Interview conducted by Gustavo Colmenares
An exclusive with: Robin Tolochko
Robin Tolochko is a cartographer, designer and developer. She is a person who shows a passion for building a mapping community (co-organizer of MapTime Madison), who loves the process of creation and the user experience, and she has the ability to explain technical concepts to non-programmers.
Q: Tell us about one of your maps?
A: The Modern Motherhood: A World of Struggle. Inspire by the topics of New York Times Map of maternity leave policies worldwide, which at the same time was published she got pregnant. She got the necessity to create a map that shows the maternal leave map that present the actual situation that many women have to deal with every time that they get pregnant.
Q: What were the challenges that you got?
A: Having no idea where to start, what tool would be good to use, which colors are more or less appropriate or what information to show. Thinking about all of this could be overwhelming, and sometimes we just feel like we are standing in front of a giant (the end goal), and we become petrified. Knowing that there are so many things to do makes it very hard to focus on something smaller and more specific without losing the big picture of the project.
Q: What did you enjoy during the process?
A: It was my first attempt at using D3 to create an interactive map. Learning code and making interactive maps is a beautiful process where things can get ugly, but it is important to remember that if we want to build a strong and great wall, the best way to start is with a small brick. That’s the key.
Q: Did you have any trouble learning code?
A: Oh yeah! Learning how to read documents online is hard. Learning to code was one of her biggest fears (and also the fears of many) because there are so many things possible to be done in coding that it is hard to keep track, though it will help infinitely in making interactive maps.
Q: What do you know about the GIS market in Portland?
A: Ah yeah I hear Portland is a tough place to find a job.
Q: Any Advice?
A: Make an annotated portfolio. Having an online portfolio bring the attention of the employers and is more important if you add about your process for making those maps. They want to hear how creative you are at the moment to solve problems.
Build a network. If the three rules of real state are “location, location, location,” then the three rules to get hired are “network, network, network,”.