10 Aug 2011
Back in 2009, we coined the term “DIY GEOINT” because we were fully inspired by a couple of enterprising MIT students who launched a camera to the edge of space and took some amazing photos of earth. After that, it seems that the floodgates simply opened up when it came to the grassroots and open source mapping done by average citizens. We had a “MacGyver-like” toolkit for making your own satellite for a mere $100. And students from the Potomac School took an image of the Earth’s curvature. So what is next? A group in New Orleans called The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS) is working to create an aerial view of the earth that is entirely constructed by the public.
PLOTS was set up in the wake of the BP oil spill by a community of scientists, designers and urban planners who wanted to map the extent of the spill on the Gulf of Mexico coast.
Taking a page from Oliver Yeh and Justin Lee, PLOTS has developed a simple toolkit that includes cheap digital cameras, plastic bottles and bits of string that come to about $200. Yes, it is often the most-simple ingredients that serve as the foundation for an amazing meal.
And PLOTS is aiming to mass produce this gourmet meal by preparing a series of tutorial videos for kite and balloon mapping that will cover camera rigging, pre-flight set up, flying, post flight tips and much more.
So, get involved and go fly a kite. And if your kite has a camera attached to it, you too are a part of the DIY GEOINT movement. Onward and upward!