The Public Laboratory

The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science

Date Awarded
Grant Period
06/23/11 to 06/22/14
Focus Area
Media Innovation
Knight News Challenge

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To make technology work for communities by creating a tool kit and online community for citizen-based, grassroots data gathering and research.

To make technology work for communities, the Public Laboratory will create a tool kit and online community for citizen-based, grassroots data gathering and research. The Lab is an expansion of Grassroots Mapping – a project originated at the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT. During the project, residents used helium-filled balloons and digital cameras to generate high-resolution “satellite” maps gauging the extent of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill – at a time when there was little public information on the subject. Expanding the tool kit beyond aerial mapping, Public Laboratory will work with communities, both online and offline, to produce information about their surroundings.

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Project Team

Public Laboratory Team

- Liz Barry: Director of Urban Environments
Director and co-founder of TreeKIT; Part-time faculty at Parsons, Pratt, Columbia. Urban designer and landscape architect, SOM 2007-09

- Shannon Dosemagen: Director of Community Engagement, Education and Outreach
Community Partner and Ethnographer, Louisiana State University Anthropology and Geography Dept.; Oil Spill Response Coordinator,Louisiana Bucket Brigade 2009-11; Grassroots Mapping Gulf Coast Coordinator; M.S. Anthropology 2009

- Adam Griffith: Director of Science and Coastal Environments,
Director of through the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, Teach for America, 1999-2001

- Stewart Long: Director of Geography and Data
GonzoEarth mapping services, Grassroots Mapping Gulf Coast map processing & publication lead

- Mathew Lippincott: Director of Production and Production in Education
Artist and Designer, Co-Founder of Cloacina; Partner, Biluna Birotunda Design; B.A. Oberlin College

- Jeffrey Warren: Director of Research
Center for Future Civic Media Fellow, 2008-10; Partner & co-founder, Vestal Design; B.A. Yale; M.S. MIT, 2010; Cartographer Founder of Grassroots Mapping.

- Sara Wylie: Director of Toxics and Health Research
Co-Founder MIT Center for Future Civic Media ExtrAct Project, ABD MIT History Anthropology Science Technology and Society, Part-time faculty RISD Digital+Media Department, B.A. University of Chicago.

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