Enabling Investigations in Collaborative Complex Geospatial Tools

Palantir Product Design Intern – Summer 2019

Role: One of three designers working on Palantir Gaia while owning and leading the entire problem space around investigative workflows. Working alongside a product manager, design lead, development team, and partnering closely with various client-facing teams.

Result: Thorough decomposition around various investigative workflows guided design and implementation of new features and frameworks for a traditionally operational complex tool — successfully integrating the workflows of over 5 major clients with thousands of users.


With maps being a main interest of mine, I focused on working on a complex geospatial tool called Palantir Gaia (A module part of Palantir Gotham) as part of my internship. Gaia was built as a way to give these teams that may span across the world a single source of truth when it comes to their geospatial data. Use cases include planning and executing emergency response operations during natural disasters.

However, Gaia has recently become a product of choice over the old Palantir Gotham Map by groups with investigative workflows. This means, instead of looking to create a plan of action, they are using geospatial data to answer questions to find patterns or abnormal behaviour to prevent things like human and drug trafficking.

Protected Projects

Much of the artifacts I’ve worked on are classified and under an NDA, but would be happy to walk through my design process and product decisions through an email or call.

Most notably, I initiated a thorough research and validation process with 5 major clients throughout this project by gathering qualitative insights on explorations and iterations— leading to solutions most optimized for seamless workflows between Palantir Gotham and Gaia platforms.

I’ve gotten to dive into the world of data visualization through learning the history of maps, playing around with everyone’s favourite data vis playground, and exploring colour and form. Though my comfort zone and strength lies in asking questions and problem decomposition, I’ve also trained myself to become more detail-oriented by exploring more visual design and interaction design cases than I have ever before. Not to mention, getting to implement some of these visual changes using React.js has engraved the importance of details! details! details! into my head.

Overall, I’ve used design to re-invent data visualization within collaborative complex tools for all types of workflows, in all of its stages, making interactive information graphics and geospatial data just a little easier to understand.

I'm a small designer, here on medium, blogging about big dreams. Find me @ queeniwu.com

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