— Below is a little background about myself and WSM —
My interest in geography began pretty much as a kid the first time I looked at a world map realized what it was trying to tell me— there’s a world outside your hometown, and it is a gigantic and diverse place. At some point in the 90s I got a hold of a NatGeo ‘geographic encyclopedia‘, a humongous book (the thing was about 1500 enlarged pages and weighed maybe 15-20 lbs.) and just never stopped absorbing it.
I tried my hand at drawing my own maps, both on paper and in MS Paint. They’d see the light of day for barely five minutes before I’d crumple them up (or delete the file) and toss them in the trash— the perfectionist in me never being satisfied. I’d have to wait another decade before I’d enter the realm of ArcGIS and start making maps I could be proud of.After a tumultuous four year stint in the army where at one point I found myself in a military headquarters in Baghdad plotting pins on a huge wall map of the city for military intelligence, I went to Rowan University and got a degree in GIS. My first efforts to participate in the Openstreetmap project took place here and I also contributed to research on climate change. I also did a bit of travelling abroad and stumbled upon the Gallery of Maps located in Vatican City.
I started experimenting with woodworking and lasering at a makerspace in Philadelphia during the summer of 2017 while working a full time GIS job. I was inspired by other makers (Phillylovenotes, Shawnxstl) and I got the idea soon thereafter to combine the power of GIS, lasers, and Openstreetmap to produce the beautiful wooden maps you see on the site today. It wasn’t easy, but I spent over a year refining my woodworking and building the digital infrastructure that would eventually become the engine that drives WoodScape Maps.I soon left my comfy but ultimately unsatisfying job to finally found WoodScape Maps the following year; as cliche as it may sound, “pursuing your dreams” is exactly what I’m doing.It’s funny how things turn out, and I never thought I’d be doing what I am today. In hindsight, it all seems like a peculiar series of cascading events that just had me in the right place at the right time. I didn’t start out with a grand vision or huge goal, but I created one along the way; I simply reacted to the circumstances around me and the resources I found while taking full advantage of the skills and knowledge I had at hand.