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    Posted June 6, 2010 by
    Washington, District of Columbia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Oil disaster views and solutions

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    Adam Boalt, Apps For Democracy Winner, Helps Fund Grassroots Mapping Initiative


    Adam Boalt, first prize agency winner of Apps for Democracy, has helped fund the Grassroots Mapping initiative led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology student, Jeffrey Yoo Warren.


    The Grassroots Mapping initiative is an activist group of citizen mappers documenting the environmental effects of the Gulf Coast oil spill using inexpensive cameras attached to balloons and kites.  The aerial photos, taken from heights of up to 1500 feet, are providing images that have 10,000 times higher resolution than daily satellite images posted by NASA.  The efforts of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade in New Orleans with the tools developed by the MIT Center for Future Civic Media and GonzoEarth.com, are resulting in some of the best maps available of the spill.


    Boalt learned about the Grassroots Mapping after reading about their Gulf Oil Mapping  project on KickStarter.com, a funding platform for creative projects. Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen was recently featured in Fast Company magazine as one of the top 100 most creative people in business for 2010.


    “We're overjoyed that Adam Boalt has stepped up to support this groundbreaking grassroots effort; with his help we will be able to support citizen mappers in further documenting the effects of the BP oil spill,” Warren said.


    “Adam Boalt's belief in transparency resonates strongly with our desire to provide high resolution public domain imagery of the spill, and we will further that cause by assembling and deploying new Grassroots Mapping Kits for volunteers along the Gulf coast.”


    Boalt, who frequently supports local technology and government 2.0 events and projects in Washington, DC where he currently resides, won the original Apps for Democracy contest.  The contest, started by Peter Corbett of iStrategyLabs and Vivek Kundra, the first Chief Information Officer of the United States, was a catalyst for the Gov 2.0 movement.


    “I think that the Grassroots Mapping initiative is a great way to build awareness in the community and around the world of the reality of the situation in the gulf, and provide usable, actionable data that will aid in the restoration of the Gulf Coast,” said Boalt.  “I truly believe that in the future, crowdsourcing information like the mapping initiative will play an instrumental role in creating aid deployment strategies after natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis, especially in developing countries.”


    Warren recently presented Grassroots Mapping at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York city last week on June 4, 2010.  Craig Newmark of craigslist.com, Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post, and Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media, Inc. were some of the technology enthusiasts in attendance.  O’Reilly, who was recently featured on the cover of Inc. magazine, is a leading proponent of transparency, and believes that, “Gov 2.0 isn’t just the future of technology; it is also the future of democracy.”


    For more information on how to support this initiative, please visit the Grassroots Mapping KickStarter.com project at: http://bit.ly/grassroots-mapping or their website at: http://www.grassrootsmapping.org.

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