warren's blog

Citizens map the Gulf oil slick with balloons and kites

I went down early last week to New Orleans and began coordinating a citizen aerial mapping effort with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) using my recent research in low-cost balloon and kite-based aerial imaging. Our efforts have begun to bear fruit, as almost daily trips into the Gulf are bringing back stunning imagery:

Oil at Chandeleur islands, as seen from a balloon

AT PBS IDEALAB: Helium Balloons with Digital Cameras Create Grassroots Maps

The latest C4FCM post from the Idea Lab blog:

NuVu Boston harbor flight

I'm getting ready for day five of a two-week workshop for high schoolers at Beaver Country Day School in a suburb of Boston. The subject is my project, Grassroots Mapping, which helps teach people -- often young people -- around the world how to be activist cartographers and how to make their own maps. There's a twist, however: Instead of just marking a Google Map, or walking around with a GPS tracker, we construct simple capsules to hold a cheap digital camera, and send the whole package up on a helium balloon or a kite.

Grassroots Mapping: Neutrality and cartography in Cantagallo

Cross-posted at GrassrootsMapping.org

Another day, another new grassroots map! After working with residents of Cantagallo at the beginning of February to produce the first map of their community with Daniel Miracle of Escuelab, we met with members of another of the 3 groups of Shipibo living in the same zone in the center of Lima. Upon seeing the maps we'd made, they were excited to make one also.

Connect/disconnect - thoughts on the Amman Mobile Data Innovations workshop


(Above, a representative of the Iraqi government presents a concept for a mobile-phone-based child safety reporting program)

Since a few weeks have gone by, I thought I'd post some of my thoughts about the MobileActive/UNICEF workshop on Mobile Data Innovations in Amman. Several people, including JD Godchaux of NiJeL and Robert Soden of Development Seed, not to mention Josh Levinger from here at the Center for Future Civic Media have published thoughtful articles about the workshop, but I have to admit the experience remains unsettling in my mind.

Grassroots Mapping in Palestine

Josh Levinger and I visited the West Bank for a few days following the MobileActive/UNICEF Mobile Data Innovations workshop. (Andrew posted about this last week) We were hoping to meet up with some members of the activist community who are organizing against the growth of Israeli settlements into Palestinian land. As mappers, we hoped to test some new low-cost tools and to learn about how such techniques can support communities in this fundamentally geographic dispute.