Balloon Mapping in Guimarães

Back in May, I (James Bridle) went to Guimarães in Northern Portugal, one of two European Cities of Culture for 2012, to run a workshop on open mapping, in association with Watershed and the Open Cities project. I was back there this week, for another workshop, this time for two days on aerial photography and balloon mapping, again hosted by the wonderful CAAA and LCD.

The format was similar: take 15 or so people, tell them a bit about the politics and practice of open mapping, give them the necessary tools (or make them), then set them loose. The results, in this case, were better than I had dared hope for.

The workshop presentation can be found here. I started by talking about how I got into balloons: trying to take simple aerial photographs with party balloons. This was lots of fun—particularly in terms of the response that wandering around with a big bunch of colourful balloons produces in people, and then the associated interest/confusion in the surveillance implications associated with that. I tried with bigger balloons too—although using multiple balloons makes the whole thing quite unstable, so I realised that single, very large balloons were going to be required.

To read the rest of James Bridle’s blog post with instructions and further information about this type of mapping go to his website.

See below some of the stitched images out of the hundred’s of images captured with the cameras dangling from gigantic balloons. All the workshop images can be found on Flickr in the set ‘Walking the Sky’.