Public Lab Wiki documentation

About the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science

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NuVu student presentationsKite mapping the oil spill at Long Beach Mississippi

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.

Join now at:

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

Useful pages

  • Contribute - how to participate in Public Laboratory
  • Places - the local communities we work with
  • Priorities - our main concerns and goals
  • Tools - the technologies we're developing and using
  • Media - upcoming events we're speaking at, our publications, and press coverage
  • Calendar - PLOTS-related events, meetings, classes, deadlines, and other dates we're watching out for

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: