Public Lab Wiki documentation

Public Lab Cartography Collective

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The Public Lab Cartography Collective is a volunteer team which helps community members create maps from their aerial photos. To join the collective or request help, read on!

Back in 2010, when Gulf Coast residents and members of Public Lab launched the first Grassroots Mapping project, to aerial map the BP oil spill, the work couldn't have been done without the generous support of people who contributed from all across the world, lending time, technical expertise and equipment. 100,000 images later, an archive containing maps created during this time was launched. In 2013, the Patagonia Clothing Company generously provided us support to map twenty sites in Barataria Bay that were impacted to different degrees by the 2010 oil disaster. We piloted the Cartography Collective with this project.

Many of us in Public Lab continue to reminisce about the collaborative spirit of a global group contributing to a regional problem, developed during this project. We also continue to receive questions about "how can I help?" So we're finally going to do something about it! We're happy to announce the launch of the "Public Lab Cartography Collective" a group that will help stitching images that others have collected, finalizing maps and assist with annotations to provide context.

Get involved

If you're interested in getting involved in this group, we'll be organizing projects on this page, but also send an email to so that we can get you started. You don't have to have formal GIS experience, we plan on hosting MapKnitter training sessions and will be available for one-on-one help in using the wiki page for collaborative editing.

Current Projects

The New Orleans MapKnitter Club has launched! This is the first local chapter of the cartography collective and they will be working on the following projects:

We'll be tracking the projects that are being worked on here: (most recent edit: 2016)

Get help

Do you need help completing a map?

If you have a mapping project that you need help completing, please fill out the form below. Remember, if you have technical questions about aerial mapping, please email