Art, Maps, Maps and Data, Portfolio

Camp Fire Progression

Iron, bronze, 2022

This iron and bronze sculpture maps the movement of the Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, California in November 2018. It’s a map of the fire perimeter, with the majority of the sculpture in rusted iron. The boundary of the town of Paradise is in polished bronze inlaid into the larger sculpture.

The height of the sculpture represents the time at which that area burned. The lowest parts represent where the fire started. You can trace the movement of the fire by following the sculpture from the low areas to the higher areas. The Camp Fire started near the middle of the fire footprint, just east of the town of Paradise, CA.

The Impact of the Camp Fire

The Camp Fire began November 8, 2018 and was fully contained on November 25, 2018. 85 people lost their lives. It destroyed over 18,000 structures, many of them in the town of Paradise, CA. This sculpture highlights the town of Paradise, however, it’s important to note that other towns, such as Concow, Magalia, and Butte Creek Canyon were also largely destroyed. It is the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history.

The Data

The source data was downloaded from NASA FIRMS (Fire Information for Resource Management System). The dataset consists of points with timestamps indicating when burn activity was detected.

You can watch an animation of the fire progression to get a sense of how the fire spread and what the sculpture represents:

Or here’s another animated map of the same data, color coding the burned areas by day:

The Process

I wrote code that converted that raw point data into a 3D model. That model was 3D printed, then I made a mold of the printed sculpture and cast it to wax. Then I used the lost wax casting method to create the iron sculpture and the separate bronze section. Metal casting was done at the Crucible in Oakland, CA.

Art, Data Visualization, Maps

If San Francisco Crime were Elevation

I’ve been playing with different ways of representing data (see my previous night lights example) and I decided to venture into 3D representations. I’ve used a full year of crime data for San Francisco from 2009 to create these maps. The full dataset can be download from the city’s DataSF website.

A view from above

This view shows different types of crime in San Francisco viewed directly from above. The sun is shining from the east, as it would during sunrise.


I love how some of the features in these maps are pretty consistent across all the crime types, like the mountain ridge along Mission St., and how some of the features only crop up in one or two of the maps. The most unique map by far is the one for prostitution (more on that further down).

An alternate view

Here’s the same data but from a different angle, which helps show some of the differences.

UPDATE: Whoops, I screwed up originally and had a duplicate image. The original graphic showed the same map for Vandalism and Assault (both were the Vandalism map). This updated graphic has the correct map for Assault.


Many of the maps have peaks in the Tenderloin, which is that high area sort of in the north-east center area of the city. Some are extremely concentrated (narcotics) and some are far more spread out (vehicle theft).

My favorite map is the one for prostitution (maybe “favorite” is the wrong choice of words there). Nearly all the arrests for prostitution in San Francisco occur along what I’m calling the “Mission Mountain Ridge”, which runs up Mission St between 24th and 16th.

EDIT: I’ve been corrected. Upon closer inspection the prostitution arrests are peaking on Shotwell St. at the intersections of 19th and 17th. I’m sure the number of colorful euphemisms you can come up with that include the words “shot” and “well” are endless.

I love the way the mountain range casts a shadow over much of the city. There’s also a second peak in the Tenderloin (which I’m dubbing Mt. Loin).


Drug crimes are also interesting to look at, since so much of the drug activity in San Francisco is centered in a few distinct areas. We can see Mt. Loin rising high above all the other small peaks. The second highest peak is the 16th St. BART peak.


There are other consistent features in these maps, in addition to Mt. Loin and the Mission Range. There’s a valley that separates the peaks in the Mission and the peaks in the Tenderloin, which is where the freeway runs (Valley 101). You’ll also notice a division in many of the maps that separates the southeast corner. That’s the Hunter’s Point Riverbed (aka the 280 freeway).


These maps were generated from real data, but please don’t take them as being accurate. The data was aggregated geographically and artistically rendered. This is meant more as an art piece than an informative visualization.