Tell Us About Yourself
I am GIS lead at the State of Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). I’ve been in the field for over 10 years since my first GIS class at UCLA in 2012. Since then, I’ve taught GIS at the university level and worked in the non-profit, private, and public realms. I currently act as outreach chair for URISA’s Vanguard Cabinet of Young Professionals. You can find me on Twitter (@pokateo_) hosting the weekly #GISchat conversation as well as creating and sharing original map-related memes (#mappymeme) as ways to unite and uplift the geospatial community. In 2022 I was nominated as xyHt Magazine’s 22 Young Geospatial Pros To Watch.
Tell us the story behind your map (what inspired you to make it, what did you learn while making it, or any other aspects of the map or its creation you would like people to know)
I had a personal goal in 2022 to make one map a month in my free time. (4/12). Every month, I asked my Twitter followers “I’m making one map a month in 2022. What should this month’s map be about?” Joshua Stevens (@jscarto on Twitter; formerly data viz lead at Nasa’s Earth Observatory; now Cartography and Content Strategy for Esri) responded with “Confluence of bigfoot + UFO sightings. Where are the hot spots (squatch spots?)? Where do big- and green-men meet? Per capita differences would shed light on interesting spatial divides between these cultural phenomena.” And this map was born as my April #MapAMonth for 2022.
Tell us about the tools, data, etc., you used to make the map.
I found a dataset already available that had bigfoot and UFO sightings (http://data.world/davemeas/bigfoot-ufo-education-alcohol-mmj-and-mental-illness-level). I pulled 2017 population data from the census via Esri’s Living Atlas. This layer was very important to normalize the sightings — if not, who’s to say the map isn’t just a population map? I made this in ArcGIS Pro using its bivariate symbology method. Observable has a great bivariate color generator (https://observablehq.com/@benjaminadk/bivariate-choropleth-color-generator) I used to make the color scheme be green for more alien sightings and brown for more bigfoot sightings. The cherry on top to me was the X-Files font from dafont.com (https://www.dafont.com/xfiles1.font).