Balloon imagery in Google Earth

Earlier this month during day two of the Where Conference, I saw a presentation from Matthew Lippincott and Stewart Long (of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science) where they showed off how easy it can be to capture aerial imagery from a tethered balloon. In fact, they have a kit that you can assemble for around $100 to do it yourself!


It’s similar to the imagery that Frank has captured by using a kite-based camera, and uses very similar technology. As expected, the quality of the imagery is amazing.


They’ve generated a KMZ file to show of all of the areas that they’ve captured and published, and I encourage you to explore it.

If you get into this kind of thing yourself, you should also check out their MapKnitter software, which helps you to stitch and georeference the images for use in Google Earth.

It’s an amazing process and it’s a great way to capture incredibly high-resolution imagery for use in Google Earth. For more, visit the PLOTS website or read this entry from the Google Lat Long Blog.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. There’s a handy little app, which I made, that can load the maps from MapKnitter on iPhones and iPads. You need to download the zipped TMS files and then you’re away laughing.

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