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Grassroots Mapping Tracks Gulf Oil Spill With Cameras, Kites

mapping the gulf coast with a kite
The first step to solving the Gulf Coast oil crisis, as with any problem, is figuring out just how large and expansive the spill really is. As scientists, lawmakers, and Kevin Costner continue to debate the best way to stop the gushing, a group of academics at MIT are doing their part to track the disaster as it unfurls.

The project, called Grassroots Mapping, uses camera-equipped kites to aerially photograph and map out the spill as it makes its way across the Gulf. Each camera snaps a picture every five seconds, and by assembling the photos together, the Grassroots team is hoping to shed some objective light on an otherwise murky issue.

Led by MIT fellow Jeffrey Yoo Warren, the project got underway on May 5 and is currently accepting donations to help fund its research. As Warren explains in his team's video pitch (below), "The idea is to get a lot of people involved in producing maps, and then to share all the information, like Wikipedia." While much of the media coverage continues to focus on the back-and-forth between governmental agencies and BP, perhaps Warren's open source approach to mapping the spill is the best way to filter out the noise and deliver objective documentation of the disaster -- painful as it may be to watch. [From: Engadget]

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