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Kite making

If you can't get balloons, helium, or if it's just too windy (more than about 5mph or 10kph wind) for #balloon-mapping, consider lifting a camera up on a kite. Kites are cheap and available through most of the world, and they're easy to build if you can't find one big enough.

(lead image by @elainechoi89 here)


You can make a really big kite for just a few dollars in materials -- anywhere in the world! You don't need to buy or waste helium, and kite makers are everywhere -- kids are especially good at it.

It's a fun activity, and flying kites over and over is free, unlike using balloons!


Most kites need at least 5-10mph (10-15kph) wind, unless you use a design for very light winds -- and most need a bit more to carry a 200g camera very high.

Kites that are very efficiently designed can fly at a high angle -- more vertically. But if yours has lots of drag, it may fly at a lower angle -- more diagonally from the ground.

You need wind.

Design constraints

Kites can be designed for many purposes, but some things to balance are:

  • cost and local availability of materials
  • time/complexity of construction
  • portability when not flying (does it fit in a car? a plane?)
  • light-wind flying qualities
  • heavy-wind flying qualities
  • overall size and lifting ability

Where do conversations happen

The grassrootsmapping list -- subscribe in the left-side column!


Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Replicating a 37 year old kite anemometer - - @Ecta64 - - 0 replications: Try it »
easy cut delta kite plans build - @mathew 3h easy 0 replications: Try it »
Stormy O. Weathers' Horned Allison- towards a kite wind speed meter - - @mathew - - 0 replications: Try it »
Easy Kites for Kite Trains build - @mathew - easy 0 replications: Try it »
Mylar delta kite design - - @warren - - 0 replications: Try it »
Prototyping a kite for kids - - @oscarbrett - - 0 replications: Try it »
call it Delta, maybe - - @astoicof - - 0 replications: Try it »
Kite Construction: How bad can it get? - - @mathew - - 0 replications: Try it »

Add an activity  or request an activity

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


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About the data

  • What types of data does the method produce (visual, numeric, graphs, charts)
  • How to access the data, where is it kept, maintained, accessed, who can get it
  • How does the data compare to other commercial methods or governmentally recognized methods?

Edit this page to help complete it!

Updates on kite making

Lots has been published on this site about kite making over the years; some of this may be adaptable into activities to be listed above:

Title Author Updated Likes
Quantifying the effect of a weighted tail on kite stability @Ecta64 2 months ago
Replicating a 37 year old kite anemometer @Ecta64 8 months ago
High wind range tailless sled kite design @Ecta64 9 months ago
Curved Spar Sled Kite @Ecta64 11 months ago
Kite Construction: How bad can it get? @mathew about 1 year ago
Stormy O. Weathers' Horned Allison- towards a kite wind speed meter @mathew about 1 year ago
Tyvek+Bamboo Kite Workshop at Pfizer Building (Brooklyn, NY 6/29-30/2012)) @elainechoi89 over 4 years ago
Inspirational deltas @mathew over 4 years ago
Easy Cut Delta Kite simplification @danbeavers over 4 years ago
easy cut delta kite plans @mathew over 4 years ago
Show 12 more
Repairing a kite's stick with a fiber glass safety marker @pablo over 4 years ago
Diamond kite bridles @lfamular almost 5 years ago
Towards a standard diamond kite kit @lfamular almost 5 years ago
call it Delta, maybe @astoicof almost 5 years ago
Tyvek Fleds, Theoretical & Actual Performance @mathew almost 5 years ago
splitting bamboo for kites @mathew almost 5 years ago
Towards a Tyvek & Bamboo Delta Kit @mathew almost 5 years ago
Easy Kites for Kite Trains @mathew almost 5 years ago
Mylar delta kite design @warren almost 5 years ago
Prototyping a kite for kids @oscarbrett almost 5 years ago
DIY Light Delta kite (Rogallo wing) @Safidy almost 5 years ago
Lima, Peru: Kite Making/Ballon Mapping Workshop, U. of San Marcos @anita over 5 years ago

balloon-mapping kite-mapping aerial-photography diy-kite kites aerial-mapping kite-making

list:grassrootsmapping activities:kite-making parent:aerial-photography