Stamen is a design and technology studio in San Francisco.

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We've been designing and building maps and data visualizations in San Francisco's Mission District for happy clients since 2001. Stamen is a 100% independently owned and operated company.

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Read more about the studio, catch up on the latest at our blog, follow us on twitter, or subscribe to an RSS feed for updates.

Stamen Alumni

Over the years we've had the pleasure of working with some of the best in the business. Some have since moved on to other ventures, to places like Trulia, The Smithsonian, Code for America, Square, and Apple . Watch for these names, they're bound to surprise you with what comes next!

Heather Grates

Heather Grates is a Visual Designer at Stamen. Her job is all about making data-driven works as beautiful as they are functional, with particular attention paid to the development of Stamen’s visual brand.

Heather received her BFA in Graphic Design from Art Center in December 2013. Interested in how visual design and design thinking can affect social impact, she decided to minor in Design Matters. This aspect of her studies led her to Uganda for a semester with a fellowship in Art Center’s MFA program, where she worked with the UNICEF Innovation Lab to apply design process and technology to issues of female entrepreneurship and gender equality. She has also worked on campaigns for Room to Read and the UN Population Fund.

“A lot of noble efforts get lost without good visual representation, effective communication, and design thinking as process,” she says. She looks forward to continuing on this path, marrying a powerful design practice with social impact.

Ian Heisters

Ian Heisters came to Stamen to focus on data visualization in physical and interactive contexts. Before Stamen, Ian founded and led a small art and technology studio called Heisters Generative that executed large-scale projects with Pivotal Labs, Stimulant, Camille Utterback and others. Ian’s focus on physical interaction is grounded in over a decade of experience as a professional dancer and choreographer, and he continues to present work in a variety of local and national venues.

Kate Watkins

Kate's job is all about making data-driven works as beautiful as they are functional.

In the years that followed getting her BS in Journalism and BFA in painting from University of Colorado Boulder, Kate worked at San Francisco gallery 111 Minna as an assistant curator and then at advertising powerhouses like twofifteenmccann. There, in addition to honing her craft in visual design, Kate had an experience that would change her life: she got her hands on a pre-release Kinect, igniting a curiosity and passion for integrating technology into her practice as an artist. This desire drew Kate towards Parsons’ Design and Technology program, where she received her MFA, and soon became a lifelight.

Kate flourished during her studies at The New School, experimenting with physical computing, computer tracking, wearable technology and a series of audio / visual projects. During the program, she took a fellowship at Eyebeam and traveled to China to work with CAFFA students on an audio installation for Beijing Design Week. Following graduation, Kate worked at Parsons as a Graduate Research Assistant on a multitouch table project and showed projects like Midi Typewriter at digital media center Harvestworks.

Her time since then has been filled with freelance UX design for companies like BBDO, Mekanism, and A&E Networks. That is, until she came to work at Stamen, debuting her work with a lovely basemap for Pinterest.

George Oates

George joined Stamen as Director, Interactive Design in 2012. Hailing from Adelaide, South Australia, she has worked in the web since 1996, mostly around the front-end of things. Before Stamen, George led the Open Library project at Internet Archive, and before that, created the Flickr Commons program after enjoying 4 years as Flickr's lead designer.

A renowned public speaker, George has spoken to a wide variety of crowds around the world about web design, community management, curation and digital humanities. She was appointed a Research Associate position with the Smithsonian Institution Libraries in January of 2011, and recently joined the San Francisco Choral Society.

Shawn Allen

Shawn Allen is a Stamen partner, designer, and programmer. As Interaction Director, he both facilitates communication between Stamen's design and technology teams and directs the design and implementation of interactive projects. He also teaches and consults journalists, policymakers, and the public sector on strategies for making information available to the public.

Shawn has worked in and on the web for over a decade, first as an interaction designer, then developing user interfaces for console video games at Maxis, then as a freelance web designer and developer before joining Stamen in 2005. He has taught data visualization courses at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, the Interaction Design MFA program at the Parsons School of Visual Arts in New York, and GAFFTA in San Francisco. He speaks regularly at design, technology and urban planning conferences, and develops open source software to support Stamen's practice and the broader developer community..

Zach Watson

Zach works in the sweet spot where data, code, and design meet. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, he cut his eyeteeth programming for his high school robotics team. He studied architecture and lighting design at UC Berkeley, where he discovered the joys of procedural graphics, woodworking, and all-night charettes.

His personal work has incorporated elements of cartography, game design, and emergent behavior. He has worked as a freelance datamunger and designer, and made the transition to full-time working for Seed Media Group in New York, before returning to San Francisco and Stamen. He maintains a portfolio at


Mike Tahani, Design Technologist

Prior to joining Stamen, Mike Tahani was an intern at the LA Times Data Desk. His mission is to use data to create works that are both clarifying and transformative. Over the past few years, he has developed a rich portfolio as an independent data visualization artist.

Geraldine Sarmiento, Interaction and Graphic Designer

Geraldine Sarmiento joined the studio in February 2008 as Stamen's Interaction and Graphic Designer. She collaborates in developing all the visual elements for Stamen's ongoing map, visualization and interface projects. At Stamen, she continues her research and experiments with pattern generation and data visualization.

Geraldine is an artist with many years of professional experience as a visual designer for print and web. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Cooper Union, and a Master of Professional Studies degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, where she developed a thesis on the use of algorithms called L-systems as a tool for design.

Amanda Willoughby, Production Director

As Production Director, Amanda Willoughby choreographs the studio's activities across projects, ensuring that all team members are working in concert. With a passion for focused forms of design collaboration, she works closely with teams from idea development to finished works. With one eye on daily task lists and the other on the studio's mission, she keeps the studio focused on pushing artistic and technical boundaries.

Amanda has been interested in the space between design and technology since earning a Bachelor of Science in Fine Arts from the University of Oregon. She's pursued her interest in complex information spaces working on the user experience design of a high speed stock trading system and an energy modeling and conservation app. While working for the UX consulting firm Adaptive Path, she managed projects with cross-disciplinary teams, large budgets and tight timelines for clients ranging from CNN to Cathay Pacific Airlines to The National Gallery of Art.

Nathaniel Kelso, Design Technologist

Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso is a veteran data visualization cartographer who joined the studio from the Washington Post in 2011, where he was the lead interactive cartographer in the news company's Information Design department. Nathaniel honed his research skills at National Geographic Maps is chief cartographer for, a free public domain GIS world base map, and maintains a blog at

Michal Migurski, Director of Technology

Stamen partner Michal Migurski oversaw the research and development of Stamen's technology work since 2003, from running delivered code to prototypes and experiments to far-left-field disruption. He maintains an active weblog at, and likes to talk in front of groups.

Rachel Binx: Design Technologist

Originally hailing from the high desert of New Mexico, Rachel Binx moved to California in 2006 to attend Santa Clara University. After receiving a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Art History, she freelanced in data visualization and web design. Rachel joined Stamen in the spring of 2011, nestling herself into the happy intersection between programming and design.

In her spare time she enjoys making jewelry, traveling the world, and continuing her long-term goal of becoming a polyglot. She maintains a blog at and posts photos to flickr.

Jeff Easter: Design Technologist

photo by Hayeon Yoo

Jeff works hands-on with technology to understand how it may better be used in society. His scope requires examining intimate details as well as how products and services are connected as part of a larger system. Prior to Stamen, Jeff studied Industrial Design at Carnegie Mellon and received an MA from the Design Interactions course at the Royal College of Art in London. He has worked as a furniture builder, exhibit designer at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, and as an interaction designer with Schulze and Webb, a London design studio. He occasionally blogs on

Michael Evans: Web Developer

Michael is a web developer from Palo Alto. He was most recently a fellow at Code for America, where he led development of the Open311 Dashboard and served as a Google Summer of Code mentor. He was a researcher at UCLA's Department of Chemistry before becoming fascinated with data visualization.

Aaron Straup Cope: Design Technologist

Photo by Tom Coates on flickr

Aaron is Canadian by birth, American by descent, North American by experience et Montréalais au fond. Aaron was a senior engineer at Flickr, focusing on mobile and geo/mapping related tools, before leaving to join Stamen in 2009. Once upon a time, he was still a practicing painter. Aaron does not normally speak in the third person and by all accounts "there's flesh under all that RDF-talk."

Aaron blogs at, posts photos on flickr, presented Buckets and Vessels at Museums and the Web 2010, and is the author of

Ben Cerveny: Advisor

Ben Cerveny is a strategic and conceptual advisor to Stamen, helping to articulate an approach toward creative visualization and to evaluate and develop potential partners and engagements relative to that vision.

Ben is a highly regarded experience designer and conceptual strategist, guiding the creative direction and vision of multiple successful endeavors, both public and private. His clients include Nokia, Sony, and Philips, as well as the Cities of Amsterdam and Barcelona. Previously, he was founder of the Experience Design Lab at frogdesign, an international product design company, and a lead designer and platform development strategist at Ludicorp, makers of Flickr.

Ben is a twelve-year veteran of the interaction design field. His past accomplishments include the design of network media sharing applications at Be Inc. and Silicon Graphics, and the management of the Research and Development group at web services agency Organic. He is the author of a forthcoming book on games as system models, and is a Director of a research foundation focused on investigating the intersection of play, interaction, and urban space.

(photo by Timo Arnall)

Deborah Monaghan: Director of Operations

Originally an East Coaster, Deborah took a degree in English from the University of Rhode Island prior to studying photography, design and advertising at art school. Her life as a roving generalist has included an array of experiences that primed her for life at Stamen: gardener, music promoter, a stint in sales & development and project manager (at unnamed branding firm).

Deborah oversees both the big picture and the day-to-day details of Stamen, from finances to schedules, to studio and project management. Deborah's started working with Stamen in June of 2007 and has been happy ever since.

Jen Rainin: Studio Manager

Mother of two amazing little boys, working actress, and PhD in literacy from the University of Illinois Chicago, Jen is well prepared for her role as Stamen den mother.

Jen is responsible for creating and maintaining an environment where our designers can thrive. She manages the day-to-day finances and operations, reviews schedules and keeps the studio job board current. She also works with the design team to establish internal project goals and ensure smooth workflow. Jen makes Stamen a place we all want to play in every day.

Patrick Dillon: Executive Producer

Patrick Dillon

Patrick Dillon was Stamen’s executive producer from 2010 to 2011, responsible for shaping and managing our long-term aspirations as well as helping drive and sustain our immediate projects. A Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, author and editor, and former software executive, he was executive editor California Magazine, and before that he was editor of Forbes ASAP magazine. He also directed web content for Quokka Sports, the digital broadcaster of sporting events, including the Whitbread Round the World yacht race and the Sydney Olympics.

His journalism background includes managing a large metropolitan newsroom—that of the San Jose Mercury News. His columns and essays have appeared in more than 100 newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and Fast Company magazine. He is the author of a satirical novel The Last Best Thing and the non-fiction book Lost at Sea, proclaimed one of the best non-fiction books of 1998. His most recent book “Circle of Greed: The Rise and Fall of The Lawyer Who Brought Corporate America to its Knees,” has been nominated jointly by the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs as one of the top business books of 2010. He has consulted for the University of Chicago’s publications and MIT’s “Technology Review.”

He owns a farm in Sonoma County, California, where he grows fruit for local restaurants. He also has worked as an assistant in a prestigious Sonoma County wine cellar and crewed and cooked on a crabbing boat in the Bering Sea.

Sha Hwang: Design Technologist

Born in 1985 into a family of Los Angeles merchants and warlords, Sha found employ in the mercenary armies of Willie Brown's corporate raiders when changes in the local zoning laws prompted the clan to move northward. He has lived in New York, Berkeley, San Francisco, West Lake, Ithaca and other cities, and is the kind of person who turns his peripatetic wanderings into data visualizations.

Sha left engineering to study architecture at UC Berkeley and received his degree in 2007. Always the nerdy architect, Sha did scripting, animation, and design in New York City at IwamotoScott, architecture at MESH and motion graphicsat Brooklyn Digital Foundry.

Sha's visualization of his spending on brought him to our attention, and Sha returned to San Francisco to join Stamen in fall 2008. He maintains a weblog at

Tomas Apodaca: Interaction Designer


Tomas Apodaca has been building interfaces and visualizations with Stamen since 2004. Before that, he was a cofounder of Angry Monkey, a company that created feature film websites and DVD menus, produced cartoons and a music video, developed prototypes for commercial project management software and spun off a research and consulting firm. Before that, he worked at Organic, where he made games and interactive pieces for that company's many corporate clients. See his personal homepage to learn more.

Tom Carden: Interaction Designer & Engineer

Tom Carden joined Stamen in November 2006. Before that, he wrote passenger flow simulation software for London-based architecture firm YRM and studied for his Masters in Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation at University College London. He also has a Bachelor's degree in Artificial Intelligence with Mathematics from the University of Leeds.

Tom's computer science background has always been balanced with a strong interest in design and visual arts and he is actively involved in the community surrounding the Processing development environment. He was an early participant in OpenStreetMap, a project that aims to create free maps of the world using GPS and aerial photography, and his personal weblog Random Etc. has been a place for thoughts, sketches, interactive maps and visualisations since 2003.