Tag Archives: visualization


Below is from an email I got from my brother Ben. Since I have a cool website, I figured I’d post it so you can all see how much work went into keeping the Fargo flood at bay.

On Friday, March 20, I officially moved from Fargo with my packed Honda Element. I wasn’t moving because of the forthcoming flood but rather for work. I had been telecommuting for concept3D, but the time had arrived to relocate to the Boulder headquarters.

Fargo flood news became increasingly dire over the weekend and on the following Tuesday I was on a plane heading back to help sandbag. Initially city officials estimated 1.5 million sandbags would be needed to hold back the rising Red River. A week, some rain, and a couple blizzards later volunteers had produced an amazing 3.5 million sandbags to hold back the record flood levels.

That is quite the feat and the numbers don’t need visuals to make an impact. However, since I live, eat, and breath SketchUp I could not help exploring these numbers in my favorite visualization application.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers an appropriately-filled sandbag measures 4 inches high by 10 inches wide by 16 inches long. The average weight is between 35 and 40 pounds.

For reference, here is one standard-sized sandbag next to concept3D’s resident design guru, Jin Pak.

a jin onebag2 Thats a lot of sand.

A stack of 2000 could be made by placing sandbags 10 wide, 10 deep, and 20 high. It was not uncommon for a line of hard-working volunteer sandbaggers to pass and place this many before taking a break.

b 2000 bags1 Thats a lot of sand.

The real cool figure is three-point-five million. That is the number of sandbags that all ages of volunteers cranked out in just a matter of days. These sandbags were police escorted on flatbed tractor-trailers from the numerous sandbag-making stations to dozens of dikes in the Fargo metro area. Many of these sandbag dikes ended up being taller than 4′ and a half-mile in length or longer.

c 3p5m Thats a lot of sand.

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