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The news media has been snapping photos of the destruction that the oil spill is causing as it floats toward shore, but recently the government and BP have been restricting aerial photographs of the spill at sea. The New York Times reported this week that journalists have repeatedly been turned down when asked to fly over the spill in aircraft. It seems Warren has found a way around this issue with his mapping project.

Grassroots Mapping was started as a way to break down the power structure inherent in the cartography world and give regular citizens the power to make aerial maps of just about anything. The project teaches people how to make high-definition maps of the ground from above. In the case of the Gulf Coast oil spill, Warren and the Grassroots team is releasing all photos taken of the devastation into the public domain for all to see and use as they please. The maps will provide information that allows scientists to map the extent of the spill and could assist with creating a plan to clean it up — check out our ideas here. Grassroots Mapping is currently in the midst of a fund raising campaign to collect cash to put kits in the hands of more citizens to help finish their stitched together aerial map of the spill.

+ MIT Center for Future Civic Media

+ Grassroots Mapping

+ Inhabitat coverage of the Gulf oil spill

+ View the whole map

Via The New York Times Bits Blog