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Simple Aerial Photomapping - Engineers Without Borders West Coast Regional Workshop 2013
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Simple Aerial Photomapping - Engineers Without Borders West Coast Regional Workshop 2013


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This session will demonstrate Simple Aerial Photography Mapping with Balloons or Kites. Aerial photomaps can be very useful for EWB teams for their projects and the communities they work with. Example …

This session will demonstrate Simple Aerial Photography Mapping with Balloons or Kites. Aerial photomaps can be very useful for EWB teams for their projects and the communities they work with. Example applications include:

Community Planning
Site Planning
Land boundary adjudication
Agricultural planning
Ecological evaluations such as counting species, map mapping vegetation and habitat, etc
Document changes such as cutting of rain forest, clearing of land, etc.

Weather permitting, we'll meet outside and discuss how to do the mapping, covering what's needed to take the photos and use software to stitch them together into a single georegistered photomap. We'll fly kites or balloons to take pictures and afterwards make and share the map. We'll briefly discuss advanced topics including integration of gps data, dual-camera based multispectral imagery, 3-D Digital Elevation Models, UAVs and automated image processing.

Learning outcomes - Empower teams to make their own detailed photomaps with current conditions:

Select equipment for photomapping
Plan a safe photomapping session
Use kites or balloons to take aerial photos
Use free web-based software to stitch them together into a single georeferenced photomap
Provide references and links to on-line tools and community of users

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  • 1. Simple,  Inexpensive  Aerial  Photography  Mapping     with  Balloons  or  Kites     Engineers  Without  Borders  West  Coast  Regional  Workshop  2013   Patrick  Coyle,  EWB-­‐SFP;  Public  Lab,  Belize  Open  Source  -­‐  Sustainable   Development   October  12,  2013  
  • 2. Agenda   •  Jeff  Warren,  Public  Lab,   produced    community  maps  in   Lima,  Peru  with  children  and   adults   •  Why  bother?  Aerial  photomaps  can  be   very  useful   •  Community,  Site  and  Project  Planning;   Agricultural/  Ecological  planning,   evaluaGon   •  How?  In  summary,  what’s  needed?   •  Equipment,  SoKware,  Supplies,   Materials   •  Step-­‐by-­‐step  guide   •  Examples  from  community  of  users   •  What’s  new   •  DemonstraGon  –  let’s  fly!   •  See  results,  Q&A          
  • 3. Step-­‐by-­‐step  guide   •  Decide  what  you  want  to  do,  produce  and  deliver;  thinking  this   through  will  help  to  define  the  requirements   For  example,  here  is  Coyle’s  preliminary  set  of  requirements:   •  •  •  •  •  Take  detailed  aerial  photos  of  the  Belize  Open  Source  Sustainable  Development   40-­‐acre  property  with  enough  detail  that  individual  trees  are  clear   Cover  the  site  with  overlapping  images  and  use  soKware  to  sGtch  them  together   into  a  single  photomap  and  georegister  it  to  Google  Earth  imagery  of  the   property   Tag  the  individual  photos  with  GPS  data  to  geo-­‐reference  them  for  viewing  on   Google  Maps,  Google  Earth,  or  for  use  with  other  applicaGons   Develop  methods  to  use  the  photomaps  for  work  planning,  tracking  progress   and  communicaGng  results  to  encourage  parGcipaGon  in  the  iniGaGve.   Document  the  approach  and  techniques   Apply  the  method  to  other  community  mapping  iniGaGves  and  make  it  available   to  EWB  teams  and  schools  and  communiGes  in  Belize  
  • 4. What’s  needed?   •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Digital  camera  with  ability  to  take  photos  automaGcally  (at  few-­‐second   intervals  or  conGnuously  (~  1  per  second))   •  (advanced:  pair  of  cameras,  shooGng  vis  and  IR  or  infrablue  in   synch)   GPS  tracking  unit  (opGonal,  where  needed)   Package  to  house  and  protect  the  camera  and  GPS  unit   Balloon  or  kite  with  enough  liK  capability  to  carry  the  camera,  GPS  unit,   housing  and  sufficient  tether  line  to  reach  height  of  interest  for  the   photographs   Safe  area  to  test  the  system  and  process   Safe  approach  to  use  the  process  in  the  field   Capability  to  process  the  data  and  present  the  results   Approach  to  discuss  and  use  the  results  
  • 5. A  complete  grassroots  mapping  kit  
  • 6. Public  Lab  has  great  resources     •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Start  with  Public  Lab’s  Tool  page  for  Balloon  and  Kite  Mapping:   •  hgp://­‐mapping   Their  whole  toolkit  is  linked  out  there,  but  really  fast:   Buy  their  balloon  kit,  assemble  your  own,  or  buy/make  a  kite    Find  a  good  camera    Determine  how  you  will  trigger  the  camera,  (rubber  band,  CHDK)      Or  pick  out  a  Gmelapse  app  for  your  smartphone    Build  a  simple  housing  from  a  plasGc  bogle    Find  a  site  to  map  that  is  five  miles  from  an  airport  and  not   Washington  D.C.  (or  learn  about  the  regulaGons  yourself)    Follow  the  pre-­‐flight  checklist  and  quickstart  guide  to  safely  fill  up  your   balloon  and  fly!    Sort  your  images  on  your  desktop  or  with  Mapmill    Make  them  into  a  map  with  Mapkniger    Print  a  poster  of  your  map  from  Mapkniger,  see  your  map  join  the   public  record  in  our  archive,  even  in  Google  Earth   Share  your  experGse  with  others  
  • 7. Balloon  or  kite?    
  • 8. Camera  capsule  
  • 9. Camera  preparaGon  
  • 10. Flying  balloon  or  kite  
  • 11. “Neogeographic”  approach  to   inexpensive  oil  spill  mapping   •  •  •  In  April  2010,  the  Deepwater  Horizon  oil  rig  exploded  and   sank  in  the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  iniGaGng  what  may  be  one  of   the  worst  environmental  disasters  in  U.S.  history   As  the  spill  grew  in  size,  Jeffrey  Warren  and  Stewart  Long   collaborated  with  the  Louisiana  Bucket  Brigade,  a  New   Orleans-­‐based  environmental  non-­‐profit  group,  and  began   a  volunteer-­‐led  aerial  mapping  project  to  document  the   spill’s  effects   The  maps  use  orthorecGfied  photographs  of  key  affected   sites  processed  into  GeoTIFFs  and  Gled  map  services  (TMS)   -­‐  the  public  domain  photographs,  taken  from  balloons  or   kites,  are  among  the  highest  resoluGon  imagery  available   of  the  spill  
  • 12. Oil  Spill  Mapping  Kits   •  The  mapping  kits  themselves,   assembled  for  less  than  $300   each,  consisted  of:   •         an  8-­‐foot  weather  balloon   •         a  tank  of  helium   •         2000  feet  of  string   •         an  inexpensive,  consumer   grade  digital  camera   •         half  of  a  soda  bogle   •         a  large  kite   •         GPS  logger  (opGonal)          
  • 13. Oil  spill  mapping  approach   •  ParGcipants  visit  an   affected  area,  fill  a  balloon   or  prepare  a  kite   depending  on  wind   condiGons,  and  send  the   camera  in  its  homemade   protecGve  enclosure  up  to   2000  feet  in  the  air   •  By  walking  along  the  beach   or  moving  in  a  boat,   •  Some  maps,  at    ~  2-­‐3  cm   several  kilometers  of   nominal  resoluGon,  can  count   coastline  may  be  imaged  in   birds,  plants  and  other  features,   just  a  few  hours   even  idenGfy  bird  species  
  • 14. Oil  spill  mapping  trips  and  data   •  This  is  a  case  where  the  low-­‐cost   mapping  techniques  were   applied  to  a  real-­‐world  problem   of  immediate  importance   •  Between  May  7  and  July   22,  2010  dozens  of   parGcipants  made  36  trips   to  gather  mapping  data,   averaging  almost  one  trip   every  other  day   •  Only  one  trip  failed  to   return  with  imagery,  56%   of  the  trips  returned  with   "excellent"  or  "usable"   data,  and  over  11,000   images  were  taken,   mapping  conGnued   through  January  2011  
  • 15. OrthorecGficaGon    (sGtching)   techniques   •  •  •  •  Two  different  manual  processing  methods  have  accounted  for   the  bulk  of  the  mapping  for  Public  Lab  (    to  date:   Gonzo  Earth  Image  Processing  is  a  workflow  of  different   commercial  off-­‐the-­‐shelf  (COTS)  and  open-­‐source  GIS  and  digital   image  soKware  packages,  which  has  been  used  to  generate   dozens  of  maps  from  balloons,  kites,  remote  controlled  and   manned  aircraK   MapKniger,,  is  web-­‐based  soKware  for  users  to   upload  and  recGfy  images  from  a  web  browser   Both  export  finished  maps  in  standard  formats  that  can  be   viewed  in  common  GIS  tools  and  integrated  into  exisGng   workflows  
  • 16. A  Grassroots  Mapping   collaboraGon  in  Georgia   •  In  the  country  of  Georgia,  Grassroots  Mapping  techniques   were  used  alongside  more  tradiGonal  GPS-­‐based   approaches  by  the    effort  to   produce  a  public  domain  map  of  the  enGre  country      
  • 17. •  A  map  of  MesGa,  in  the  SvaneG  region  of  Georgia.  The   map  spans  5.5  kilometers  and  was  captured  in  just  3  days   of  balloon  and  kite  mapping  with  local   OpenMapsCaucasus  staff  and  parGcipaGng  students      
  • 18. •  •  Flight  paths  of  several  balloon  mapping  flights  in  MesGa,   Georgia,  during  a  3-­‐day  project  to  map  the  enGre  city   The  pictured  flights  reached  1.4  kilometers  above  ground   level  
  • 19. Grassroots  Mapping  Belize   •  •  Pat  Coyle  of  Belize  Open  Source  Sustainable  Development   is  applying  these  techniques  to  detailed  mapping  of  a  40-­‐ acre  property  in  northwest  Belize  and  other  community   and  educaGonal  mapping  iniGaGves   I’ve  commissioned  the  mapping  tools  and  am  conGnuing   to  pracGce  the  techniques  
  • 20. Site:  Belize  Open  Source   Sustainable  Development     •  This  40-­‐acre  rural  property   is  located  in  northwestern   Belize  near  the  Mexican   and  Guatemala  borders   about  16  miles  from   Orange  Walk  Town,   between  the  villages  of   August  Pine  Ridge  and  San   •  Google  Maps  shows  it,  but  unGl   Felipe  and  3.5  miles  to  Rio   recently,  two  more  clicks  in  and   Hondo  Belize/Mexico   you  ran  out  of  pixels  –  it’s   border   beger  now    
  • 21. Status:  grassroots  mapping   program  in  Belize   •  •  •  Started  with  9-­‐day  trip  in  February  to  engage  schools,  develop   capabiliGes  and  make  iniGal  set  of  maps  (Belize  Open  Source  property,   August  Pine  Ridge  school  classrooms  and  surrounding  community,  and   Muffles  College)   Posted  Research  Notes  on  Public  Lab,  in  context  of  a  plan  to:   •  develop  capabiliGes,   •  archive,  access  and  communicate  with  the  images,   •  implement  training  through  classes  in  local  schools,   •  conGnue  with  ongoing  workshops  for  future  visitors  to  extend   techniques  and  map  more  of  the  country's  sites  of  interest  with   emphasis  on  community  needs  and  benefits  to  local  users,  as  well   as  some  the  gorgeous  sites   Muffles  College  Environmental  Sciences  program  parGcipated.  Jeff   Warren  and  Stewart  Long,  Public  Laboratory  for  Open  Technology  and   Science,  have  parGcipated  in  planning  
  • 22. Blanca Torres, principal of the August Pine Ridge school, wrote, “The aerial photo mapping seems very interesting. I shared with my children and sisters the images of our village … and they just loved them. … I welcome these opportunities where I can involve my students in new learning experiences. I am very interested in exposing them through your mapping project. We feel pride in having our community appear in internet pages and more if we are involved in getting those images.”
  • 23. August Pine Ridge RC school, Belize mapping session
  • 24. In progress and completed new classroom building Richard Obratil, former Chapter President, Project Manager/Site Engineer EWB-Cleveland State University Chapter, wrote, “... here is a picture of the building…”
  • 25. Muffles Junior College, Belize mapping sessions With Rafael Castillo, the faculty advisor, and the Environmental Club at the Muffles Junior College campus near Orange Walk Town We did two hands-on training and mapping sessions and I left them with a complete KAP mapping kit This puts a sustainable mapping capability in place at Muffles which can serve the Environmental Science program
  • 26. Belize Open Source mapping session Initial images from Delta Levitation with A1200 in juice bottle rig shooting in continuous mode
  • 27. Simple Aerial Photomapping session, EWB Regional Workshop at Cal Poly 2012
  • 28. •  Niles,  CA:  Google  Earth  imagery  shows  center  under   construcGon,  the  sGtched  map  shows  completed  facility  
  • 29. •  PracGce  flights:  Livermore,  CA  
  • 30. •  Sunol,  CA:  
  • 31. •  “Personal aerial photo-mapping session with balloons or kites,” a fundraising auction item, was successful •  7/22/12, Nile Runge, who had successfully bid on the item at a Livermore Rotary Club fundraiser, and I flew two mylar sleeping bag balloons with a Canon A1200, shooting in continuous mode in a juice-bottle rig. •  We flew at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area, Pleasanton, CA, a part of the East Bay Regional Park District
  • 32. hIp://   •  MapKniIer  is  a  free  and  open   source  tool  for  combining  and   posiPoning  images  in   geographic  space  into  a   composite  image  map    
  • 33. Get  Involved   •  provides   techniques  and  tools,   case  studies   • ParGcipate:  join  the   mailing  list   • Start  a  grassroots   mapping  project   • Apply  the  techniques   to  your  project  
  • 34. Let’s  fly,  Q&A    
  • 35. •  We are outside flying, catch up with us •  We’ll come back and try to make map •  Look at the rest of the talk