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The Future of School of Data

Milena Marin - June 15, 2015 in Community, Update

School of Data World

The School of Data World: Local School of Data, Other organisations implementing School of Data activities and fellows!

Over the last few years, School of Data has seen impressive development and growth, going from a simple idea to an internationally recognised data literacy programme which has trained thousands of people, worked with dozens of CSOs and has multiple regional instances.

School of Data was conceived in early 2012 by Open Knowledge in collaboration with Philip Schmidt of P2PU and the project was officially launched to the public in January 2013.

Since then, it has grown to be an amazing network of data literacy practitioners, both organizations and individuals, implementing training and other data literacy activities in their country or region. Our local implementing partners are Social TICCfAfrica, Metamorphosis, and several Open Knowledge chapters including Spain, Brazil, France, Greece and more. In addition, we have worked in many countries thorough our dedicated fellows.

The Growth of School of Data

We have also worked with multiple funding partners including the Shuttleworth Foundation, Open Society Foundations, the Hewlett Foundation, Hivos, the International Development Research Centre, the World Bank and more. Finally, we have also had the opportunity to collaborate with literally dozens of CSOs, governments and other institutions both in developing materials, doing investigations, and providing training.

A network owned by its members

Members of School of Data work to empower civil society organizations, journalists, governments and citizens with the skills they need to use data effectively in their efforts to create better, more equitable and more sustainable societies.

Our members truly make School of Data unique!

After nearly 3 years of growth and shared successes, the time has come to formally recognise the growing array of School of Data partners and stakeholders and share ownership and decision making of School of Data with them.

We are very happy to announce that we have started the journey towards transitioning the ownership of the School of Data by establishing a governance structure. After intensive meetings, debates and voting during our last Summer Camp in Ottawa, the School of Data members elected a Steering Group and empowered them to represent the entire network, manage shared assets like the School of Data brand and fundraise for the network going forward. Our newly elected Steering Committee members are:

  • Juan Manuel Casanueva, Director of Social TIC
  • Bardhyl Jashari, Director of Metamorphosis, Macedonia
  • Natalia Mazotte, Programme Manager of School of Data Brazil
  • Sander van der Waal, Projects Director at Open Knowledge International
  • Antonio Cucho Gamboa, Senior School of Data fellow and Open Data Activist in Peru
Congratulations to our brand new and amazing Steering Committee!

Congratulations to our brand new and amazing Steering Committee!

The Steering Committee is supported by the School of Data coordination team whose work remains invaluable in managing programmes and running data literacy activities in close collaboration with our local partners.

Legally, School of Data will still be homed at Open Knowledge, who remains a key stakeholder. However, the goal of having a governance structure is to ensure long term sustainability and empower our community to participate in School of Data’s development.

What’s next?

The Steering Group and the School of Data coordination team have a lot of work ahead, especially as they establish this new model. One of their most important priorities is to set up a membership scheme and define a clear process to join the School of Data network.

We already have the basic principles of a membership model:

  • We strive for autonomy for our local partners and trust in our members
  • We will be united by shared values and passion for data literacy
  • We will continue to develop materials with open licence to encourage anyone to use, re-use and re-distribute them
  • Membership will be determined by shared values, intention to become a member and contribution to the network
  • The membership will be continuously validated though feedback and some quality control mechanisms
  • The benefits of membership are, among others, shared knowledge and projects, visibility and brand, peer support and solidarity and a vote for the steering committee or representation in decision making

Do you want to become a School of Data member? Please get in touch – this is the perfect time for us to explore new frontiers and build the foundations of an amazing network of data literacy practitioners around the world!

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Welcome to our new Community Manager

Milena Marin - April 22, 2015 in Uncategorized





We are very excited to announce that School of Data has a new Community manager.

Cédric is based in Bordeaux, France, and joined Open Knowledge in March. He will be supporting the School of Data community along with managing the external communication of the project.

Before joining the team Cédric has been working as a project and community coordinator for Open Knowledge France for one year. He discovered School of Data there and has dedicated his time to the project ever since, working with the community and facilitating data workshops.. He studied Public and Political Communication with a focus on open data and digital public services.

You can follow on him on Twitter at @clombion

The School of Data Journalism: Europe’s Biggest Data Journalism Event

Milena Marin - April 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

The European Journalism Centre, Open Knowledge and the International Journalism Festival are pleased to announce the 4th edition of Europe’s biggest data journalism event, the School of Data Journalism. The 2015 edition takes place in Perugia, Italy between 15 – 19 of April as part of this year’s International Journalism Festival.

An invitation for beginners and experienced data journalists

As part of the festival the School of Data is an invitation for beginners and experienced journalists to tell stories through data – a field of work growing and gaining in importance. A team of about 15 expert panelists and instructors from New York Times, Guardian, Twitter, Journalism++, Knight-Mozilla, School of Data and others will lead participants in a mix of discussions and hands-on sessions aimed to empower participants with the skills they need to produce high quality data stories. The topics will range from revenue models for data driven newsrooms to sensor data, web scraping and social media data, basic design and visualisation tips and mapping techniques for journalism.

This year’s edition will also include a data expedition – a hand on workshops where participants will have the chance to put in practice their data journalism skills and produce

Entry to the School of Data Journalism panels and workshops is free and does not require registration. Last year’s editions featured a stellar team of panelists and instructors, attracted hundreds of journalists and was fully booked within days. Previous editions saw the launch of the Data Journalism Handbook, and the Verification Handbook, go-to references for practitioners in the field.

The full programme of this year’s School of Data Journalism can be found here:

One participants from the last year edition said:

“The School of Data Journalism is an amazing event for journalists of all levels: whether you are a beginner looking to brush-up on basic skills or an experienced geek keen to deepen your knowledge of data tools, the School has something for you. I am a seasoned data journalists and I was amazed how much I learned from last year’s edition!”

Elisabetta Tola, an Italian freelance researcher and data journalist said

“I never used Excel with the idea of producing an article out of it. To go from downloading or producing an Excel table, to organising the information in a way that you can extract or produce a story – that’s one of the things I definitely got from these workshops”

Get the details:



Mirko Lorenz, Journalist and Information Architect, European Journalism Centre:
Milena Marin, School of Data Programme Director, Open Knowledge Foundation,

Full scheule:


About the International Journalism Festival (
The International Journalism Festival is the largest media event in Europe. It is held every April in Perugia, Italy. The festival is free entry for all attendees for all sessions. It is an open invitation to listen to and network with the best of world journalism. The leitmotiv is one of informality and accessibility, designed to appeal to journalists, aspiring journalists and those interested in the role of the media in society. Simultaneous translation into English and Italian is provided.

About Open Knowledge (
Open Knowledge, founded in 2004, is a worldwide network of people who are passionate about openness, using advocacy, technology and training to unlock information and turn it into insight and change. Our aim is to give everyone the power to use information and insight for good. Visit to learn more about the Foundation and its major projects including and

About the European Journalism Centre (
The European Journalism Centre is an independent, international, non-profit foundation dedicated to maintaining the highest standards in journalism in particular and the media in general. Founded in 1992 in Maastricht, the Netherlands, the EJC closely follows emerging trends in journalism and watchdogs the interplay between media economy and media culture. It also hosts each year more than 1.000 journalists in seminars and briefings on European and international affairs.

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News from our School of Data Fellows

Milena Marin - December 2, 2014 in Events, Fellowship

We are back with some news about our amazing fellows from all over the world. One of our ways to keep in touch is having weekly written stand-ups in chat. We ask our fellows 3 questions plus a bonus:

  1. What you have done
  2. What you are doing
  3. Any lessons/obstacles
  4. Bonus music tracks.

##A busy month full of data trainings

  • In Philippines, Happy and Sam ran a Data Skills Training for the Civil Service Commission. They really enjoyed working with government employees who were so switched on. Keep an eye on this space for a follow up blog.

  • In Nigeria, our Olu just rounded up the #OpenDataParty in Abuja, Nigeria November 28 and 29 where they had 116 registered participants coming from the six region of the country to teach, and learn about how to use data for advocacy (NGOs) and storytelling (journalists); For those of you who can’t wait for the blog post, here are some pictures: Looking for pictures from this event.


  • In Peru, our fellow Antonio and Juan Manuel, master of all School of Data things in Latin America, hosted Meetup with HacksHackers about private data and open data. Antonio is also working on a visualisation of climate emergencies in Peru over tge last 10 years.

  • In South Africa, Hannah is working on mapping the Cape Town budget for a beneficiary NGO, Ndifuna Ukwazi. For this she is experimenting with Carto DB, using a lot of their customisation functionalities.

  • In Romania, Codrina worked on and listed an application for the OGP Romanian awards – Political Colours of Romania, and preparing an open geodata workshop in this project.

  • In India, Nisha just finished a beginners workshop on data journalism and an open streets map mapping party with Mapbox. She is working on an online data journalism module and preparing a data expedition in Hyderabad with Milena.

  • In Tanzania, our Joachim lead a Open Refine deep dive last week with President’s office , Public Service Management and is now organizing another Open Refine and QGIS deep dive session for next week with an educational agency in Dar es Salaam.

  • In Macedonia, Dona and Milena organised a 2-day training in Macedonia covering basic data concepts, data analysis with spreadsheets and data visualisation. Here are some photos:


  • In Hungary, Rita is in full preparation for next week’s two spreadsheet workshops for CSOs. This is the second series of spreadsheets training. Last time, the biggest challenge was assessing people’s skills to be able to tailor the training to their knowledge. This time, to be more accurate, the team has decided to require a few exercises to be completed, not just a self assessment survey.

  • In Indonesia, Yuandra talked about the usage of data at an event in Bandung and helped PWYP Indonesia create their first infographic. He is currently preparing for skill sharing session this November and for a survey trip with PWYP to kalimantan.

##Some lessons learnt

  • Never rely on internet at events! If possible bring a separate internet source to workshops like a internet dongle or a BRCK
  • When organizing events be patients , especially when dealing with public servants!
  • It’s never an easy task to find good datasets for trainings. We try to always use data that is relevant for our participants, that can get them to ask some interesting questions and is of course appropriate for the training.
  • It’s also quite hard to assess the skills of your participants before the training. Over-rating their skills might get you disappointed or at least you’ll have to cut and do a lot of adjustment to your training.

##Bonus music from around the world

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Announcing the School of Data Fellows

Milena Marin - July 15, 2014 in Community

We are proud to announce the School of Data Fellows 2014. During the next six months 12 amazing individuals will train and collaborate with civil society and journalists to drive accountability, transparency and social change across five continents. The Fellows are joining OKFestival this week in Berlin and will take part in a dedicated School of Data Summer Camp with trainers, partners and staff to share skills and develop action plans.

We are grateful for the interest from partners and members in the School of Data community. A special thank you to the more than 200 applicants who applied to join the programme.

Meet the School of Data Fellows

Antonio Cucho Gamboa, Peru
Antonio is a specialist in website development – as a PHP and Python programmer. He is the founder of the Open Data community Peru and Co-organizer of Hacks / Hackers Lima. Participate in projects Open Data, Data Journalism. In Juny 2013 I participated in AbreLatam 2013 in Montevideo, Uruguay with my project Lima I/O (DAL Regional Winner 2012). In February 2014 I organized a Open Data Day Peru, we had workshops, hackaton and talks about open data. Also in March 2014 I went to Montevideo, Uruguay to participated in the first Databootcamp for journalists. This year, I’m teaching open data tools in some workshops for journalists, citizens and NGO’s.

Codrina Illie
codrina photo
Codrina is a PhD Student at the Technical University of Civil Engineering, Bucharest working within the Groundwater Engineering Research Center “CCIAS”. She is actively promoting free and open source software for geospatial and she is a dynamic supporter of the open data movement in Romania through her work within the community. Codrina is part of the GEodata Openness Initiative for Development and Economic Advancement in ROmania project team. The main objective of is to improve the scientific basis for open geodata model adoption in Romania. The project is built on the strong believe that publishing government geodata in Romania over the Internet, under an open license and in a reusable format can strengthen citizen engagement and yield new innovative businesses, bringing substantial social and economic gains. You can follow her on twitter.

Dona Djambaska, Macedonia
Dona graduated in the field of Environmental Engineering and has been working with the Metamorphosis foundation in Skopje for the past 6 years in assisting on projects in the field of information society. There she has focused on organising trainings for computer skills, social media, online promotion, photo and video activism. Dona is also an active contributor and member of the Global Voices Online community. She dedicates her spare time to artistic and activism photography.

Hannah Williams, South Africa
Hannah is a graphic designer working in both web and print. She also does copy writing now and again and have worked on a couple of public art projects. Recently she she has been trying to focus more on doing work that has a positive social impact. You can find some of her work here:

Happy Feraren, the Philippines
Happy Feraren is the co-founder and CEO of – a Manila based civil society organization (CSO) that monitors the quality of service in frontline government offices through volunteer reports. Along with the rest of her team, has engaged over 100 student volunteers to monitor their local government offices and check for compliance of service standards mandated by the law. Her CSO aims to uplift the standard of public service and create a culture of active citizenship. Happy finished a degree in Literature at the De La Salle University, Manila before pursuing a career in advertising. After 4 years in the industry, she decided to leave advertising to work full time in the development sector. She is also a member of Manila’s premiere improvisational theater group, SPIT (Silly People’s Improv Theater). As a member of the group, she has performed in international improv festivals, conducted training modules for corporations, and developed special immersive theater shows. She also has diverse local and international experience in the fields of education, tourism, broadcasting, and HR training.

Joachim Mangilima, Tanzania
Joachim Mangilima is a technology and data enthusiast with a passion for using technology and data in addressing the most common problems facing communities around the world. He is active in consulting in the areas of development, deployment and management of mobile and web-based solutions and systems for decision support, data collection, analysis and management. Joachim is also the Co-founder and Co-manager of Google Developer Group (GDG), Dar es Salaam, a group of technology enthusiasts and software developers who are interested in open source technology with a bias in Google’s developer technology; this includes everything from the Android, App Engine, and Google Chrome platforms, to product APIs like the Maps API, YouTube API and Google Calendar API. Joachim holds a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Dar es Salaam majoring in Computer Science and Statistics with a minor in Economics.

Nisha Thompson, India
Nisha is currently working as Lead Organizer of a new organization called DataMeet, which is a community of people who are working towards open data by sharing experiences and helping others with data related problems. Datameet is hosting meetups and Open Data Camps around the country to promote dialogue about the use of data for civic purposes. Nisha moved to India in 2010 and worked with the India Water Portal to open up water data and worked with partners on the ground to improve the use and management of data. She also co-wrote a report on Open Government Data in India with the Centre for Internet and Society located in Bangalore. Previously she has worked with the Sunlight Foundation, in the United States, as social media and community organizer.

Oludotun Babayemi, Nigeria
Oludotun Babayemi has 5 years experience in the nonprofit sector and a Masters degree in Information Management. He is a Monitoring and Evaluation Expert with Connected Development [CODE], and the Lead Development Consultant with Cloneshouse Nigeria. He is a Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional and presently a USAID and Google sponsored CrisisMapper Fellow. Oludotun Babayemi is working on monitoring and evaluation systems [such as the Follow The Money and the Education Budget Tracker] that could be used in putting pressure on governments and organizations in developing countries to be more responsive to demands from internal and external stakeholders for good governance, accountability and transparency, greater development effectiveness and delivery of tangible results. He has worked in participatory mapping projects with UNOCHA during the Libya Crisis, UNOSAT in the Post Libya Crisis Geotagging , WHO in the health facility registry post-Libya Crisis, Amnesty International-US during the Syria Uprising, UNSPIDER in the Samoa Simulation Exercise, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Simulation Exercise and also with USAID on the mapping of poverty alleviation projects around the world. He was the Geo-Team Lead with Humanity Road using his expertise in information communications in disasters and humanitarian relief support.

Rita Zágoni, Hungary
Rita is a programmer with social science background. She has worked in IT management and web development before joining the Economics department of Central European University, where she is in charge of parsing unstructured, free text data to create analyzable format. Wandering across these fields she has gained some experience in website development, text processing and statistics using mainly Python, Java and MySQL.

Ruben Moya, Mexico
Ruben studied computer science at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara (UDG). He is currently freelancing developing web applications. He is a follower of technology and love to see new places. In the past months he has given lectures on code optimization, and have been teaching basic and advanced programming and developing. He also manages the programming of online conferences (hangouts) and online courses on various topics of technology, development and design.

Siyabonga Africa, South Africa
Siyabonga Africa
Siyabonga is from the east coast of South Africa but is currently living in Gauteng and working as a data visualization lead developer at Apehllion. His career has its roots in public administration and journalism from the University of Pretoria and Stellenbosch University respectively. He completed his masters in new media design at Indiana University before returning to South Africa in 2012.

Yuandra Ismiraldi, Indonesia
Yuandra is a full stack mobile engineer and game developer from Indonesia. He holds a bachelor and master degree in software engineering, and started his career working with several startups in mobile and gaming space. He became interested in open data after participating in a hackathon about open data. Thinking that open data is a very interesting field, he is currently expanding his skill set to the world of open data and feels that information technology can become a great tool for open data.

Delivery partners
The Fellowship Programme is developed and delivered with Code for Africa, Social-Tic (Mexico) and Publish What You Pay Indonesia.

Funding partners
The School of Data Fellowship is made possible thanks to the generous support from the World Bank through the Partnership for Open Data, Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO), Hivos, Indigo Trust, Southeast Asia Technology and Transparency Initiative (SEATTI), The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Open Society Foundations.

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Fellowship Deadline Extended & We need your help

Milena Marin - May 30, 2014 in Community

Supporting a global community of data teachers and learners is one of the core goals of School of Data. We know from running events with civil society and journalist organizations that there is a data literacy gap. While School of Data is one of a number of international groups aiming to make a difference, we aspire to mentor and support data leaders everywhere. To do this, we’ve created programmes, training modules and are working hard to find ways to support the community. The School of Data Fellowship is one of our projects to make this possible.

We are extending the School of Data Fellowship Programme Deadline to Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Data expedition during Mozilla Festival, 2013.

Our team is currently reviewing all the applications we’ve received. Thank you, we are impressed with your applications!

As mentioned in our FAQs and in our recent video hangout, we are having applications open globally while we are also on the lookout for fellows in specific areas of the world. We are seeking fellow applications from Macedonia, Tanzania, South Africa, Indonesia and Latin America. We also want to encourage women to apply! If it is any indication on how much we think about data for all: our team is half men and half women.

How to apply

To apply, please fill in this application form and attach your CV. The deadline is June 10.

Optionally, you can also send us a 30-second video expressing your interest in the role or explaining something “techie” in few (jargon-free) words. This is not a requirement for the application, but we will appreciate the extra effort! The video need not be professionally edited and can be filmed using any available recording equipment.

Help with outreach

Can you share a tweet or a Facebook post? Do you know someone in our target countries? Can you share this with them?

Be a School of Data Fellow. Applications Due June 10, 2014


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Slides, Tools and other Resources from the School of Data Journalism 2014

Milena Marin - May 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

The School of Data Journalism is a joint initiative of the European Journalism Centre, the Open Knowledge Foundation, and the International Journalism Festival of Perugia. The third edition consisted of four days of workshops and panels, covering everything from crime investigations to data journalism using spreadsheets, social media data, data visualisation and mapping for journalism.

In this post you will find all the links shared during this training event, the video replays of the panel sessions and workshops, links to the slides of the panelists and instructors. If you have links shared during the sessions that we missed, post them in the comments section and we will update the list.

Video recordings and notes

Panel discussions



You can find some pictures here. Please do feel free to share your pictures with us!

Slides, tutorials, articles

Tools and other resources

Organisations and initiatives

Data journalism projects

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School of Data Journalism 2014: the Storify summary

Milena Marin - May 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

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We need you! Become a School of Data Fellow

Milena Marin - May 9, 2014 in Community


  • Update 2014-06-11: The application is now closed! We received 200 applications, thank you! We are now reviewing them, stay put!
  • Update 2014-05-30: The deadline for applications has been extended to the 10th of June. See more details here.
  • Update 2014-05-20: Macedonia confirmed as an additional country seeking fellows


Got data skills to share? Member of a community that wants to turn data into information? Know about a data journalism or civic activism project or organisation which need a push for using data more effectively? The School of Data needs you! We are currently broadening our efforts to spread data skills around the world, and people like you are crucial in this effort: new learners need guidance and people to help them along the way. Stand out and become a **School of Data Fellow**.

We are looking for people fitting the following profile:

  • Data savvy: has experience working with data and a passion for teaching data skills.

  • Understands the role of  Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and media in bringing positive change through advocacy, campaigns, and storytelling.  Fellows are passionate about enabling partners to use data effectively through training and ongoing support.

  • Interested or experienced in working with journalism and/or civil society.

  • Has some facilitation skills and enjoys community-building (both online and offline).

  • Eager to learn from and be connected with an international community of data enthusiasts

As a School of Data fellow, you will receive data and leadership training, as well as coaching to organise events and build your community. You will also be part of a growing global network of School of Data practitioners, benefiting from the network effects of sharing resources and knowledge and contributing to our understanding about how best to localise our training efforts.

You will be part of a six-month training programme where we expect you to work with us for an average of five days a month, including attending online and offline trainings, organising events, and being an active member of the School of Data community.

There are up to 10 fellowship positions open for the July to December 2014 School of Data training programme.

We have current collaborations and resourcing confirmed to support fellows from the following countries: Romania, Hungary, South Africa, Indonesia, Macedonia and Tanzania. We are also able to consider applicants for the remaining 4 places in this round from countries meeting these criteria:

  • The country falls under lower income, lower-middle income or upper-middle income categories as classified here.

  • There is demand from civil society organisations and/or journalists who wish to benefit from such a scheme.

  • There are some interesting datasets available in the country which would be worth exploring further. These could either be data published by a government or organisation or data collected by an organisation for their own internal use. Digitised or non-digitised—anything goes! We’re keen for a variety of challenges and want the fellows’ help to adapt teaching techniques to a variety of situations.

Our goal is to have global fellows from a wide mix of these countries. Don’t see your country listed? Keep reading to learn how you can get involved!

Got questions? See more about the Fellowship Programme here and have a looks at this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. If this doesn’t answer your question, email us on

Not sure if you fit the profile? Have a look at who is a fellow now!

Convinced? Apply now to become a School of data fellow. The application will be open until the 1st of June 2014 and the programme will start in July 2014.

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DIY Aerial Mapping

Milena Marin - May 6, 2014 in HowTo

This is a report from the School of Data Journalism organised by Open Knowledge,European Journalism Centre, and International Journalism Festival. The session was led by Cindy Regalado founder of a London-based group engaging citizens in diverse ways that expand our horizons, practically, experientially, and philosophically and  community organiser for Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science. Public Lab publishes a collection of resources for DIY aerial photography and mapping, as well as instructions on how to create other low-cost tools for environmental science. The organization sells pre-packaged kits through its Web store to help kickstart would-be aerial cartographers in getting their balloon- or kite-based sensor platforms into the skies.

Why kites?

Running on a field pushing up in the air a colorful kite brings instant joy and happiness.


We can do aerial photography in numerous ways: with balloons, kites, drones, helicopters and so on. We chose kites because they are by far the most accessible and affordable. You don’t need expensive and rare helium like in the case of balloon mapping, we don’t need to spend loads like in the case of drones, they are silent (meaning you can cover a protest without attracting attention) and most of all, they are fun!

Getting ready

To fly a kite and capture pictures from high above you will need:

  • Kite – we used a 9′ (274 cm) Dazzle Delta Kite we ordered from the Public Lab store. One can also make a DIY kite with widely available materials for less than 20 USD.


  • Reel – this was also bought from the Public Lab store but it can be found in any kite flying store


  • Camera – we used a Canon PowerShot A1300
  • SD card & batteries
  • Camera rig – we used a DYI light wood picavete
  • Gloves


  • Map
  • Sunglasses
  • Check the weather conditions before.

Fly the kite

Choose a location with lots of open space. We went on the stadium nearby our main workshop venue.


To launch in good winds, stand with your back to the wind and hold your kite up to catch the wind. Let line out only as fast as the wind lifts the kite. If the wind lulls, pull in line to make your kite gain altitude.

In light or gusty winds, a high-start launch can get your kite up to steadier winds higher up. Have a friend hold your kite 50 meters or more downwind from you with the line stretched tight. When your assistant releases the kite, reel in line to make it climb.

Running is the hardest way to launch a kite. The uncontrolled tugging on the line makes kites dive and crash. Let the wind and your reel do the work instead.

When the wind catches your kite, you’ll feel a small tug. Release a tiny bit of line and slowly move backwards—running actually makes things harder, unless there is no wind case in which you might need to run. As the kite ascends, keep your line taut, so you always remain in control.

Attach the camera

Wait until your kite is up in the air at at least 50-60 meters and attach the camera rig.

We used a home made, light wood picavete and we attached the camera with rubber band. We had to make sure that the camera was pretty stable with 3-4 rounds of band.


Before attaching the camera, you have to make sure it’s on “continuous” mode. This will ensure that your camera will take pictures continuously once it’s up in the air. To keep the shutter speed pressed, block it with another rubber band.


Before pressing the shutter speed button, point the camera to the horizon. This will help the auto-focus function of your camera to adjust to the light conditions. Otherwise, if your camera looks down when you first press the button, your pictures are likely to be underexposed.


Now that everything is ready, attach the rig to the reel line making 3-4 turn on each hook.




Create your map

Depending on your camera, battery life time and SD card capacity, you will get something like 800 – 1200 pictures like that. The first thing you want to do is select the best 20-30 pictures that illustrate best the area you want to map.


You can use MapKnitter, a softare  designed and built for kite and balloon mapping. The interface is simple and the controls intuitive – here is the introduction video:

Belive us, this software it’s easy and intuitive!


Once you’ve pieced everything together, MapKnitter can export the map in five different geographic information system formats—the KML format used by Google Earth, Google Maps Viewer format, OpenLayers, GeoTIFF, and Tile Map Service format—or as a JPG for printing. You can also share the map through the MapKnitter site. So if it’s marked as public domain and it’s better resolution than existing imagery, Google may suck it into Google Maps to replace what it has.

And if technology is not for you, you can go ahead and print the images and work the old fashion way with scissors and glue to stitch together your aerial map.


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