Kite Mapping

Kite mapping is similar to [balloon mapping](/wiki/balloon-mapping), but uses kites to lift cameras to take aerial photographs. With kites and a 5-20 mph wind, many of the objectives of balloon mapping are possible without helium or balloons. If you want to map a site with consistent winds, you may be in luck! Kite Aerial Photography [has a large and active community of practitioners]( which is focused on high-performance kites that can lift large loads and/or fly in very light winds. Here, we're especially focused on [We sell a kite mapping pack with two kites and a lot of tails to help you get going.]( ### Towing kites Kites can also be used in large flat areas with no power lines or trees, such as on oceans or lakes, beaches, or deserts, by towing them behind a boat, car, or bicycle. Keep in mind that going downwind will drop the speed of your kite. ## Activities [activities:kite-mapping] **** ## Questions [questions:kite-mapping] **** ## Choosing a kite ### Commercial kites Kite Aerial Photographers, or KAPers, often select expensive kites which can lift large weights, and many use heavier, customizable cameras such as digital SLRs with remote control targeting or stabilization. If you just want to put a camera in the air for the lowest cost and highest reliability, we recommend a few different relatively inexpensive kites, paired with the [PET Bottle Rig](/wiki/pet-bottle-rubber-band-rig). We sell two kites and a 15' Fuzzy Tail for high-wind flying, together as [our Kite Mapping Pack]( [9ft. Dazzle Delta]( is only $46 and a very good, easy flier. It doesn't pack down very small, but is a very affordable and high quality light wind kite. [7ft. High Sky Delta]( is only $30 and a great complement to the Dazzle Delta, providing easier flying in high winds. [Levitation Delta]( - ($65) 9 ft. wide - a strong and stable flyer in 7-20mph winds. In high winds it can take some effort to reel in, as it has a lot of lift. The spars all split in half and it packs down easily to 40." Good, high flying angle. Also available in 7 and 11 foot versions for high and low winds. [Zenith Delta]( - ($70) 7 ft. wide - This one is fantastic, a strong and stable flyer in even light winds (7mph). Not as much lift as the Levitation and it doesn't break down as small, but it is easier to handle in high winds. A great all-around kite. [Fled]( - ($110) stable, strong, very light-wind kite that flies at a line angle of 65 - 70 degrees. This kite is very quick to set up and simple to adjust. It flies in a wide range of conditions, and is a "go-to" kite for many KAPers. The high line angle is very useful for flying in tight spaces. [Gomberg Delta Conyne]( - ($37) - Harder to launch, and not great in light winds, but once it's in the air it's a stable flyer. A favorite of the Gowanus Conservancy in strong winter winds. [A chart for comparison]( ### Kite Making Making your own kite is great -- designs can range from easy and quick to bigger more ambitious one that can be more portable, stronger lifters, or light-wind flyers. > [Kite Making](/wiki/kite-making) **** #### Delta kites are a quick build, and very effective Mathew has [step by step instructions as well as a spreadsheet of dimensions for a quick-to-build DIY Delta Kite](/notes/mathew/7-19-2012/easy-cut-delta-kite-plans). This is a proven design that flies well. He uses tvvek and bamboo, but wooden dowels and plastic sheeting will work as well. [Astoicof wrote great build notes and a PDF on using plastic sheeting to make a delta kite.](/notes/astoicof/9-12-2012/call-it-delta-maybe). Jeff Warren and kids at Parts and Crafts have gotten good results from a [mylar copy of the Dazzle Delta.](/notes/warren/7-18-2012/mylar-delta-kite-design). Safidy has been playing with [NASA's Kite Modeler](/notes/safidy/7-3-2012/nasa-kite-modeler) software and making [DIY deltas](/notes/safidy/7-26-2012/diy-light-delta-kite). #### Non-Deltas [Grassroots Mappers in Peru]( have [had good luck with plastic and bamboo kites.]( Mathew also made a series of [Tyvek and Bamboo Fled kites]( based on the designs of Brooks Leffler. The third has been extremely successful at lifting cameras to very high flying angles, and he can now recommend others to build the same. follow his instructions in the link above. Leo Famulari has notes on [kite bridle adjustment](/notes/lfamular/8-15-2012/diamond-kite-bridles) ### Other Kite Building Resources []( and the [Kitebuilder]( forums are great online resources. The book [One-hour Kites by Jim Rowlands]( provides excellent plans and construction details. [Dan Kurahashi's Japanese Kites, Concepts and Construction]( has more great plans, great charts on predicting lift, and some excellent instructions on making plastic bag kites. ### Published literature pertaining to KAP [Nathan Craig's Mendeley Group]( may require setting-up a free, public account....

Author Comment Last activity Moderation
warren " I think that's a GREAT idea! We'd love to promote anything you do with them on social media too, now that we've announced the project publicly! " | Read more » about 5 years ago
sashadev-sky " This is awesome! This just made me think about how I could make a post out of all those videos I've been posting " | Read more » about 5 years ago
Bronwen " Hi @molangmuir10 -- yes! You can get to the software from this page here: Let us know how it goes! FYI, som..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
molangmuir10 " This is great! And so much simpler. I didn't realise they were 'plug-and-play'! I tried to program and configure mine, so I over-wrote your progra..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
cfastie " Marking your kite or balloon line is a very good way to do this. It is a bit of a chore to do it, but maybe easier than building a data logger or ..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
JSummers "You may be able to do this using the GPS on your phone with an app like Strava. I think the Z direction accuracy of GPS is not as good as the XY a..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
baungaard " This is so cool :smiley: " | Read more » about 5 years ago
JSummers " I think what you want will be called a barometer. It is what drones use to measure altitude. They are not super expensive, here is one for $6.70..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
molangmuir10 " Thanks!! that's really helpful Bronwen! " | Read more » about 5 years ago
warren " @molangmuir10 @silentsairam @kayrufty check this out! " | Read more » about 5 years ago
Bronwen " Hi! You might be interested in some of the responses on this note: I woul..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
MaggPi " To @cagiva, I applied the same NDVI technique to Nottingham UK satellite imagery; you can see the results on Mapknitter: https://ma..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
silentsairam "Yes @warren . This is quite interesting and the satellite methodology approach would be more precise in mapping. I would be happy to explore more o..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
cagiva "Using the ultra blue Band 1 from LandSat 8, I created a video showing how to apply the NDVI to Landsat-8 images using QGIS. The tiles are from the..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
warren "@eustatic or @a1ahna ? " | Read more » about 5 years ago
warren " @silentsairam would you have any interest in this? " | Read more » about 5 years ago
tahnok "I did this! A friend and I spent 4 hours working through this to make a 6ft wingspan delta. In the end the kite flew! But a minute after launch the..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
tahnok " I was thinking for that price I might be able to crack one open to harvest it for parts, or maybe hook up an arduino to the output somehow. BUT th..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
liz " @mathew may know? " | Read more » about 5 years ago
cfastie "Hi tahnok, Those inexpensive anemometers seems to be missing an important feature of the expensive Kestrel and other fancy anemometers. They do no..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
tahnok " Have you done any test flights with some of the ~20$ anemometers you can find on Amazon to compare with the Kestrel? " | Read more » about 5 years ago
tahnok " Looks like the link to Dan Kurahashi's 'Japanese Kites, Concepts and Construction' book is dead ( and I can't find a good link to it a..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
warren "We can mark it answered soon, no worries! Thank you very much!!!! On Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 9:10 PM \<> wrote: Hi! T..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
tahnok " The answer is yes, now that I can edit the wiki. No idea if questions can be closed? " | Read more » about 5 years ago