Public Lab Research note

Mapping movement in Union Square NYC

by Shannon | March 27, 2012 13:10 27 Mar 13:10 | #1544 | #1544

More images from the event can be found here (as well as images from the Water Quality Hackathon that Public Lab co-sponsored with Pachube and Ushahidi:

Public Lab team members, Eymund Diegel, Jen Hudon, Oscar Brett, Shannon Dosemagen, Liz Barry and Sara Wylie partnered with the iLand community ( to create a workshop for dancers during their 2012 symposium called "Moving Into the Out There", a gathering about movement, environment and science specifically designed for NYC.

This was one of the first times that the weather balloon/camera rig duo was used to interact with (non-protest) human movement- creating shadows and outlining spaces for people below to use as they moved through Union Square. The workshop also coincided with a resurgence in the Occupy protest which started on Wall Street last fall, bringing together protestors, dancers and people passing through into images captured from above.

Architect students at UT-Austin are also interested in using aerial mapping to look at how movement happens at intersections and in public places on campus, we're interested in seeing if there are potential collaborations that can take place between NYC dancers and UT-Austin around future directions for mapping movement.


Shannon, when you say "creating shadows and outlining spaces for people below to use as they moved," does that mean there's an image featuring overlays of shadows and outlines?

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Hi Andrew, no, apologies if that was unclear, I meant that as the balloon moved, the shadow of it gave spatial boundaries to the people below.

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