with two other designers and displays some of his skills as a multi-media designer (with interactive design).
Example of excellent data visualization: