Occasionally, I succumb to the temptation to do small projects (some smaller than others) that are not related to my main areas of research, teaching, and service. They are more like geographical hobbies than anything else, and I rarely expect them to become peer-reviewed research or anything like that. Instead, I more-or-less give away the completed projects via the web or other venue.
Images of Wisconsin
This is a project I worked on-and-off for several years along with my father, Todd Fonstad, who was the prime mover. The Images of Wisconsin are a collection of thousands of air photos taken by hand by pilot Carl Guell, as he flew the state governor and others around Wisconsin for over a period of a quarter century. We have geolocated and described/interpreted these photos to give a baseline for geographic change. The current online collection is only a few dozen photos, but my intention is to radically augment this number.
Raised Relief Maps
I have always been fascinated by raised relief maps, a bit of a throwback now that we have realtime digital display. At the Department of Geography at the University of Oregon, we have a superb example of a large, classically-made raised relief map built 100 years ago. As part of the centennial of its production, I am experimenting with making raised relief maps using my 3D printer and overlaid with more modern design maps and imagery.
One of the things a person learns immediately upon moving to Oregon is the explosion of the craft beer, winery, and related alcohol production industry that has occurred beginning in the 1970s and 1980s. Simply keeping track of where and what everything stands currently is a challenge. I have produced a simple database of the current production companies and have begun to make them into maps.