Public Lab Wiki documentation

Public Lab Cartography Collective

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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.

It's now 2013, and one of the conversations that many of us in Public Lab have continued to have over the last few years, reminisces on 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.

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.

We have an immediate use scenario that goes back to the initial BP spill work where over 100 miles of coastline were mapped. Patagonia Clothing Company has generously provided us support to map twenty sites in Barataria Bay that were impacted to different degrees by the oil spill. Twenty sites means twenty maps to be created and annotated, so we'll be starting off piloting the Cartography Collective with this project.

Interested in getting involved in the Cartography Collective?

Send an email to

Do you need help completing a map?

If you have a mapping project that you need help completing, please fill out this form ( Remember, if you have technical questions, please email

Current Projects

Beginning in late October, projects related to the mapping of Barataria Bay will be available.