Sunday, November 04, 2012

Ignorance Required

For a couple of days now, I've been playing around with OpenLayers. Since it's been my first foray into anything related with online maps in general, I've had to pick up things at a much slower pace than I'd normally be comfortable with. One of the things I needed to do was to find out how to create a color-coded map, like this.

There was just one problem: I had no idea what that kind of map was named. And I can be really weird (just silently pass by) about being precise about things like names and spelling. So, I logged in on IRC and asked something like: hello. let's say i had a map and wanted to color regions based on some characteristic (average household income, for example). what's this called, and how may i go about doing this? in both the OpenLayers and Python channels on Freenode (#openlayers isn't very active in my opinion, but someone in #python might have done something similar).

After about 20 minutes with no answers, I realized that I was letting my desire to be on target (so know you know I can be perfectionist) manifest as a fear of looking like an ignoramus (yay! I know long words!), and for me, there are few things I'm probably scared of like being made to look like a fool, either by myself, or someone else. I decided to take the risk of looking like an idiot and google openlayers color coding. from one of the links displayed, I saw the word choropleth in the page text and so googled that. It turns out (like my machine learning lecturer is fond of saying) that was exactly what I wanted to do, and googling openlayers choropleth has, as is usual in today's world, overloaded me with information. As an added bonus, I found out about Natural Earth, which will probably be a very useful resource in future.

In the style of Box of Crayons' Great Work Provocations (a short, daily — working week only — newsletter on doing great work and which I highly recommend), how are you allowing a fear cripple your development? What can you embrace with courage today?

Have a great week ahead.

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