Public Lab Wiki documentation

Grassroots Mapping youth curriculum

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This page was imported from the old Grassroots Mapping Wiki, and dates from 2009-10

Several groups (need to list them here) are working on grassroots mapping-related curricula in various sites. This is a page to help share work, combine efforts, and hopefully create a generalized curricula which can be adopted for use in new projects.

Current Curricular Development Projects

  • GrassrootsMappingLima implemented a curriculum based on this document: GrassrootsMappingLimaCurriculum
  • NuVoWorkshop - a late April 2010 2-week intensive mapping workshop with high school students from around Boston
  • Mikel Maron at is also organizing curricular efforts.
  • The DepartmentOfPlay at MIT's Center for Future Civic Media (Jeff/ is a member) is developing a mapping curriculum as part of its summer 2010 Urban Learning Labs. More soon.

If you are working on a curriculum please feel free to add yourself to this list.


To hold a workshop/class on balloon mapping, be sure to look over the BalloonMaterialsList for prices and links to online sources.


Typically we try to situate the mapping exercises and tool-building in a specific geographic situation; participants may be interested in mapping their own community and/or supporting a community in need -- even a distant community.

A short workshop can be a few hours long, involving building a basic SodaBottleRig or Picavet suspension and attaching to a balloon to do a short BalloonAerialPhotography flight.

A more in-depth workshop can consist of several days or up to two weeks, and can include the following activities, based on participant age and area of interest:

  • Discussion of existing maps of target community
  • Hand drawing maps
  • Exploring the neighborhood, interviewing neighbors
  • Flying kites, observing weather patterns for possible balloon flights
  • Building a SodaBottleRig or a BalloonAerialPhotography (Picavet) rig
  • Hold a design competition for a camera capsule: strength, low weight, low cost, ease of assembly, access to camera controls, protection of camera from impact, stability in wind and turbulence, portability: Materials list for rig: RigCompetition
  • Trash bag balloon construction
  • Flights!!
  • Flight analysis: what worked and didn't
  • View captured images, rectify them
  • Print map
  • Trace map with tracing paper and/or digital tools
  • History/future activities: how has the community evolved? how will it evolve in the next 5 years? 10? 50?


In progress

Sketch mapping and model building

Mapping the history of your community

Mapping the future of your community

See your community from above

Design a satellite