Welcome to The Public Lab Gulf Coast Page
We are: engaged citizens, researchers, educators, community organizers, hackers, more and all of the above! Since 2010 we’ve been working hard on spearheading many projects, developing DIY technology and spending time in the community working to celebrate our natural resources and the protection of them.
Some of our projects have included mapping of the BP Oil Spill in 2010, continued mapping and monitoring of the Barataria Bay focusing on the importance of our wetlands and restoration and working with other public labbers to develop the DIY spectrometer! For a better view of our projects and the people involved in them, see our timeline below, the research tab and search the tag gulf-coast on the Public Lab page.
Our office is located in New Orleans, LA at 4035 Washington Ave. Stop in and say hello!
Our Gulf Coast Organizers:
- You can join other Gulf Coast Public Labbers through our Gulf Coast Google Group,this is how we communicate local events and projects that you can get involved with.
Gulf Coast Google Group
- If you're interested in proposing a project, want to conduct your own mapping session or just want to hear about how you can get involved please contact us through the google group, and we'll help you get started (equipment, training, finding volunteers, etc.).
2016 Project Ideas, edit the page to add yours!
- Mapping and passive dust sampling in Picayune at sand drying facilities and creosote superfund site. Jan 16th!
- Soil/garden testing. We're interested in CO, lead and other contaminants.
- Arthur Ashe garden mapping
- work with Studio in the Woods -- they are running a neat event on climate change.
- work on oil remediation idea --Feb
- more efforts on oil testing kit --Jan 28th
- explore oil absorption (what can we use for this?)
- continue wetlands mapping
- What would a maker space for Biology look like here?
- Map the restoration sites being funded by the RESTORE act funds --USFWS and PIES?
- Can we make a biochar kiln?
- Kickoff and OpenHour! Monday, January 11th from 6-8 at Propeller (4035 Washington Ave., New Orleans) for a 2016 Kickoff party and OpenHour live!
- Picayune Mapping! Saturday, January 19th. We will meet at 9:00AM at Kimono Dragon 324 W Canal St. Picayune, Mississippi. From there we will attempt to map two sites 1) the creosote super fund site and 2) fracking sand drying plant Once we finish balloon or kite mapping we will adjourn to Ryan's for lunch.
- The Kickoff event launched us into the new year's exciting projects. Check out the post.
Check out our project Mapping Wetlands in New Orleans! This project brought together volunteers and local community members to discover and use Public Lab technologies to track the progress of eight urban wetland restoration projects near Lake Pontchartrain. Through training sessions and field work, Gulf Coast residents had the opportunity to learn and use the aerial photography tools to map and monitor the health of our local restoration sites. Learn more about the project on this page.
Monthly Water Quality Meet-Ups Jan-June.
Oil Testing work. Check out some of our research notes:
Samples with Spectrometry! event brought about a lot of new thought on how the spectrometry kit could be used to test for oil.
Over 50 people joined us at our annual Barnraising at LUMCON!
MapKnitter Club meetings! If you're interested in the technical side of making maps and want to get involved, please join the email@example.com to hear about ongoing mapknitting and plans.
Starting in 2014, Public Lab will be starting the new Homebrew Sensing Project.
We have completed the mapping project of the Barataria Bay. Stay tuned for the upcoming publication!
Public Lab participated in DredgeFest: Mapping five sites ahead of time and collaborating with the Dredge Research Collective to create annotated maps that were used in the main DredgeFest event in January 2014.
Barnraising archived information on the Barnraising: http://publiclab.org/wiki/barnraising-2013.
Public Lab received a grant from Patagonia Clothing Company to do aerial mapping of twenty sites in Barataria Bay that grassroots mappers had previously worked at in 2011. The project is set to run between October 2013 and October 2014.
Public Lab has been working with a team at NASA DEVELOP, based at Stennis Space Station, using the DIY spectrometer to look at refinery flares. To view related research notes, search for the tag "flare".
Louisiana Nature Center Mapping
Big Branch map annotation
We produced our second paper map (with the support of DevelopmentSeed) of Wilkinson Bay.
Worked to provide digital archives of collected images to libraries across the Gulf Coast.
Focused our mapping restoration and remediation efforts in the Louisiana wetlands.
Continued the mapping of the Barataria Bay region in partnership with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.
Connected with researchers regarding data use and potential collaborations.
Worked to develop and test out new PLOTS tools- infrared and UV cameras.
Tested out a time lapse camera that will be mounted in a wetland area near Cocodrie, LA.
Tested the Hydrogen Sulfide sensor in development
2010-2011 The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Mapping
Since May 2010, we have been using balloon mapping to capture aerial imagery of spill-affected sites in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Our work on the Gulf Coast in 2010, was done in cooperation with groups such as the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and the University of South Alabama on a community-led monitoring of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The data has been gathered can be viewed in:
More images and information can be found at:
- http://unterbahn.com/thesis - Chapter 8: Case Study: Citizen mapping of the BP oil spill (5.7 mB, 14 pages)
- and in the various press and publications listed on our media page
While mapping the oil spill, we were not trying to duplicate the satellite or flyover imagery (though we helped to coordinate some of the flyovers and tried to ensure that the data was publicly accessible). Instead, we were helping Gulf Coast residents to use balloons, kites, and other simple and inexpensive tools to produce their own documentation of the disaster and hoping that such data collection will continue to support environmental research, policy, and regulatory changes in coming years.
How-to Mapping Guides
Look at our 4-page PDF guide to get started.
- Canon cameras or Android phones (see Balloon Mapping Materials)
- Weather balloons (5 feet diameter or more)
- string, lots of string