Public Lab has been leading the New Orleans Urban Waters Mapping Project as a community effort to document and map eight urban wetland restoration sites around New Orleans. The volunteer effort uses open-source tools, balloon mapping and mapping parties to collect, compile and organize data about progress.
The effort received a big boost during a Mapping Blitzon Oct. 11, 2014. Public Lab equipped various teams with mapping kits that included balloons, kites and long poles to take aerial images of the sites. Then the images were shared through Public Lab's open source MapKnitter software.
Although it's been nine years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, disaster recovery is ongoing. The group has designated nine sites for mapping and monitoring, including Bayou St. John at Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou St. John Scenic Urban Waterway, Bayou Bienvenue Wetlands Restoration, Bayou Bienvenue Waste Water Treatment Plant, South Lake Restoration site, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, and Wetland Watcher's Park.
As testimony to the hurricane's lasting impacts, the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center was shuttered for eight years, with a groundbreaking on a new center taking place this January. During that eight-year span, the invasive Chinese Tallow tree has taken hold, and mapping the extent of damage is one of the mapping effort's goals.
The project's Wiki can be found here.
Image source: Public Lab