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.

Lee, NH PLOTS/FarmHack Meetup

May 29th, 2012 by cfastie

We had a successful day last week balloon mapping an agricultural experiment study in Lee, New Hampshire. Dorn Cox of GreenStart hosted the day at the site of a no-till trial where hairy vetch had been seeded the previous September into established hay field turf. Thirteen different experimental treatments with four replicates each are designed to reveal the best management practices for conserving fuel, enhancing soil carbon, and reducing weeds while switching from grass-based to legume-based cover.

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NDVI out of the shadows

May 15th, 2012 by cfastie

On May 5 my Public Laboratory infrared camera made its first photographic flight. The shutters of two Powershot A495 cameras, one modified to record only near-infrared (NIR) light, were triggered every 10 seconds by an AuRiCo KAP controller. The Levitation delta kite hoisted the rig over the northern edge of the Salisbury Swamp, VT. In about 1.5 hours, 420 synchronous pairs of normal and NIR photos were captured. It has taken a while to process just a fraction of these images, but the results are promising.

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Print maps from the PLOTS Archive and MapKnitter

May 10th, 2012 by Stewart Long

This was a bit lost in the hubbub over the Google announcement, but a few weeks ago we added a feature to order a print directly from MapKnitter and from the PLOTS map archive. Users can now click-through directly from their map details page. Public Laboratory map production is working towards a end-to-end open source solution:

  • Planning. Getting started with Public Lab map tools, collaborate, learn about safety first
  • Capture. Taking aerial images
  • Sorting. Selecting the best images locally or online with mapmill.org

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Print maps from the PLOTS Archive and MapKnitter

May 10th, 2012 by Stewart Long

This was a bit lost in the hubbub over the Google announcement, but a few weeks ago we added a feature to order a print directly from MapKnitter and from the PLOTS map archive. Users can now click-through directly from their map details page. Public Laboratory map production is working towards a end-to-end open source solution:

  • Planning. Getting started with Public Lab map tools, collaborate, learn about safety first
  • Capture. Taking aerial images
  • Sorting. Selecting the best images locally or online with mapmill.org

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Flight-ready MK111 timer

May 10th, 2012 by cfastie

I got the MK111 timer all wired up and integrated into the PLOTS Visible/NIR Camera Tool payload. I still have to endurance test the two 4LR44 batteries, but I will wait to do that in the air -- no reason to waste two $1 batteries and not get any aerial photos.

Flight-ready MK111 timer

May 10th, 2012 by cfastie

I got the MK111 timer all wired up and integrated into the PLOTS Visible/NIR Camera Tool payload. I still have to endurance test the two 4LR44 batteries, but I will wait to do that in the air -- no reason to waste two $1 batteries and not get any aerial photos.

Timeline of a Public Labs map project

May 8th, 2012 by Stewart Long

cross-posted from PBS's IdeaLab. How We Got Here: The Road to Public Lab's Map Project

Last week, Public Laboratory announced that public domain maps are now starting to show up on Google Earth and Google Maps. But how did the projects get there? Here's a timeline of a Public Laboratory map project.

MAKING A MAP

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Timeline of a Public Labs map project

May 8th, 2012 by Stewart Long

cross-posted from PBS's IdeaLab. How We Got Here: The Road to Public Lab's Map Project

Last week, Public Laboratory announced that public domain maps are now starting to show up on Google Earth and Google Maps. But how did the projects get there? Here's a timeline of a Public Laboratory map project.

MAKING A MAP

read more

PLOTS adoption of the CERN Open Hardware License

March 9th, 2012 by warren

Hello Public Labbers and Grassroots Mappers!

To date, the documentation and open science literature we've made as a community has been published under a Creative Commons ShareAlike license, allowing anyone to reuse, remix, adapt, improve, and redistribute our works. Today, the PLOTS Web working group would like to propose that we as a community adopt a separate license for our hardware designs, and after much consultation, we'd like to adopt the CERN Open Hardware License.

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Dual camera KAP rig

February 22nd, 2012 by cfastie

Here is a prototype rig that performed well on its maiden flight. The design might be appropriate for matched visible/IR cameras for vertical photography, like the Canon A495s from the Balloon Mapping Kickstarter project. For such a use, it would require the addition of an intervalometer to trigger both cameras simultaneously. I am not yet sure how to add that function.

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