MEDIA ADVISORY: Launch of Mapping Balloon for GIS Day

November 19, 2013

In recognition of the annual international event, students will launch a weather balloon with a GoPro camera payload to demonstrate aerial mapping technology

Contact: Robert Perkins at (213) 740-9226 or; or Michelle Salzman Boston at (213) 821-9311 or

WHAT: As part of the world-wide celebration of GIS Day, an annual event to raise awareness of geographic infromation systems (GIS), students with the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences will launch a mapping balloon in Alumni Park.

The balloon is registered with Public Lab, a citizen science group that shares research ideas and experiments, and will include a GoPro camera mounted to the base that will capture images that can then be “knitted” together into a mosaic map. Such technology can provide saptially informed response plans to areas affected by disasters.

Paticipants will tweet about the event using the hashtag #USCGISDay.

WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 20. Balloon launches at 1 p.m.; expected to land around 1:15 p.m. Photos from the balloon will be available to the press later in the day.

WHO: Darren Ruddell, Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Spatial Sciences and Director, Undergraduate Studies, USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

Students in Ruddell’s Maps and Spatial Reasoning class

WHERE: Alumni Park (along Trousdale Parkway)

WHY: This event is one of many across the globe to celebrate and inform the public about mapping technologies and their practical applications.

Photo courtsey of Darren Ruddell/USC Dornsife