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Kite Mapping
activity:kite-mapping

Kite mapping is similar to [balloon mapping](/wiki/balloon-mapping), but uses kites to lift cameras to take aerial photographs. With kites and a 5-20 mph wind, many of the objectives of balloon mapping are possible without helium or balloons. If you want to map a site with consistent winds, you may be in luck! Kite Aerial Photography [has a large and active community of practitioners](http://arch.ced.berkeley.edu/kap/discuss/) which is focused on high-performance kites that can lift large loads and/or fly in very light winds. Here, we're especially focused on [We sell a kite mapping pack with two kites and a lot of tails to help you get going.](http://store.publiclab.org/collections/mapping/) ### Towing kites Kites can also be used in large flat areas with no power lines or trees, such as on oceans or lakes, beaches, or deserts, by towing them behind a boat, car, or bicycle. Keep in mind that going downwind will drop the speed of your kite. ## Activities [activities:kite-mapping] **** ## Questions [questions:kite-mapping] **** ## Choosing a kite ### Commercial kites Kite Aerial Photographers, or KAPers, often select expensive kites which can lift large weights, and many use heavier, customizable cameras such as digital SLRs with remote control targeting or stabilization. If you just want to put a camera in the air for the lowest cost and highest reliability, we recommend a few different relatively inexpensive kites, paired with the [PET Bottle Rig](/wiki/pet-bottle-rubber-band-rig). We sell two kites and a 15' Fuzzy Tail for high-wind flying, together as [our Kite Mapping Pack](http://store.publiclab.org/collections/mapping/products/kite-mapping-pack): [9ft. Dazzle Delta](http://www.gombergkites.com/g-delt.html) is only $46 and a very good, easy flier. It doesn't pack down very small, but is a very affordable and high quality light wind kite. [7ft. High Sky Delta](https://www.gkites.com/store/) is only $30 and a great complement to the Dazzle Delta, providing easier flying in high winds. [Levitation Delta](http://www.intothewind.com/shop/Traditional_Kites/Delta_Kites/ITW_9-ft._Levitation_Delta_Kite) - ($65) 9 ft. wide - a strong and stable flyer in 7-20mph winds. In high winds it can take some effort to reel in, as it has a lot of lift. The spars all split in half and it packs down easily to 40." Good, high flying angle. Also available in 7 and 11 foot versions for high and low winds. [Zenith Delta](http://www.shop.thirdcoastkites.com/ZENITH-gk1011.htm) - ($70) 7 ft. wide - This one is fantastic, a strong and stable flyer in even light winds (7mph). Not as much lift as the Levitation and it doesn't break down as small, but it is easier to handle in high winds. A great all-around kite. [Fled](http://www.brooxes.com/newsite/BBKK/kitesales.html) - ($110) stable, strong, very light-wind kite that flies at a line angle of 65 - 70 degrees. This kite is very quick to set up and simple to adjust. It flies in a wide range of conditions, and is a "go-to" kite for many KAPers. The high line angle is very useful for flying in tight spaces. [Gomberg Delta Conyne](http://www.shop.thirdcoastkites.com/GOMBERG-DELTA-CONYNE-gk1005.htm) - ($37) - Harder to launch, and not great in light winds, but once it's in the air it's a stable flyer. A favorite of the Gowanus Conservancy in strong winter winds. [A chart for comparison](https://web.archive.org/web/20130121161929/http://www.kaper.us/basics/comparekite_R.html) ### Kite Making Making your own kite is great -- designs can range from easy and quick to bigger more ambitious one that can be more portable, stronger lifters, or light-wind flyers. > [Kite Making](/wiki/kite-making) **** #### Delta kites are a quick build, and very effective Mathew has [step by step instructions as well as a spreadsheet of dimensions for a quick-to-build DIY Delta Kite](/notes/mathew/7-19-2012/easy-cut-delta-kite-plans). This is a proven design that flies well. He uses tvvek and bamboo, but wooden dowels and plastic sheeting will work as well. [Astoicof wrote great build notes and a PDF on using plastic sheeting to make a delta kite.](/notes/astoicof/9-12-2012/call-it-delta-maybe). Jeff Warren and kids at Parts and Crafts have gotten good results from a [mylar copy of the Dazzle Delta.](/notes/warren/7-18-2012/mylar-delta-kite-design). Safidy has been playing with [NASA's Kite Modeler](/notes/safidy/7-3-2012/nasa-kite-modeler) software and making [DIY deltas](/notes/safidy/7-26-2012/diy-light-delta-kite). #### Non-Deltas [Grassroots Mappers in Peru](http://publiclaboratory.org/notes/anita/3-21-2012/kite-mapping-workshops-puno-peru-pt-2-univ-nacional-altiplano-jayllihuaha-mapp) have [had good luck with plastic and bamboo kites.](https://plus.google.com/photos/117256558637209065596/albums/5722207824983334049?authkey=CPejutOj3uLa7QE) Mathew also made a series of [Tyvek and Bamboo Fled kites](http://publiclaboratory.org/report/tyvek-fleds-theoretical-actual-performance) based on the designs of Brooks Leffler. The third has been extremely successful at lifting cameras to very high flying angles, and he can now recommend others to build the same. follow his instructions in the link above. Leo Famulari has notes on [kite bridle adjustment](/notes/lfamular/8-15-2012/diamond-kite-bridles) ### Other Kite Building Resources [Kiteplans.org](http://www.kiteplans.org) and the [Kitebuilder](http://www.kitebuilder.com/forums/index.php) forums are great online resources. The book [One-hour Kites by Jim Rowlands](http://www.alibris.com/booksearch?qwork=4850847) provides excellent plans and construction details. [Dan Kurahashi's Japanese Kites, Concepts and Construction](http://www.worldkitemuseum.com/data/giftshopdata.html) has more great plans, great charts on predicting lift, and some excellent instructions on making plastic bag kites. ### Published literature pertaining to KAP [Nathan Craig's Mendeley Group](http://www.mendeley.com/groups/1225421/kite-aerial-photography-kap/) may require setting-up a free, public account....


Author Comment Last activity Moderation
newsone1992 "Thanks for publish this great information..... net banking for boi " | Read more » almost 4 years ago
tahnok "I did this! A friend and I spent 4 hours working through this to make a 6ft wingspan delta. In the end the kite flew! But a minute after launch the..." | Read more » almost 4 years ago
Glenn "I do miniature kite workshops frequently... and I'll build 40 kites with kids tomorrow. It's quick and easy when you're prepared. See the Kite Wor..." | Read more » almost 5 years ago
warren "How about these, @sadler? https://publiclab.org/notes/pablo/12-17-2012/repairing-kites-stick-fiber-glass-safety-marker " | Read more » almost 5 years ago
warren "Great write-up, thanks @SuziT9! I've posted this to the blog -- http://publiclab.org/blog " | Read more » almost 5 years ago
xose "@xose awards a barnstar to SuziT9 for their awesome contribution! " | Read more » almost 5 years ago
xose "Fantastic @SuziT9! Is it possible to have a digital copy of the step-by-step instructions? Looking forward to try these minikites! " | Read more » almost 5 years ago
warren "Hi, just wanted to say we featured your story in our new Kickstarter campaign for Mini Balloon and Kite Kits: https://publiclab.org/notes/warren/0..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
xose "Black Box RC printed by @JuanfraAlvarez. We'll give it a try tomorrow. It has been a very long week and my body is asking me for a little bit of Cr..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
warren "Nice camera kite mount! And blue color scheme :-) " | Read more » almost 6 years ago
xose "So, yesterday we were unable to put the raspberry pi camera in the air.Our kite is tiny so we'll try a gopro today. " | Read more » almost 6 years ago
xose "I'm still assembling the components inside the box and using a RPI2b (the ones I got home ;). For the power I'm using a lipo batery together with t..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
warren "This looks awesome. I'm also ordering a Raspberry Pi Zero + camera to test out with a spectrometer, but curious how standardized/simple Raspberry P..." | Read more » almost 6 years ago
xose " We'll be trying this raspberry camera box ;) " | Read more » almost 6 years ago
mathew "I often get tripped up on the firmware upload stage; https://publiclab.org/notes/abdul/06-22-2016/infragram-plant-cam#Installing+config+file The c..." | Read more » about 6 years ago
warren "Hmm, i have an older one, so the firmware may have changed. Maybe best to ask about this on the main Grassroots Mapping list, as I think I remember..." | Read more » about 6 years ago
jbreen "You had me at "squid-shaped kite." I've been using the DIY Mini Kite Kit but for the life of me cannot seem to get the Mobius camera to go into ti..." | Read more » about 6 years ago
sarasage "Fantastic post! Would love to replicate this! " | Read more » about 6 years ago
warren "Thanks for the link! So many colors :-) -- " | Read more » over 6 years ago
shanlter "The squid looks so nice in the sky! Here is the link: https://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.0.0.YLWxJc&id=44263991526&ns=1&skuI..." | Read more » over 6 years ago
liz "The delivery was convenient too -- we bought a dozen, and they were shipped in a tape-wrapped tarp to a local mini-mart in Guangzhou where we picke..." | Read more » over 6 years ago
mathew "omg you're kidding me that is so cheap this kite is so awesome " | Read more » over 6 years ago
liz "The 5.5M kite was ~USD$4 on taobao in mainland China -- @shanlter can you post the link to the taobao store that you helped me buy from? " | Read more » over 6 years ago
mathew "The wire might not be visible, but I had the wire through the PVC, and wrapped the line around that. It worked great. " | Read more » over 6 years ago