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.

Balloon Mapping the University of Kentucky Campus

December 9th, 2011 by Jeffrey Warren

Reposted from a Public Laboratory research note by Jeremy Crampton

The UK campus is getting mapped–with helium-filled balloons!

As part of an ongoing project associated with the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS) UK geography faculty and students have begun to map the campus from the air using balloons. The balloons, which are filled with lighter than air helium gas, are “tethered” with lengths of kite twine, to which a special camera rig (made from a recycled plastic soda bottle) is attached.

The camera dangles down and is set to take pictures every second. The pictures can then be “stitched” together in the PLOTS Map Knitter site.

This results in a composite image of the campus, which can be extended over time as more balloon missions are flown.

Follow our progress on the New Maps website!

2 Responses to “Balloon Mapping the University of Kentucky Campus”

  1. Brian Herbert Says:

    Hey Jeffrey, cool to see you doing work in my home state of Kentucky. Keep up the kick ass efforts and hopefully we cross paths some time again soon :)

  2. Jeffrey Warren Says:

    Hey Brian! Good to hear from you. I didn’t actually write this post, though, just reposted it from Jeremy’s.

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