Public Lab Research note

Soap Bubble Mapping in Prospect Park

by eymund | August 30, 2014 14:24 30 Aug 14:24 | #11090 | #11090

Keith Williams, New York Times reporter and expert soap bubble photographer wrote a feature on Gowanus CSI (Creek Scene Investigation) capturing fleeting moments of joy.

23 August 2014 - Blowing Bubbles over buried streams, as seen from a Canon s100 baloon camera


The article:

2013, 23 August - Forensics Specialist Bronwen running the grueling CSI training program


Expert CSI Agents Amara Diegel and Asha Sandler


CSI Agent Amara flying a kite camera over yoga downward dog practitioners as she hunts for clues to old stream beds in the grass color patterns


Ben Richmond, from Motherboard wrote this nice piece on using kites and balloons to map Prospect Park's historic streams:

More technical notes on our Gowanus CSI "grassroots mapping" research to follow.

By photographing different grassland plant types, in this case Polygonum, a plant that likes oxygen deprived (hydric) soils and Poa, which prefers drier dirt, we can find clues to patterns of buried drainage infrastructure, landfilled streams and spring upwellings. Mapping these buried water systems, and their potential diversion into the City sewer system, helps identify opportunities for reducing combined sewer overflows into the Gowanus Canal.

2014, 23 August - a patch of a hydric soil plant tentatively identified as Juncus, that seems associated with the historic spring upwelling locations


2014, 23 August - an unusual square patch of Polygonum, (upper part of photo) that may be a clue to an old colonial or Prospect Park workers building footing or drainage system. By tracking such unusual discolorations and cross referencing them with historical data, we hope to better understand how historic stream patterns were landfilled over time.



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