This is the place to discover everything you need to know about me, no matter if we're already acquainted or it's the first time we've met.
The long and short of it
- I'm named after the bird. Yes, really — one flew into the hospital when I was born so my original name is now my middle name
- I'm a spatial visualisation consultant with a specialism in prototypes and 3D visualisation in a Web browser — you can hire my services
- You could also describe me as a creative technologist who has a mild obsession with learning and experimenting
- You can find me on Twitter at @robhawkes
- I've been programming for 20+ years, over two-thirds of my life!
- I've worked remotely for most of my career so I'm comfortable with distributed teams and asynchronous communication
- When given something previously unknown to me I'll quickly learn enough to be dangerous with it — this is my secret sauce (don't tell anyone!)
- One of my superpowers is that I know how to research things effectively — I can't rest until I've found what I'm looking for!
- In my spare time you can find me taking landscape photos in the mountains of Eryri (Snowdonia) in North Wales
How do I pay the bills?
I help businesses get the most out of spatial data and visualisation in a Web browser, with a specialism in early-stage prototypes and 3D / WebGL.
I do this through my consultancy company.
Here are a few of the things I've helped businesses with recently:
- Processing huge amounts of spatial data to be utilised efficiently within a browser
- Prototyping visualisations of complex spatial data in compelling ways
- Creating a bespoke WebGL spatial visualisation framework
- Providing domain expertise on how to approach spatial visualisation in a browser
- Using my unique background and experience to bring fresh ideas
- Taking disparate ideas and turning them into a functional reality
- Squeezing as much performance out of browsers as possible while avoiding common quirks and pitfalls
Want to see how my company can help you with spatial data and visualisation? Get in touch and let's start talking.
What's my career history?
I wasn't always a spatial visualisation consultant. In fact, I was nearly a graphic designer! Here's are some of the hats I've worn over the years, starting with the most recent.
Spatial visualisation consultancy
You already know about this one, there's an entire section about it above!
Senior Principal Engineer
Prior to my current consultancy I was a Senior Principal Engineer at Wood Mackenzie, an energy research company.
During my time there I was specifically focused on spatial data visualisation, wrangling huge amounts of data so that it could be efficiently displayed in real-time within a browser.
I was also responsible for wearing multiple hats, working independently on functional prototypes for new visualisations and potential products for the global business.
I've worked in numerous roles at a Senior Engineer level, specialising in — you guessed it — spatial visualisation within a browser. These roles usually involved being solely responsible for or working within a small team on the development of spatial Web apps.
Founding my own startup
I spent a few years working on my own spatial visualisation startup ViziCities, a consultancy and open-source WebGL framework for spatial visualisation in a browser.
This was the spark that set me down the path of spatial visualisation that I'm still following to this day.
Exploring developer relations
After I left university I joined the global Developer Relations team at Mozilla. Why developer relations? Because it was a dream job for me — I got to be on the leading edge of Web technology and paid to learn and teach others.
During my time at Mozilla I got to travel the world, speaking at countless events about future technology coming to Web browsers. More often than not I spoke about the technologies surrounding Web-based gaming and graphics.
I spent a little while longer doing developer relations at Pusher (a real-time messaging startup) before moving away from developer relations to focus on what I really wanted to do — spatial visualisation.
Web design was my way in
I'm old enough to remember building websites in Geocities and Microsoft Frontpage. In fact, I created my first website when I was 12 and it was about cheats for Digimon virtual pets. Those were simpler times.
An industrial designer in another life
Not many people know that my original passion was graphic design and I even went to university — for a year — to study industrial design (the design of objects and consumer products).
Fortunately I came to my senses and realised that I should pursue what was then just a hobby, computer programming. I still apply my interest and experience with graphic design to this day.
Where can you find me online?
What stuff do I use?
Here's a list of the gear that I use on a regular basis — I'll update this list over time as I replace things or attain something new.
- Threadripper 1950X (16-core beast of a CPU)
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super
- Windows 10
- Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)
- Visual Studio Code
- Canon 5D Mark IV
- DJI Mavic Pro
Is it Rob or Robin?
Robin is preferred, though I used to go by Rob for a long time so my old friends occasionally still refer to me that way. It doesn't help that my Twitter account is @robhawkes so I can see why people still assume I go by Rob.
TL;DR; If we don't know each other yet then stick with Robin.
Did I really write a book?
I did! It's all about HTML5 Canvas and I wrote it in 2011. You can still buy it today!