Balloon & Kite Mapping

Balloon mapping is a low-cost way to take aerial photos using a camera, attached to a balloon, on a spool of string. People have done this from a few hundred feet up all the way to over 4,000 feet in the air. **** Our whole toolkit is linked out below, but really fast: 1. [Assemble your own](/wiki/balloon-mapping-materials), [buy our balloon kit](, or [buy/make a kite](/wiki/kite-mapping). 2. [find a good camera](/wiki/camera-selection). 3. [determine how you will trigger the camera](/wiki/camera-trigger), (we suggest a rubber band) or pick out a [timelapse app for your smartphone](/wiki/timelapse-apps). 4. build a [simple housing from a plastic bottle](/wiki/pet-bottle-rubber-band-rig). 5. find a site to map that is five miles from an airport and [not Washington D.C.](/wiki/mapping-curriculum-regulatory) (or [learn about the regulations](/wiki/balloon-mapping-regulations) yourself) 6. [follow the pre-flight checklist(pdf)](/sites/default/files/Balloon%20Mapping%20Pre-flight%20Checklist%20&%20Packing%20List.pdf) and [quickstart guide(pdf)](/sites/default/files/BalloonMappingQuickStartGuide1English.pdf) to safely fill up your balloon and fly! 7. [maneuver your balloon at your site]( 8. sort your images on your desktop ([Mac](/notes/mathew/1-30-2012/efficient-image-sorting-finder-preview-mac),[Windows](/notes/eustatic/06-08-2014/tips-on-sorting-on-windows-including-re-naming-filenames)) or with [Mapmill]( 9. make them into a map with [Mapknitter]( 10. Print a poster of your map from Mapknitter, see your map join the public record in our [archive](/archive), and if you'd like, even in [Google Earth]( [Willie Schubert over at the GeoJournalism Handbook has made a printable walk-through including many of these steps]( ## Activities [activities:balloon-mapping] **** ### Questions about balloon mapping: [questions:balloon-mapping] <b>Browse maps and data generated with this technique in the</b> [Public Laboratory Archive](/archive) <b> Browse [Research Notes on Balloon Mapping](/notes/balloon-mapping) </b> <iframe width="640" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> _A short video by [Mathew Lippincott](/profile/mathew) on setting up and launching your balloon._ **** ###Grassroots Mapping Toolkit### Our aerial mapping toolkit is a simplified kite and balloon aerial photography system for easy and accessible high-resolution map-making. The tookit consists of: <b><i>Flight platforms:</i> </b>Assembling a balloon kit will cost from $100-200, including helium. * The Public Laboratory [Balloon Mapping Kit](/wiki/balloon-mapping-kit) is assembled from our preferred parts. * For alternative and low-cost materials, see the [Balloon Mapping Materials page]( * [Use this chart to calculate the lift you'll need.]( <b><i>Camera housings:</i></b> Single Line systems: [The PET Bottle & Rubber Band Rig](/wiki/pet-bottle-rubber-band-rig) wraps around the small and medium sized cameras (up to micro 4/3) for crash protection while firmly mounting it in a position for vertical images. For heavy cameras, a [Trash Can Rig offers more protection.](/wiki/trash-can-rig-heavy-cameras) Multiple Line Systems: these are more complex to build but can provide added stability, especially useful for video. [Several people have created Picavet rigs.](/wiki/picavet-rigging) <b><i>Cameras:</i></b> A small camera that supports continuous shooting mode and a large storage card, or an excellent camera phone are our preferred options. * Help [selecting a camera](/wiki/camera-selection) * Different ways of [triggering the camera shutter](/wiki/camera-trigger) <b><i>Mapmaking software:</i></b> Public Laboratory's [MapKnitter]( is easy to use browser software for map making. Continue on to [MapKnitter Guide]( and [MapKnitter Help]( for more information. * When mapmaking, efficient image sorting [either on your desktop](, or using [Mapmill](/wiki/upon-return) is a must. * Some people also use proprietary software such as Photoshop, [Hypr3d](, or [PhotoSynth]( For a freely distributed desktop option, check out the <a href="">GNU Image Manipulation Program</a>. <b><i>Useful guides:</i></b> Our latest guides can always be found on the [Guides](/guides) page, including: * The four-page [Grassroots Mapping Guide]( * The [Balloon Mapping Quick Start Guide to filling and flying]( (pdf) and [editable Google Doc]( * The [Balloon Mapping Check Lists]( (pdf) and [editable Google Doc](, which are extremely useful in planning field expeditions, even for experienced fliers. * We also maintain a [guide to FAA regulations](/wiki/balloon-mapping-regulations) page. <b><i>Curricula and workshops:</i></b> Our [Curriculum-Guide](/wiki/mapping-curriculum) covers the entire process and some theory behind mapping. It is still in beta. ###Advanced Techniques### * [Near-infrared imagery](/tool/near-infrared-camera) for vegetation monitoring and other uses. * [Image analysis](/wiki/image-analysis) - Try some of these techniques for bringing out detail and compositing your images with [near-infrared imagery](/tool/near-infrared-camera). * [Ground control point targets](/wiki/ground-control-point-targets) for correlating on-the-ground measurements directly with photos. * [Balloon telemetry](/tool/balloon-telemetry-kit) for recording GPS and gyroscopic data. * [Kite Balloons](/tool/kite-balloon-hybrid) experiments in wind-stabilized balloons * [Hydrogen ballooning](/wiki/hydrogen-balloons) - be very careful! ...

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Title URL Last edited Edits Page Views Likes
Kits Docs /wiki/kits-docs almost 3 years ago by warren 10 617 0
Image Sorting /wiki/image-sorting over 3 years ago by zengirl2 4 781 1
Mapping Requests /wiki/mapping-requests over 3 years ago by warren 5 395 1
Pi Camera /wiki/pi-camera over 1 year ago by warren 15 2,090 3
Public Lab Launches Balloon Mapping Kit Campaign with Kickstarter Gold /wiki/public-lab-launches-balloon-mapping-kit-campaign-with-kickstarter-gold over 3 years ago by Bronwen 1 345 0
SkyPod GPS Logger /wiki/skypod-gps-logger about 3 years ago by cfastie 8 739 2
Mini Balloon Kit /wiki/mini-balloon-kit over 2 years ago by warren 14 1,327 2
Calling for your favorite Kite/Balloon Mapping images and video! /wiki/calling-for-your-favorite-kite-balloon-mapping-images-and-video over 3 years ago by xose 2 16 0
Photo Sharing /wiki/photo-sharing over 3 years ago by xose 6 668 1
Kite making /wiki/kite-making almost 4 years ago by warren 6 973 2
Reconfigurable Rig /wiki/reconfigurable-rig over 4 years ago by mathew 6 234 1
Pendulum Rig Kit Documentation /wiki/pendulum-rig-kit-documentation almost 5 years ago by tonyc 7 284 3
Aerial Imagery in the Public Domain /wiki/aerial-imagery-in-the-public-domain over 3 years ago by stevie 17 1,856 6
KAPtery Aerial Rigs /wiki/kaptery-aerial-rigs almost 4 years ago by cfastie 4 1,055 10
How to Map /wiki/how-to-map over 1 year ago by stevie 15 302 4
Revealing the Invisible in Spain /wiki/revealing-the-invisible-in-spain almost 6 years ago by mollydanielsson 2 160 1
Protest Mapping by Oscar Brett /wiki/protest-mapping-by-oscar-brett almost 6 years ago by mollydanielsson 6 531 1
GLAM Two-Tether Balloon Method: navigating urban waterways /wiki/glam-two-tether-balloon-method-navigating-urban-waterways almost 6 years ago by mollydanielsson 3 216 0
Vadi Asbestonim /wiki/asbestonim-test almost 6 years ago by asbest 27 199 1
Aerial Balloon Mapping /wiki/balloon-mapping-of-local-invasive-species-and-town-mapping over 4 years ago by abdul 29 619 2
Youth Balloon Mapping Workshop Curriculum /wiki/youth-balloon-mapping-workshop-curriculum over 6 years ago by warren 3 176 2
Balloon Mapping Guide /wiki/balloon-mapping-guide over 4 years ago by abdul 6 441 0
Mapping Curriculum: High Altitude Mapping /wiki/mapping-curriculum-high-altitude-mapping almost 7 years ago by gonzoearth 8 235 1
Kingsland Park /wiki/kingsland-park over 7 years ago by gdotoli 1 123 -1