Let’s talk about air quality data! Join us for Open Call on Oct. 26 to kick-off this topic and then every Tuesday until Dec. 14. Click here for call-in details!

Public Lab Wiki documentation

Aerial photos with Passenger Pigeon

2 | 14 | | #2156

Passenger Pigeon is a project/concept for collecting aerial imagery from passenger plane windows with handheld digital cameras. To make a map, just take photos out the window of your commercial flight. Then use the free and open source MapKnitter.org to align the images with a map as soon as you land.

( Above, NRG composite from out the window of airplane over Amsterdam, by @warren)


Tips for photographers

  • point the camera as straight downwards as possible
  • hold the camera as stably as you can - brace it against the window
  • try not to sit behind the wing, where the engine exhaust blurs the air
  • take note of where the photos are, if you anticipate difficulty in placing them on a map later
  • check flight-tracking websites ahead of time to plan when you'll be able to take good photos (possibly during landing or takeoff, if you're allowed to use your camera)
  • Record with your gps (in your smart phone) the gpx track. YOu can use it later to geotag the images. GPS should be near the window, otherwise it will not work.


Title Author Updated Likes Comments
Nothing yet on the topic "passenger-pigeon" -- be the first to post something!

Ask a question  or help answer future questions on this topic


Add an activity  or request an activity guide you don't see listed

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



Some Public Lab folks have done multispectral imaging from a plane window -- see the near-infrared camera page for details on how to collect/produce infrared imagery with less than $150 of equipment.

Infrared vegetation analysis from a plane


Title Author Updated Likes Comments
River Restoration map of Orphan Well 131544 in Bayou John @eustatic almost 2 years ago 0
Fort Jackson Passenger Pigeon @eustatic about 7 years ago 1
SFO-ORD @cfastie almost 8 years ago 1
ORD - SFO @cfastie almost 8 years ago 3
Saugus landfill overflight photos -- with Infragram @warren over 8 years ago 1
Infrablue Haze @cfastie over 8 years ago 2
Infragram test photos from a plane window @warren over 8 years ago 2
a new burp in the Texas Brine Sinkhole @eustatic over 8 years ago 0
Passenger Pigeon methods: getting your location, the hacky way @eustatic over 8 years ago 0
Passenger Pigeon shots of MSY to PHX @eustatic over 8 years ago 5
Flightstats.com for Passenger Pigeon @mathew about 9 years ago 0
the Hills have Acne: passenger pigeon photos of drill sites out West @eustatic over 9 years ago 4
NDVI-NRG infrared tests from an airplane @warren over 10 years ago 0
Show more