Balloon Mapping

While I have known about Public Laboratory for a while now, I am finally taking the plunge into the world of balloon mapping. Last month, Public Laboratory had a Kickstarter for their Balloon Mapping Kit. While the Kickstarter has ended, you can still purchase your own balloon mapping kit for $85. Now, I ended up acquiring two kits.

If you have no idea what Public Laboratory and Balloon Mapping are, I suggest you take a look at this video from FOSS4G 2011.

Currently, I don’t think there is anywhere for me to purchase Helium in Ilmenau, so I am going to have to head to Erfurt  before I am going to be able to put a balloon in the air. This is actually too bad, as the trees don’t have leaves yet here and it would allow for better mapping. I am mostly looking to improve the area around Ilmenau with this, but I am not completely certain where I am going to be able to do this. There is a hill near Ilmenau that is without trees, so I figure that is a good spot to start.

My biggest concern is the 1000m rope for the balloon. I don’t know what the German air regulations are, or if I should even worry. I know that Public Laboratory is doing a lot of work in the United States, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico after the oil spill. So if I bring my balloon on my trip to California in a few weeks, I should likely be fine to do some aerial imagery. But in Germany? I guess while I am waiting for the chance to get to Erfurt for Helium, I can research that.

Stay tuned for upcoming aerial mapping! 😀

3 Replies to “Balloon Mapping

  1. Hi Teresa,

    let us know how it goes. I imagine they do have Helium in some of the university’s labs, but I don’t know anybody there anymore.
    I do however have a friend who is writing for Freies Wort. Do you think this could be a fun story, or would you rather do this in semi-secrecy?
    My parents live close to Ilmenau, so I’m there to visit every once in a while. Maybe there is a chance to meet up and do some mapping.

    Greetings from Dresden

  2. Hey Colin,

    I think it would be an awesome story for Freies Wort. It’d also be good advertisement for me, as I am looking for work. 🙂 Absolutely, let me know when you’re around. I haven’t found a source for Helium in Ilmenau, but I can rent a tank from a shop in Erfurt, so that’s a start. I hope to do this in July, if it ever stops raining in Ilmenau.


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