A Public Laboratory group is just starting up in Texas, read below for more information and to get involved!
- At [[http://occupyaustin.org/|Occupy Austin]], we have spun up a working group devoted to building both balloon/dirigible and quadcopter platforms for protest mapping and livestreaming. This effort is directly inspired by the Public Lab's work in this domain in [[Santiago, Chile|Chilé]], [[https://mapknitter.org/maps/2011-10-01-newyork-occupywallstreet|OWS]], and [[Occupy Oakland 10AM|Oakland]]. We have quite a few folks very excited about the idea here and have established strong ties with the [[http://atxhackerspace.org/|ATX Hackerspace]] to assist in build out. Some folks there have worked out a design for a $400 quadcopter capable of carrying a 1kg payload; they have deployed a camera on that platform during trial runs. We are aiming for a rapidly deployable platform capable of autonomously broadcasting an overhead livestream, perhaps utilizing the FreedomTower communications infrastructure developed and deployed by the [[http://freenetworkfoundation.org/|Free Network Foundation]]. If you are interested in connecting up with us in this regard and helping us design and deploy low-cost, easily repeatable balloon/dirigible/quadcopter platforms for protest mapping, join [[http://foojutsu.org/mailman/listinfo/occupyaustin-it-uas|our mailing list]].
- SXSW 2012 panel: [[http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/9516|"Grassroots Mapping: DIY Activism & Civic Science"]]
- Interest in spectroscopic analysis of food products
- Outreach: Austin is rich with groups focused on environmental and sustainability issues (see [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0912596/|The Unforeseen]] for the provenance of the [[http://www.sosalliance.org/|Save Our Springs Alliance]] in the early 90's, focused on preserving the Barton Creek watershed and Barton Springs). Zilker Park surrounds the pool and would be perfect for kite and balloon flying amongst people enjoying and curious. Another group to reach out to is [[http://www.wildflower.org/|The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center]] (for tracking the spread of native and invasive plant species, the effects of drought, etc.). In short, the combination of high tech + green in Austin is fertile soil for the Public Lab's work.