What to do in Denver, during SAS Global Forum!


Are you going to Denver, Colorado, and wondering what fun/interesting/eclectic things you can do there? Then this is the map for you!

For the past couple of years, I've made maps of the city SAS Global Forum is in, pointing out some of the attractions that conference attendees might want to visit while in town. Here are links to my Orlando and Las Vegas maps from previous years. This year, the SAS Global Forum conference is in Denver, and below is my map.

Click the image below to see the interactive map & table with mouse-over text and drill down links. When you mouse over the markers you'll see the name of the attraction, and the distance from the conference center. Click on the markers and it will launch a Google search for that attraction. And if you're not patient enough to hover your mouse over each marker to see the names, there's a table following the map, so you can quickly peruse the entire list of attractions.

Technical Details

Since the target audience for this map is a bunch of computer geeks and SAS programmers, I thought you might be interested in the details of how I created it using SAS. As in past years, I basically used Proc GPlot to create a coordinate system and grid, and then annotated the OpenStreetMap map tiles behind it. I converted the latitude/longitude coordinates of the attractions to the OpenStreetMap coordinate system so I could annotate markers at the desired locations. And I also created the Denver logo using annotate.

The markers are a bit interesting... I wasn't satisfied with typical character-based markers, because they don't always point to the exact desired location (they can move around a bit, based on what size you select, etc). Therefore I used an annotated pie slice instead. The slice looks like an arrow, and the point of the arrow (which is the center of the pie) is guaranteed to be at the exact desired location.

The other cool part is the Denver logo (which I designed to look somewhat like this logo). I created it by layering and combining several pieces of annotated text and graphics. I'll walk you through the process...

First, I created a rectangle with a white background, and placed the desired text in it.

Next, I used a blue pie slice for the background/sky color.

Then a purple pie slice for the base of the mountains.

I added several white lines radiating from the center of the pie (these will be the rays coming from the sun). I programmatically looped through the angles I wanted, and then let SAS select a random length for each ray.

I then used a large yellow pie slice as the sun.

And added a jagged polygon as the mountain tops.

Next, I add a red polygon to represent a skyscraper. I could have used a rectangular bar, but I wanted the top corner to be chopped off to look similar to the logo I was imitating.

I then place a pie in the chopped-off corner, so it's a little more smooth (it's a subtle difference, but it's there!)

And for the final touch, I used character '25a0'x (filled square) of the 'Albany AMT/unicode' font to draw white windows on the skyscraper.

Did you know you could do that with SAS!?! I think it came out looking really nice.

What other attractions do you recommend, in Denver? (feel free to leave a comment)



About Author

Robert Allison

The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over a quarter century, and his specialty is customizing graphs and maps - adding those little extra touches that help them answer your questions at a glance. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University.


  1. Sara Russell on

    Something free and fun: walk around the River North Arts District and see the beautiful and often funky street art. I took pics of many pieces and have them hanging in my home. And Biju's Little Curry Shop for quick, delicious Indian fare.

  2. Denver Rockies baseball stadium, also there is a place outside Denver dedicated to Mother Cabrini that is worth visiting.

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