Public Lab Research note

PLOTS August 2011 organization update

by Shannon | November 14, 2011 23:57 14 Nov 23:57 | #561 | #561

Public Lab August 2011 Update September 2, 2011

Fundraising - In August we submitted grants to the Environmental Defense Fund for the "cost effective analysis of crop fields for growers" infrared challenge, a preliminary proposal to the NSF informal science division (~ $1.4 million), and the North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (~ $80,000).

  • We will be applying for an NEH grant for $50,000 due September 27th on digital start-ups.

  • Yesterday we filed the first Shpilman Institute for Photography update, I've attached the update if you are interested in reading it. This is a $10,000 evaluation grant that we've received for site based imaging that we are doing.

  • In June we applied as a partner to the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium grant to the Gulf Research Institute for $50,000 over three years to continue the mapping work we are doing in Barataria. This grant was unsuccessful.

Fieldwork and Site Updates - Rio: Liz Barry recently returned from teaching a Train the Trainers workshop in Rio de Janiero with UNICEF Rio. She will be posting a blog in the next few weeks, but overall thought the project was highly successful and gave it a thumbs-up.

  • Lima: Jeff Warren recently returned from Lima where he attended a conference, but was also working with a university to build an arduino from locally sourced parts and set-up business relationships to develop the parts they are now carrying for an arduino kit.

  • Butte: Mathew Lippincott has been working in Butte for the last month, developing partnerships with local groups and conducting mapping workshops. Details about the site can be found in the SIP update and at this link (written by volunteer Olivia Everett):

  • Somerville, MA: Jeff Warren has been teaching a course at Parts and Crafts this last week developing spectrometers. More information about work that has been done with this group can be found here:

  • Santiago and Sumava: We’ve been working with Ciudadano Inteligente in Santiago, Chile for the last couple of months, their most recent post on the project can be found here: We’ve also recently been contacted by an activist group in Sumava, Czech Republic that is using aerial mapping to document forest environments that are being destroyed by logging. They have completed a couple of initial mapping trips and are working on stitching images with Stewart Long. They will be creating a place page and writing a blog in the next couple of weeks and are also interested in starting a site.

Collaborations - Over the last few months, a good deal of interest has been developed via our Grassroots Mapping/Public Laboratory listserves to develop a spectrometer working group. The development of this will stay on the public listserve.

Recent and Upcoming Events - Adam Griffith recently gave a presentation at the Telemex Hub conference in Puebla, Mexico. This group has offered us a standing invite to speak at other events that they organize. Currently Stewart Long and Adam Griffith are in Mexico City giving three days of talks and workshops at 8degree Congreso ADOC.

  • Conferences: Public Lab will be presenting at three conference in the next two weeks- one at Colorado University in the geography department, Jeff and I will be presenting at State of the Map in Denver next Sunday and Jeff (with a paper co-written by Adam Griffith) and Stewart (with a paper co-written by me) will be presenting at the Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial, also in Denver. I will be attending a conference outside of Reno, NV that is a networking opportunity for grassroots activists. Finally, Eymund will be representing Public Lab and the Gowanus Canal project at a conference called PICNIC in Amsterdam between September 14-16:

  • While we are in Denver next week, we will be holding a staff meeting on Friday and Saturday where, as a staff, we will develop our five year plan and associated budget. On Monday we will be making a trip to Garfield county to test hydrogen sulfide sensors and on Tuesday we'll be taking a day to hike in the Rocky Mountains.

Tool Development and Website - For updates on our aerial mapping tools, infrared camera and spectrometer, please take a look at the SIP update that is attached. There is also a nice article written about the Gowanus Canal site and use of the infrared camera in this article:

  • Stewart Long is currently working on creating DVDs of our archived data to be distributed to the collections of libraries on the Gulf Coast for easier access by residents

  • Mathew Lippincott, Stewart Long and Jeff Warren and working on demo documentation for knitter, mapmill and the archive. The anticipated release of the 1.0 version will be the end of September. Miscellaneous

  • We have two articles in the process of being developed/published. The first is with the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest and it is titled "Grassroots Mapping: Creating a participatory map-making process centered on discourse". The second is for a journal called Antipode and is titled "Grassroots Mapping: developing an ethics of data openness and community participation".

  • We have been accepted to present two of our tools- the roomba and spectrometer- during an art show in Montreal that is held in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association annual meeting. The show is being developed through a collective called Ethnographic Termanalia and the show theme is “Field, Studio, Lab”.

  • Public Lab has been featured in these media pieces recently: BBC:, BBC Click: and Creative Applications Network:

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