A collection of all blog posts by Alan McConchie.

blog/Alan McConchie

The World of Ice and Fire in Maps

Alan McConchie | 06.14.24

As self-proclaimed map nerds, there’s nothing like a crossover of nerdy subjects to provoke thought and discussion at Stamen. The new season of House of the Dragon premieres this Sunday, June 16 on HBO and Max in the U.S. and we thought this would be the perfect moment to finally talk about cartography in The...

Year ten at Stamen

Alan McConchie | 03.11.24

Every once in a while I like to write a blog post outlining what I’ve been up to over the previous few years here at Stamen Design. Last year (2023) I reached a bigger milestone with the studio, having been with the studio for an entire decade. Wow! Most of the time, it feels like...

Helvetica is more than a font, it’s a state of mind

Alan McConchie | 01.30.24

One of our biggest projects last year was an update of our classic basemap styles, working hard with our partners at Stadia to adapt these maps to modern infrastructure and keep them running for years to come. As of October 31, we completed the transition and all our basemap users are now using Stadia’s infrastructure....

Stamen x Stadia: harnessing modern vector cartography

Alan McConchie | 10.03.23

Not long after Stamen created our first Toner, Watercolor, and Terrain styles, a new technology came along: vector maps. Though it still used the paradigm of dividing up the world into map tiles, vector maps divide up the data into pre-processed chunks instead of the map itself. In vector cartography, the map is drawn dynamically...

Stamen x Stadia: familiar maps, brand new data

Alan McConchie | 09.26.23

Since 2011, Stamen has provided basemaps built upon OpenStreetMap (OSM), but it’s been several years since we updated the underlying data in them. We received a grant from the Knight Foundation a few years after their release to refresh Toner and Terrain, but it’s no small feat to keep a worldwide map updated with the...

Stamen x Stadia: the end of the road for Stamen’s legacy map tiles

Alan McConchie | 09.18.23

As you may have heard, we’ve partnered with Stadia Maps to create updated and modernized versions of our venerable basemap styles on Stadia’s infrastructure. You can read more about the announcement here and learn about some of the amazing features in the new maps in our recent blog post “Here Comes the Future of Stamen...

Here comes the future of Stamen Maps

Alan McConchie | 07.28.23

Since 2011, Stamen has provided free custom-designed basemaps for the whole world, for anyone to use, for any purpose. Long after other map providers went out of business, started requiring API keys, or charging for usage of their maps, we kept providing our maps for free. Why did we keep doing it, years after others...

Stamen at State of the Map

Alan McConchie | 06.07.23

This week, Stamen will be attending the State of the Map US conference in Richmond, Virginia! We’ve been attending these OpenStreetMap conferences (either the international State of the Map or this US-based version) for over a decade, and it’s always exciting to feel the energy of this lively community of open source mappers. The OpenStreetMap...

The charismatic megafauna of climate change maps

Alan McConchie | 04.27.23

In the latest episode of the Stamen Pollinate podcast, Stephanie May talked with cartographer Jeffrey Linn about his fascinating series of sea level rise maps and about the concept of “speculative cartography”. Maps that show familiar coastal cities flooded by water are viscerally terrifying and visually compelling, but as cartographers we often struggle with the...

Mapping the endangered California coast

Alan McConchie | 04.24.23

In preparation for Earth Day 2023, Stamen Design has been working with our old friend Al Ramadan to make an interactive map of the proposed West Cliff Recreation Area in the city of Santa Cruz, California.