A Public Laboratory group is just starting up in Texas, read below for more information and to get involved!
Excerpted from Galena-Park-Monitoring-Report-FINAL.pdf
Galena Park, Texas is an environmental justice community of some 10,000 residents on the Houston Ship Channel. The community is surrounded by the ship channel; industry, particularly that associated with Houston petrochemical industry; rail lines; and high traffic roadways, including I-10 to the north and 610 to the west. Air Alliance Houston has been active in Galena Park for several years. It is a community in which concerns about pollution and public health run high. However, a lack of resources and knowledge leads to very little public engagement on issues that impact environmental quality and health. Although citizens are worried about their health, there is little sense that they can personally affect change. Air Alliance Houston and Global Community Monitor conducted a community health impact survey, and community mapping workshop, and a community air monitoring project. Air monitoring was conducted over the course of a year for fine particulate matter and elemental carbon, a surrogate for diesel pollution. The results of the yearlong community air monitoring project form the basis of this report. An independent report was produced by a graduate student at the Rice University Department of Statistics. Diesel pollution presents an unacceptable health risk in Galena Park. Cancer risk due to diesel pollution exposure may exceed 1 in 10,000. Fine particulate matter pollution may exceed federal health standards as well. Galena Park must act now to reduce diesel and particulate matter pollution in order to protect its residents’ health. We recommend aggressive steps to limit diesel pollution by banning older, dirty trucks and diverting trucks from Galena Park roads. We also recommend further testing to determine the extent of air pollution in Galena Park, and its impacts. Galena Park recently elected a new mayor and city council. This new administration has an opportunity to take a fresh look at the pollution challenges their residents face. It is our hope that Galena Park will work with the Port of Houston Authority, Harris County, and the City of Houston to address these challenges and protect the health of the citizens of Galena Park, Texas.
- At [[http://occupyaustin.org/|Occupy Austin]], we have spun up a working group devoted to building both balloon/dirigible and quadcopter platforms for protest mapping and livestreaming. This effort is directly inspired by the Public Lab's work in this domain in [[http://publiclaboratory.org/place/santiago-chile|Chilé]], [[https://mapknitter.org/maps/2011-10-01-newyork-occupywallstreet|OWS]], and [[http://publiclaboratory.org/map/occupy-oakland-10am/2011-11-2|Oakland]]. We have quite a few folks very excited about the idea here and have established strong ties with the [[http://atxhackerspace.org/|ATX Hackerspace]] to assist in build out. Some folks there have worked out a design for a $400 quadcopter capable of carrying a 1kg payload; they have deployed a camera on that platform during trial runs. We are aiming for a rapidly deployable platform capable of autonomously broadcasting an overhead livestream, perhaps utilizing the FreedomTower communications infrastructure developed and deployed by the [[http://freenetworkfoundation.org/|Free Network Foundation]]. If you are interested in connecting up with us in this regard and helping us design and deploy low-cost, easily repeatable balloon/dirigible/quadcopter platforms for protest mapping, join [[http://foojutsu.org/mailman/listinfo/occupyaustin-it-uas|our mailing list]].
- SXSW 2012 panel: [[http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/9516|"Grassroots Mapping: DIY Activism & Civic Science"]]
- Interest in spectroscopic analysis of food products
- Outreach: Austin is rich with groups focused on environmental and sustainability issues (see [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0912596/|The Unforeseen]] for the provenance of the [[http://www.sosalliance.org/|Save Our Springs Alliance]] in the early 90's, focused on preserving the Barton Creek watershed and Barton Springs). Zilker Park surrounds the pool and would be perfect for kite and balloon flying amongst people enjoying and curious. Another group to reach out to is [[http://www.wildflower.org/|The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center]] (for tracking the spread of native and invasive plant species, the effects of drought, etc.). In short, the combination of high tech + green in Austin is fertile soil for the Public Lab's work.