Friday, March 23, 2012

Floating Friday: Build Your Own Satellite!

When it comes to "thinking outside the box" few can match the efforts of Grassroots Mapping.  As part of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, Grassroots Mapping serves as the sponsorship node for a very lofty idea: anyone who wants their own satellite view of the world, delivered whenever they want it - can have it!  Ok, Ok, so it's not exactly a satellite view of the world, but a view derived from your personal camera carried aloft by a kite or balloon.  Then, when your camera returns to earth, there is free software available to assemble and give meaning to your collect.  And - given it will only take about $100.00 to make this all happen, you can take the rest of the year off with all the money you just saved on a traditional satellite run!  To learn more, click the appropriate link below:

Balloon Mapping Kit (Jeff Warren)

Comment: The crew working this is beyond brilliant, but I've got two (very small) complaints: 

1.) Unfortunately the websites related to this effort are all over the place, and after hours of digging, valuable tidbits continue to be discovered.  Consequently, word to the wise, use the links above for the initial explore and if you still want more, block off some time for the deep probe.

2.) This endeavor has emergency response written all over it but the "sell" barely mentions it beyond discussion of the BP oil spill.  In concept, this approach creates a capability that any sheriff, fire crew or emergency manager could have stashed in their car trunk and available for when timely, quick and dirty, situational awareness imagery has far more value than delayed accuracy from traditional for the initial response to a major interstate bridge collapse (I-35W).   

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