Derek Watkins


I'm a Graphics Editor at The New York Times, where I variously work as a designer, developer, reporter and geographer to visually present the news.

How ISIS Expands


The New York Times, July 2015 Things I did: Front-end design and web development. Tools I used: HTML/CSS, Javascript.
A look at the methods of ISIS' expansion designed primarily for mobile readers.

Arctic Ice Reaches a Low Winter Maximum


The New York Times, March 2015 Things I did: Writing, reporting, data collection, chart making. Tools I used: Photoshop, Illustrator.
A short science article with integrated charts and graphics about sea ice extent in the Arctic.

The Dawn Wall: El Capitan’s Most Unwelcoming Route


The New York Times, January 2015 Things I did: Reporting.
A 3D look at the route of Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's free climb of the Dawn Wall on Yosemite's El Capitan.

The Path of the Ebola Outbreak


The New York Times, December 2014 Things I did: Imagery processing, map design. Tools I used: Photoshop, Illustrator, GDAL/OGR.
Motion graphic tracing the early phases of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Boko Haram: The Other Islamic State


The New York Times, December 2014 Things I did: Map design. Tools I used: Photoshop, Illustrator, GDAL/OGR.
A look at how the radical group Boko Haram has spread and solidified control in northern Nigeria.

The Most Detailed Maps You’ll See From the Midterm Elections


The New York Times, November 2014 Things I did: Map design, back-end programming to generate maps smoothly on election night. Tools I used: Tilemill, GDAL/OGR, PostGIS, Ruby, BASH scripts, Node.js.
Precinct-level maps of results for several key states during the 2014 midterm elections, published the morning after.

Norway the Slow Way


The New York Times, September 2014 Things I did: Map design. Tools I used: Illustrator, D3js, Javascript, GDAL/OGR.
A Journey in Which I Travel North, on the World’s Most Beautiful Voyage, Searching for the Specter of My Grandfather and a Glimpse of the Ever-Elusive Midnight Sun.

Assessing the Damage and Destruction in Gaza


The New York Times, August 2014 Things I did: Data analysis, map design. Tools I used: Photoshop, Illustrator, GDAL/OGR.
We used Landsat 8 imagery and UNOSAT damage assessments during Israel's 2014 invasion of Gaza to trace the contours of destruction across the region.

A Rogue State Along Two Rivers


The New York Times, July 2014 Things I did: Imagery processing, map design. Tools I used: Photoshop, Illustrator, D3js, GDAL/OGR.
An examination of how ISIS came to control such large swaths of territory, framed by the meanders of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

How Russia Took Control of Crimea


The New York Times, February 2014 Things I did: Reporting, data collection, map design. Tools I used: Illustrator, Photoshop, GDAL/OGR, ArcMap.
A series of maps covering several weeks of protests, government overthrows, and military maneuvers in Ukraine and Crimea, including a large print spread showing how Russia invaded the peninsula.

Long-Lived Greatness


The New York Times, February 2014 Things I did: Data collection, chart design and interaction. Tools I used: R, D3js.
A scatter plot comparing Derek Jeter's remarkable longevity to the performance other shortstops.

Who Owns the Arctic


The New York Times, December 2013 Things I did: Reporting, map design. Tools I used: Illustrator, Photoshop, Node.js, D3js, GDAL/OGR.
Broad overview of the status of the Arctic region in terms of geopolitics and environmental resources. Accompanied an op-ed in the New York Times' Sunday Review section.

Mapping the Destruction of Typhoon Haiyan


The New York Times, November 2013 Things I did: Data collection, map design. Tools I used: Illustrator, Photoshop .
Various maps produced on a breaking news deadline outlining the damage caused to the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan on November 8th. Awarded a bronze medal at the Malofiej 22 infographics competition.

A Game of Shark and Minnow


The New York Times Magazine, October 2013 Things I did: Reporting, data collection, imagery processing, map design. Tools I used: Illustrator, Photoshop, BASH scripts, GDAL/OGR, ArcMap.
Multimedia treatment of a story about geopolitics as lived by 8 Filipino soldiers on a decrepit ship stuck on a reef in the South China Sea. Nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy and a National Magazine Award.

Reshaping New York


The New York Times, August 2013 Things I did: Data analysis and GIS processing, some design work. Tools I used: Illustrator, Photoshop, GDAL/OGR, ArcMap.
Retrospective on changes to the landscape of New York City during Bloomberg's tenure as mayor. Awarded a silver medal from the Society of News Design, and silver (print) and gold (online) medals at the Malofiej 22 infographics competition.

Riding the New Silk Road


The New York Times, July 2013 Things I did: Front-end development, reporting, imagery processing, map design. Tools I used: Illustrator, Photoshop, D3js, BASH scripts, ArcMap, GDAL/OGR.
Multimedia and map elements visualize Hewlett-Packard's overland rail route for transporting electronics from China to Europe.

In China, A Staggering Migration


The New York Times, June 2013 Things I did: Data processing, texture design. Tools I used: Illustrator, Photoshop, BASH scripts, ArcMap, GDAL/OGR.
A video flyover and a print graphic: two approaches to visualizing the scale of China's proposal to move 250 million individuals into cities. Awarded a bronze medal at the Malofiej 22 infographics competition.

Few Women on Some Senate Committees


The New York Times, June 2013 Things I did: Visualization and interaction design/development. Tools I used: D3js.
An isometric graphic charting the history of women's presence on various committees in the U.S. senate.

Corridor of Death and Damage


The New York Times, May 2013 Things I did: Map design, damage assessment. Tools I used: Illustrator, ArcMap.
An early view of damage from a tornado that slashed Moore, OK in May 2013. Published 2 days after the storm, based on photo analyses by the graphics desk. Awarded a bronze medal at the Malofiej 22 infographics competition.

Snow plows in New York City


February 2013 Things I did: Data collection, page design and development. Tools I used: Photoshop, Ruby, Javascript.
A timelapse of plowed streets in New York after a blizzard that came through the area in early 2013.

Superstorm Sandy


Columbia University Spatial Information Design Lab, January 2013 Things I did: Data collection, photo processing, map design, page design and development. Tools I used: Illustrator, Photoshop, D3js, ArcMap, ImageMagick.
A project using maps, census data, and aerial photography to reveal the impacts of the storm along the New Jersey and New York coasts.

Counties Blue and Red Move to the Right


The New York Times, November 2012 Things I did: Map design. Tools I used: Illustrator, ArcMap.
Two-page print graphic illustrating differences between the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. Awarded a silver medal from the Society of News Design, and a gold medal and best printed map award at the Malofiej 21 infographics competition.

The World Records That Fell


The New York Times, August 2012 Things I did: Data processing, design and development. Tools I used: Illustrator, Javascript.
An exploration of world records as part of the Times' 2012 Olympics coverage. Joins historical data with live results to show how modern records compare to past performances.

Interactive "Islands of Mankind"


April 2012 Things I did: Design and development. Tools I used: Illustrator, Javascript, QGIS.
Interactive global population density map inspired by William Bunge's "Islands of Mankind".

Posted


June 2011 Things I did: Data scraping, map design and development. Tools I used: Processing.
An animated map built with Processing that uses the spread of post offices to show historical US expansion into continent.

Generic Toponyms of U.S. Streams


March 2011 (Revision) Things I did: Data collection, map design, writing. Tools I used: Illustrator, ArcMap.
A map of every stream in the United States, color-coded based on the generic portion of their name (like "brook" or "bayou").
Email: dwtkns at gmail dot com
Twitter: @dwtkns