Public Lab: Mapping, DIY Activism & Civic Science
Are you embroiled in an cartographic dispute? Do you disagree with the official version of your geography? Do you need a up-to-date map of your area of interest?From the BP Oil Spill to the Gowanus Canal Super Fund site, Grassroots Mapping and the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science work to empower citizens around the world. Communities engage in citizen cartography and create aerial images with low-cost, DIY, open sourced technologies. This method of mapping creates on-demand imagery that’s 30 to 50 times higher resolution than what’s available via Google Maps. It allows people to document, to lobby and to enact change in their neighborhoods. The Public Laboratory community has expanded to organize projects around the world. Recently recognized with the award of $500,000 Knight Foundation grant, that work continues to expand. We’ll discuss the unique challenges and obstacles of scaling citizen science, IRL community development work, and online technology engagement.
Web Developer w/ @ConsumersUnion, Nonprofit Publisher of @ConsumerReports; Word Nerd into books, quotations & writing @entersection; #gov20 & Transparency Fan.
An enabler of DIY action, a student of multiple disciplines, a strategist for 501(c)3s, and a speaker of gov't acronyms.
A founding member of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS), Mathew is an artist and designer who has worked in technology education for eight years. He became involved in Grassroots Mapping through materials testing and the design of low-cost balloons and kites. In addition to developing flying machines, he supervises the production of kits and other materials. He is also a founder of Cloacina, a Cewas startup. Cloacina is currently developing educational materials with ReCode:Oregon’s Ecological Sanitation Campaign and PNCA’s Collaborative Design MFA Program.
The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS) is a community which develops and applies open-source tools to environmental exploration and investigation. By democratizing inexpensive and accessible “Do-It-Yourself” techniques, Public Laboratory creates a collaborative network of practitioners who actively re-imagine the human relationship with the environment.
The core PLOTS program is focused on “civic science” in which we research open source hardware and software tools and methods to generate knowledge and share data about community environmental health. Our goal is to increase the ability of underserved communities to identify, redress, remediate, and create awareness and accountability around environmental concerns. PLOTS achieves this by providing online and offline training, education and support, and by focusing on locally-relevant outcomes that emphasize human capacity and understanding.
A co-founder of Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, Shannon is based in New Orleans. Prior to working with Public Laboratory, she was the Oil Spill Response Director at the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, conducting projects such as the first on-the-ground health and economic impact surveying in Louisiana post-oil spill. Shannon has an MS in Anthropology, a BFA in Photography and Anthropology and has worked with nonprofits for over eleven years.