FOSS4G and OpenStreetMap

Things have fell into place and I am going to make it toFOSS4G this year. First time in a while that I’m not presenting anything at a conference, so I’ll actually get to relax and learn instead of preparing.

There will be an OSM mapping party in Victoria on Sat, Sun and now Monday. I may be able to catch the tail end, arrive Monday afternoon. I’ll also bring my nascent kite aerial photography kit for some OpenAerialMap.

Jeff Schalk pulls a Landis on Landis

Jeff Schalk is an old friend from high school. A few years ago, he quit his career as a structural engineer and began competing in professional mountain biking. Totally gutsy move, to live his dream.

Jeff achieved a highlight of his career over the weekend, winning the Shenandoah Mountain 100, beatingFloyd Landis, winner of the 2006 Tour de France. Congrats Jeff!

Kite Aerial Photography at Burning Dork

I had a good time at Burning Dork this weekend, just a short bike ride away to a scout camp in Lancing (much less of a carbon footprint than flying to Nevada for Burning Man). It was my first chance to play with amateur aerial photography. Yesss!

Kite Aerial Photography shot of Burning Dork

Video too

From the advice of the lumniaries of kite aerial photography, I purchased a Sutton Flowform 16, and they’re right, it’s really easy to fly, very stable and has a lot of lift. I simply attached my Canon Powershot A60 to a bent coat hanger, and wrapped the line around that, and sent it up in video mode.

A really modest beginning. So many directions to go from here. First step will be to build a picavet, to keep the platform steady. Then wire up a timer to the powershot, to get higher definition photos — and I successfully soldered up a Picaxe microntoller in a workshop at camp, my first step out of software into physical computing and soldering — so I’m more confident to start hacking on my digital camera. When I was reviewing the footage, a couple people looked up into the sky, thinking the kite was photographing live, so rf transmitter and controller. Attach other sensors, like GPS. And move to other platforms like balloons and aerostats, to get some real height.

Besides being fun, I’m getting into this to push forward amateur remote sensing techniques and projects, like OpenAerialMap. This will be the next specialty of geospatial technology amateurized and commodotized, the applications are many and so important.