5 Minute Read | By: Avanti Krishnan
Nayeli is the Map Designer Team Lead at Mappedin. We're discussing her background in Architecture and the skills required to be an effective Map Designer.
Hi Nayeli, thank you for chatting with me. To start off, can you tell us what you do at Mappedin?
I work as the Map Designer Team Lead at Mappedin. My team is in charge of designing maps for our clients. We strive to make sure all of the brand colours are included, all of the information that they want is clearly displayed in their maps, and also ensuring that it meets visual standards.
This is definitely a very niche role. Can you tell me about some of the different tools that you and your team use?
We use a range of different tools to create maps. AutoCAD helps us clean up the files that we receive from our clients and ensure that there is accurate scaling as well. We also use Adobe Illustrator to clean our data and make sure it's perfect before we move into Mappedin's Map Editor and CMS. Another thing that the mapping team is in charge of is exporting those maps into different compatible formats. One of those formats is IMDF which is a vector data file created by Apple so we also use a custom exporter that we built to export those files and filter certain data.
You have a very interesting background. Before coming to Mappedin, you were working as an Architect. What was it that made you decide to join Mappedin?
I was looking for a place where I could apply my skill set which includes most of the tools and software that we use at Mappedin, but also a change of environment into a more technological setting. Usually in the architectural world, things tend to be very traditional and involve a lot of regulations and processes that are very repetitive. I wanted to try something new and Mappedin was the perfect place for me bring my skills since they were easily transferable to the role of the Map Designer.
Do you think that your skills as an Architect helped you as a Map Designer? Do they continue to help you as the Team Lead?
For sure! Everyone in the team has a background in design, which makes it very interesting. We all share certain hobbies and interests. Our team always looks for people with a certain attention to detail and someone that can identify colour palettes or can come up with a very creative approach to a specific kind of map.
Because Mappedin serves a range of different venues at Mappedin - whether a stadium, office, or retail venue - of course all of them have different needs. That means that the Map Designer has to make sure that the client's venue information is represented well and has the best presentation. In that sense, I definitely think that a background in design is helpful. Also, because of my background, the ability to interpret CAD files, floor plans, and blueprints comes naturally to me, but this is a skill that can be developed over time. The effect of the physical environment on people is something that comes from my architectural background and it is definitely one of my passions.
As you know, we've been working from home since mid-March. How has the whole experience of remote working been for you?
The transition to remote has been very seamless for the Map Design team since we had a few remote team members beforehand. The tools that we use and certain technological aspects of the job make it very easy for us to work independently but continue to collaborate as a team. It has definitely been challenging with respect to social interaction and that's one thing I miss about being in the office, but we try to schedule different meetings to overcome that. Our team has a standup meeting every morning where we get to talk about our updates, maybe spend some time playing a game, or just chatting in general which allows us to connect on a daily basis as a team.
Do you have any good advice for those working from home?
Since our role is so focused on design, colours, and visual aspects, it's been so useful to have additional monitors at home. It definitely feels like a similar office setting and is great ergonomically. Also, make sure that you stand and move around a lot more. We tend to walk a lot in the office, whether moving between meeting rooms or walking to the kitchen to get a coffee, so just having regular breaks and walking a bit is important.
Have you picked up any new projects or started any new hobbies since going remote?
Yes, I did! I've always loved painting, and occasionally try to pick up a few craft projects as well. Over the last few years, pottery has been a passion of mine and I've actually set up my own pottery studio at home. I get all my pottery pieces fired and glazed at another studio. Since we went remote, I was able to build a couple of gardening boxes in my backyard which was such a new and nice experience. This summer, I harvested more than 50 tomatoes and a big range of herbs and other vegetables like chillies, zucchini, eggplant, and fruits. Now we are looking to plant a winter crop as well with kale, broccoli, and potatoes.
That sounds wonderful! When you think about working with our team, what are the things that make you excited?
The best part of coming to work is being able to interact with so many people with different backgrounds and different interests as well. In my team, it is mainly working with other designers and architects and we are focused on creativity. But it is also interesting to see different interests among so many different people. For example, the developers at Mappedin love playing video games and I have been trying to understand the passion behind video game culture. I've been able to learn different things that I usually wouldn't be interested in because of this diversity within the team at Mappedin.
If someone new was joining Mappedin or your team, what would be your advice to them on their first day?
Mappedin is a company where opportunities can be created. Mappedin always welcomes new ideas from everyone including new employees -especially if you bring passion and if you are really invested in your role.
If you are interested in learning other things besides your particular role, everyone is very open to share what they do with you and give you the opportunity to shadow them and their work as well.
For example, the Sales team can communicate and present very effectively, so being able to shadow them and pick up certain tips will definitely assist someone who wants to improve on the same.