Grassroots Mapping is a series of participatory mapping projects involving communities in cartographic dispute. Seeking to invert the traditional power structure of cartography, the grassroots mappers used helium balloons and kites to loft their own “community satellites” made with inexpensive digital cameras.

Solar hot air balloon tests in Tbilisi, Georgia

July 24th, 2010 by Jeffrey Warren

Brief and very low-altitude flight...

A group of tech enthusiasts and bloggers in Tbilisi Georgia joined me and Sopho from OpenMapsCaucasus to prototype some solar hot air balloons for use in balloon mapping. Helium in Georgia is exorbitantly expensive – $700 for a 250-cubic foot tank, which would cost $125 in the US or $250 in the West Bank (and would last for up to 8 flights). To try to get around the helium cost issue, we’re trying a variety of other means to get cameras up in the air.

This flight wasn’t successful – we reached only about 10 meters – but perhaps with darker plastic, or in lower winds, this could be a viable replacement for helium.

Direct sunlight, finally

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One Response to “Solar hot air balloon tests in Tbilisi, Georgia”

  1. cesarharada Says:

    We’ll need to find a very light weight camera ;
    I reckon hacking a cheap USB webcam + SD
    Any leads for a super cheap and light-weight camera?

    And for the black film ? I found this black rubber :

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