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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?

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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
kite for aerial photography @Juanjo 17 days ago
Quantifying the effect of a weighted tail on kite stability @Ecta64 5 months ago
Replicating a 37 year old kite anemometer @Ecta64 11 months ago
High wind range tailless sled kite design @Ecta64 12 months ago
Curved Spar Sled Kite @Ecta64 about 1 year ago
Kite Construction: How bad can it get? @mathew over 1 year ago
Stormy O. Weathers' Horned Allison- towards a kite wind speed meter @mathew over 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
Show 13 more
easy cut delta kite plans @mathew over 4 years ago
Repairing a kite's stick with a fiber glass safety marker @pablo almost 5 years ago
Diamond kite bridles @lfamular about 5 years ago
Towards a standard diamond kite kit @lfamular about 5 years ago
call it Delta, maybe @astoicof about 5 years ago
Tyvek Fleds, Theoretical & Actual Performance @mathew about 5 years ago
splitting bamboo for kites @mathew about 5 years ago
Towards a Tyvek & Bamboo Delta Kit @mathew about 5 years ago
Easy Kites for Kite Trains @mathew about 5 years ago
Mylar delta kite design @warren about 5 years ago
Prototyping a kite for kids @oscarbrett about 5 years ago
DIY Light Delta kite (Rogallo wing) @Safidy about 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