Question: What should we be recording in balloon/kite mapping logbooks?

warren is asking a question about mini-balloon-kit
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by warren | July 05, 2017 20:20 | #14620

I put up this call for input on a collaboratively-written Pocket Guide to Grassroots Mapping last week, and you might notice that the end of the booklet is a set of "logbook entry forms" that (for now) look like this:

image description

I asked for:

  • date
  • location
  • collaborators (attribution!)
  • conditions
  • windspeed
  • wind direction (the "compass rose")
  • any extra notes

What else might we provide space or prompts for when you go out and map? One idea was that we could provide a unique code to write onto your SD card, or even a place to tape your SD card onto the logbook page -- what are your ideas?


When someone reports about a mapping session, I am always interested to know about:

  • Which kite?
  • Which camera?
  • How did you control the camera?
  • What camera settings were used?
  • How bright was it outside?
  • How did you attach the camera?
  • How long was the camera in the air?
  • How many photos were taken?

These and lots of other details are really useful to other people who might want to try aerial photography but don't know all the details about how it is done and how various factors can influence the results.

I rarely write anything down in the field, but I almost always process the photos as soon as I get a chance and try to include a summary of the flight when I post about it. There are a few examples of my "flight notes" at the end of these research notes and one other example below.

Flight notes:


  • Model: PowerShot S100
  • ISO: 80
  • Shutter speed: 1/800 second (Tv)
  • Focus: manual on infinity
  • Focal length: 24mm (eq.)
  • White balance: Sunny
  • GPS: on


  • Saturn V Rig (pan/tilt servos)


  • Remote enabled: one push, quick
  • The S100 has a shutter priority mode so CHDK is not needed for that


  • Version: 2.4 (3-switch DIP)
  • Sketch: version 2.08sfm (beta)
  • Mode: Mode 0 (for 24 mm lens, 4 tilt angles, 25 photos/cycle)
  • Power: 6 eneloop AAA
  • Customization: The nadir tilt angle was changed from 20 to 11 so the camera was pointed straight down.


  • Kite: FLED
  • Wind: From S, 9 to 13 mph
  • Duration: 40 minutes
  • Photos taken: 829

Panorama stitching:

  • Software: Microsoft ICE
  • Post processing: Some stitching errors in the little planet panorama were hidden in Photoshop, and some areas of overexposure were darkened. Panoramas at Photosynth cannot be passed through Photoshop so what you see there is what Microsoft ICE produced.

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