The average global surface temperature between 2001 - 2011. © NASA Earth Observatory (NEO)

Geospatial data visualization tool

Designing a B2B geospatial web application in the area of risk management. Such tools allow experts to plan, evaluate and monitor potential natural hazards.

Hurricane Sandy's surface wind speeds © NASA

During my time at MING Labs, I worked for a global enterprise and led the overall user experience of a geospatial tool for almost a year. My responsibilities included, among other things, feature maintenance, user research and testing, shipping, UX and UI design, and user data analysis. I worked in close collaboration with data scientists, the back-end and front-end teams as well as the management to align the business goals and development constraints with the design.

Since this project is under NDA, I cannot share any designs or further information. Below, I briefly write about the domain I was designing for.

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Assessment of risk areas

In recent years, it has become clear that weather-related damage has increased enormously due to climate change. Therefore, it is critical for experts to quickly identify and assess areas of risk and monitor events that may affect their data sets. Those data sets may include, for example, residential and industrial areas.

November 8, 2018. The Camp Fire in California was one of the most destructive wildfires in Californian history. © NASA

Climate hazards include all kinds of disasters such as wild fires, tsunamis and floods. For example, rising sea levels will lead to increased risk for many properties, especially in the Nordic countries. Experts must be able to calculate risks and potential losses of their data sets.

Such geospatial tools enable experts to:
(1) Visualize data sets. (2) Combine data sets with hazard and other data to estimate potential exposure of individual data points. (3) Monitor current events.

Global warming is leading to increased risk for many properties and must be more and more considered when calculating the expense of insurance. © Chris Gallagher


• Alignment with stakeholders is crucial. I realized the importance of aligning the design with the requirements of the back-end developers and management, especially when working on such a complex tool which involves many stakeholders.

• Working with scientists, engineers, front-end and back-end developers required a certain level of knowledge that I had to acquire quickly, especially in order to share a common language and understanding of the demands and work of each colleagues.

• I learned to work with complex data structures and that tiniest deviations in their representation as well as inconsistent definitions can lead to very critical and error-prone maps, analyses and decisions. Being mindful of details is key!

• Leading the design of such a big project as a young designer can be very frightening. I learned to trust in my abilities and to make important decisions in a confident and quick manner.

I took this project over from my very talented former colleague Miguel Pawlowski.