Balloon Launch 01 - December 5, 2012Originally planned to launch as part of GIS Day, and then having been three times delayed by weather, we finally launched the first balloon imaging mission on December 5, 2012. The original intended use for the data was to supplement GEO 106's TreeCampus USA inventory, but it was not completed early enough for that application. Dr. Beth Johnson, as well as a handful of students, were very helpful in giving a hand for this launch.
MethodsAs part of the 2012-13 geography budget, UWFox had purchased a DIY imaging kit from BreadPig (and Public Laboratory). That, combined with a Canon Powershot a4000 from a Best Buy Black Friday sale, and a chopped up two-liter bottole, made our rig.
We mostly followed the open-source instructions, rigging a metal loop as the main connection to the cords and equipment.
Dr. Johnson rigs the balloon to the cord.
Then, we filled up the balloon and began the launch!
Fill 'er up.
Thomas Petersen holds down the fort (the juice jug ballast wasn't enough!) just before liftoff.
Here I am, rigging the DIY camera capsule (made from a two-liter bottle and packing tape).
Hold on a minute... False start
Walking RouteOnce the tether was extended to nearly its maximum (1000', though a slight southerly breeze left the balloon at a lower angle than zenith), we walked together around the campus to get the maximum coverage possible.
ResultsThe camera took pictures through the entire launch, and we ended up with around 2500 image files.
I put them all of the images together in this video, for fun:
I looked through all of the photos and tried to choose a selection that best displayed the campus. I ran them through Adobe Photoshop for some processing using a saved action bot, hoping to enhance the underexposed images and sharped their focus.
I then used PublicLab's MapKnitter tool to compile the best of the files into a mosaic:
(It's also available for download in a variety of GIS formats).
All-in-all, successful for a first run. I'm hoping to learn some lessons and make Launch 02 go even smoother in February.