[Talk-us] Public Labs/balloon mapping?

Jessi Breen jessibreen at gmail.com
Mon Oct 28 15:46:35 UTC 2013

I do work with Public Lab and have a fair amount of experience with the
balloon mapping tools.  I've not used PL tools to bring imagery into OSM,
but my colleague at PL, Liz Barry, gave a talk on the topic at SOTM-US this

The Grassroots Mapping listserv might be a good place for questions:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/grassrootsmapping (I'm, of course,
happy to answer questions, but these folks have been at it longer than me
and doubtlessly know more than I do.)

Also, Stewart Long, one of the founders of Public Lab, is an aerial imagery
wizard and probably knows a whole lot about this:


On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 11:21 AM, Nelson Minar <nelson at monkey.org> wrote:

> Has anyone here used balloon mapping or these tools (or similar ones) who
>> can share experience, pitfalls, etc.?
> Public Labs is terrific. I think it shares a similar spirit to OSM in
> trying to demystify mapping, to put cartographic tools into the hands of
> ordinary people.
> Last year I tagged along on a weekend excursion to produce a high
> resolution aerial image of Dolores Park in San Francisco. I wrote that
> experience up on a blog post, also see below for a link to a Leaflet map of
> the image (albeit with no cartographic base map for context, sorry.)
>   http://www.somebits.com/weblog/tech/photo/dolores-park-aerial-map.html
>   http://visuallybs.com/maps/balloon/
> Those images were taken from a height of 200 or 400 feet. At that height
> with ordinary cameras you get a very narrow field of view, good for
> photographing individual people but not so useful for tracing a road
> network. It's a great technology for taking specific, up-to-the-day images
> of particular points of interest.
> One specific tool worth looking into is MapKnitter, web-based software for
> compositing multiple aerial images, correcting perspective, stitching, etc.
> Details at URL below, the video is a good intro to how it works.
>   http://mapknitter.org/
> I wonder if there's a DIY drone community out there also playing with
> aerial imagery.
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Jessica Breen
PhD Student
University of Kentucky
Department of Geography
1422 Patterson Office Tower
Lexington, KY 40506

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