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.

This site has been merged into Public Lab

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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Gulf Oil Spill Mapping

May 9th, 2010 by Stewart Long

Map the oil spill with balloons and kites!

We’re helping citizens to use balloons, kites, and other simple and inexpensive tools to produce their own aerial imagery of the spill… documentation that will be essential for environmental and legal use in coming years.

Read more about the Gulf oil spill mapping project at our Public Laboratory page:


All the data from this project has been released into the public domain and is available here: