This is a liveblog post from the International Conference on Crisis Mapping at Tufts University.  You can also follow tweets from the event’s many open laptops at the #ICCM10 hashtag.

Jeffrey Warren of Grassroots Mapping takes the stage.

Warren explains that Grassroots Mapping’s cheap kit – valued at around $150 – allows people to create datasets inexpensively.  They take photographs from balloons and kites, then part of the process is to “stitch the photos” into maps.

Grassroots Mapping’s tools were used to map the Gulf oil spill; Warren shows an impressive array of photos taken using their toolkits.  “There’s almost no data you can compare these photos to,” he says, noting that they also send cameras off the backs of boats using kites.

Warren notes that all of the photos are in the public domain as well.

“One of the things we try to do is encourage people to pick up the tools and create their own maps,” explains Warren, sharing a calendar the Louisiana Bucket Brigade took in the summer.  He notes that their work was incredibly successful.

He explains that they also create illustrated guides to make the work easier for people who’ve never done this kind of thing before.  Sharing work from Georgia (the country, not the state), he says that they worked with local communities to map there as well.