Public Lab Wiki documentation

Host a balloon mapping workshop

3 | 11 | | #869

Reposted as an activity here:; content below is from April 2013:

Want to show others how to make balloon or kite maps? Need help mapping a large site or doing long-term mapping? Want to start a local chapter of balloon mappers?

Many PLOTS folks have led workshops; use this page to exchange advice on how to organize and run a balloon mapping workshop.

First steps

  • Get the word out! If this is part of March Mapping Madness, you can send that URL and use that page as a informational rallying point
    • Facebook, Twitter, etc
  • Compile a list of emails of local interest and say hello
  • Figure out a good day (preferably morning for low wind) to meet. (try using a Doodle)
  • Ask people what equipment they can bring: not just balloon mapping gear but cameras, gps, maps. If you're mapping on the water, ask if anyone has a boat!
  • Review the balloon mapping and balloon mapping materials pages and be sure you have all the supplies you need
    • Helium may require ordering more than one day in advance.
  • How many people can you teach at a workshop? A good rule of thumb is 4-6 people per mapping kit, each group should also have at least one person who's mapped before.

The night before

Workshop day

  • Hand around a notepad to sign newcomers up on the mailing list
  • Some people like to start by showing MapKnitter so that participants know how the images will be processed ahead of time. Sometimes by the end of the day everyone's too tired to break out a laptop and start stitching images.
  • Bring and fill out a Flight Log entry with field notes and key data about your mapping site


  • Be sure to upload and share the best of the images freely (i.e. under an open license) with your new colleagues. Contact to find a place to host them on the Public Lab site (like