Public Lab Wiki documentation

About the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science

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The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS) collaboratively develops and publicizes accessible technologies for investigating and reporting on local environmental health and justice issues. PLOTS provides an online research space for citizens, linking them to scientists, social scientists, and technologists. PLOTS is an expansion of Grassroots Mapping, where citizens use helium-filled balloons and digital cameras to generate high resolution “satellite” maps.

We're developing new tools in the spirit of Grassroots Mapping, meaning:

  • low cost
  • data legibility (including a preference for maps and other rich visual means of representation)
  • ease of use/low barrier to entry
  • public participation
  • high quality, environmentally and socially relevant data
  • creative reuse of consumer technology
  • open source and user modifiable design

Who we are

PLOTS is open for anyone to join -- please sign up! However it was started by 7 people, most of whom were involved in the citizen mapping of the BP oil spill starting in 2010:

  • Jeffrey Warren - Cartographer, Hacker - research affiliate at MIT Center for Future Civic Media
  • Sara Wylie - Anthropology/Science, Technology & Society - Co-Director MIT Center for Future Civic Media ExtrAct Project, Visiting Critic RISD Digital+Media Department
  • Adam Griffith - Ecology/Biology, Director of through the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University
  • Stewart Long - Digital cartography & Geography -
  • Shannon Dosemagan - Anthropology, Community organizing - Oil Spill Response Coordinator, Louisiana Bucket Brigade
  • Liz Barry - Architecture & Urban Design - Director TreeKit; Faculty at Parsons, Pratt, Columbia
  • Mathew Lippincott - Fine Artist - Partner, Biluna Birotunda Design; Designer & Co-Founder, Cloacina