Crowdsourcing Aerial Image Mapping

by Matt Ball on September 15, 2011

Jeff Warren one of the developers behind GrassrootsMapping.org, a project of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS), gave a presentation today at FOSS4G. The PLOTS effort for do-it-yourself imagery collection with balloons and kites has beenĀ  influential in making sense of the Gulf Oil Spill, and is being applied to a variety of applications to make sense of environmental change.

People are bringing in high-resolution imagery at 5cm and 20cm resolution, and even 1.4cm resolution. People are even uploading multispectral imagery, which is fostered through online tutorials that explain how to add infrared filtering, as well as education that communicates the benefits of such filtering.

They are trying to get to the stage where they have a seamless map of a lot of imagery to be used for other purposes. MapMill.org is being used as a site for sorting through the validity and value of collected imagery with volunteers voting on imagery as good or unusable due to blur, glare or other issues. Mapknitter.org is the site to start building a map from this imagery. The Cartagen Knitter makes it possible to rubber sheet the imagery onto a map to pull together a seamless image of a broader area.

The map can also be re-purposed from these sites, and uploaded to OpenStreetMap and other map sharing repositories. A parallel effort is underway for a worldwide open aerial imagery repository that can be found at OpenAerialMaps.org.

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