Awesome Idea – Grassroots Mapping

The first deadline for submissions for Awesome Calgary is approaching! There are only five days left to get your idea in so you can have your idea considered for funding with our monthly $1,000 grant.

In the final days of the deadline, I’m going to highlight one winning project each day from other cities where a local chapter of the Awesome Foundation exists.

One of my favorites, in large part because of it’s outright coolness factor (by which I mean that it appeals greatly to my geek gene), was a grant awarded by AF Boston almost a year ago. Jeffrey Warren of the Media Lab at Massachusette’s Institute of Technology won the event that month. His idea was to pursue his projects in Grassroots Mapping, experiments which launch mini-satellites by balloon and kite, utilizing digital cameras to capture aerial maps that have one hundred times better resolution than Google Earth offers.

From their website:

Seeking to invert the traditional power structure of cartography, the grassroots mappers used helium balloons and kites to loft their own “community satellites” made with inexpensive digital cameras. The resulting images, which are owned by the residents, are georeferenced and stitched into maps which are 100x higher resolution that those offered by Google, at extremely low cost. In some cases these maps may be used to support residents’ claims to land title. By creating open-source tools to include everyday people in exploring and defining their own geography, we hopes to enable a diverse set of alternative agendas and practices, and to emphasize the fundamentally narrative and subjective aspects of mapping over its use as a medium of control.


How cool is that??

I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to take part in projects from our own city that might go on to make people’s lives easier, bring more beauty into existence, and/or help to create new technological wonders.

I’m also REALLY hoping to see some submissions along the way to create public art in the spirit of Candy Chang!!

Read about more Awesome winning ideas here!

GO!! Go submit your idea now!!

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