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.

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At Public Lab, we've grown the Grassroots Mapping community into a broader effort to enable communities to understand and respond to environmental threats with DIY techniques.

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Vermont Winter Festival, Viewed from a Kite String

March 1st, 2013 by KalynRosenberg

A kite aerial photography field report

Date of flight: January 27, 2013
Site: North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier, Vermont
Occasion: Ice on Fire deep winter celebration

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Vermont Winter Festival, Viewed from a Kite String

March 1st, 2013 by KalynRosenberg

A kite aerial photography field report

Date of flight: January 27, 2013
Site: North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier, Vermont
Occasion: Ice on Fire deep winter celebration

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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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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.

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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