Public Lab Wiki documentation


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A major goal of Public Laboratory is to produce simple and easy guides to construct many of our low-cost tools. Here are some of the illustrated guides, tutorials, and other supporting materials we've put together so far:

"Getting Involved" diagram

Beautifully illustrated by Molly Danielsson!

Aerial mapping

Grassroots Mapping with balloons and kites

  • Grassroots Mapping Guide 2.0, (1mb pdf) - This improved version of the guide is more concise (prints on 4 pages, or a single 11x17 sheet, double sided) and has been updated with more recent, simpler, more reliable techniques. It is available for anyone to edit or modify as a Google Doc.
  • - Our first illustrated guide attempts to thoroughly explain how to construct and use a balloon mapping kit.
  • Step by step slide presentation - all the drawings of the Grassroots Mapping Guide 2.0 shown one at a time on 15 slides. Useful for projecting during rig-building workshops.

Balloon Mapping Quick Start Guide

We made this one specifically for filling and flying our balloon kit, but the flying info is generally applicable.

Anyone can print, add to or edit the Google Doc, please translate it to new languages if you can!

Balloon Mapping Flight Checklist & Packing Lists

Sequential to-do lists and packing lists for every step of the process. Do it right every time! use a list.

Again, anyone can download, print, or edit the Google Doc.

Other Guides based on Public Lab Balloon/Kite research

GeoJournalism Handbook Guide

By @imvec: Balloon Mapping guide in Spanish on an onion site (visit using the Tor Browser): https://o5ss65db4oowvkobyebvttphtlglc464icnwdjfziylfl55au2iyizid.onion/

Making Maps with MapKnitter

Sorting images

Quick overview of Mapknitter

Public laboratory's open source tool: MapKnitter Guide




spanish translation: traducción de instrucciones para mini-espectrometro en español. 8.5x11mini-spec3.8-spanish.pdf

_These are out of date; please see the main Spectrometer page

Older spectrometry guides:

These may be out of date

In progress

We're constantly improving and exploring new ways of documenting and disseminating our designs. Here are some prototypes and planning pages:

  • T-shirt guide - A t-shirt with instructions for balloon mapping printed on it.


Help out with our guides using these calls to action, or post your own to get a new guide started!

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.