What we do

Collect, clean, and manage spatial information and datasets.

Gathering information is often the most time-consuming part of data analysis. Then once you find the maps or files that you need, they are often in the wrong format, poorly organized, and difficult to manage. We simplify this work by offering clean and organized spatial datasets in addition to finding the exact datasets you need.

Visualize spatial information.

A famous philosopher once noted that "the world is a picture" -- an observation never truer than in our current time. Translating information about the world into visual forms is critical to achieving goals. We storify spatial data by using maps and other interactive web content to analyze and share the world.

Conduct data analysis and reporting.

Big data is useless without meaning. We focus on deriving content from data analysis that is both actionable and meaningful.

Design and build interactive web-based applications.

Making spatial data analysis, its actions, and its outcomes available to public audiences is key to building public awareness of and trust in urban development issues. We work to translate research findings into easily-digestible interactive content and to invite cross-constituency interactions through creative digital interfaces. This is how we make big data meaningful.

Develop workshops and trainings on spatial data research, design, and visualization.

We love to share our knowledge, especially by bringing together technologists, humanists, and designers to discuss how we can make our cities better places to work and live. We also offer private workshops on data visualization, spatial research, and design programming.

Provide strategic services for data-driven preservation planning, urban redevelopment, and community engagement.

Not sure where to start? Let us help you make a plan for your business or organization.


Urban Open Data

UOD gathers the open data sites of cities and countries around the world into a single interactive map. The project grew out of our commitment to information sharing and thus reflects our contribution to fostering democratic access to publicly generated data.


PARCi is the Public Archive of Architecture and the City, a digital historical atlas of global urbanism. Architects, planners, preservationists, and researchers can use PARCi's fully-vectorized historical base maps and its analytical tools to generate qualitative and quantitative analyses of architectures and cities without having any GIS training.

Chicago Architects Project

Chicago Architects Project is an ongoing research project by the Society of Architectural Historians that serves to illustrate relationships among and between architects in the Chicago area. Studio Plat contributed to CAP by transforming a static genealogical tree into a dynamic web-based application that allows users to trace the lineage of Chicagoland architects and architectural firms.

Data Humanism by Design

We bring together humanists, technologists, and designers through our Data Humanism by Design (DHxD) workshops, public talks, and community events. The next DHxD workshop focuses on how to translate and visualize research questions for broad public audiences. Workshop participants can choose to attend either a single introductory session or an in-depth two-week module to learn interactive visualizations for qualitative research using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. No previous coding or design experience necessary.


Jana Cephas

Jana Cephas
Founder + Director

Jana Cephas is a designer, historian, writer, and JavaScript developer who studies the interactions between people, places, and technologies. Prior to founding Plat, Jana served as a founding coordinator of the Critical Conservation program at Harvard Graduate School of Design and a thesis advisor in the Art, Design and the Public Domain program, where she directed student projects concerned with urban conservation, cultural landscapes, and social engagement. She has also taught at University of Michigan, Northeastern University, and Cranbrook Academy of Art. Jana holds a Ph.D. in History of Architecture and Urban Planning from Harvard University and a Master of Architecture from the University of Detroit Mercy.

Get in touch

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