Innovation is why we love companies like Google. Several times a week, it seems, the company comes out with another program or product idea that makes us all smile (and secretly wonder how long we have until they’ve achieved world domination). Their best ideas, however, involve their user base — and their latest expansion idea for Google Earth does just that.
With help from the folks over at The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, Google is adding kite and balloon imagery to Google Earth, only they’re not the ones capturing the images. The aforementioned public laboratory has instead put together an open source balloon mapping toolkit and a set of instructions on how to start capturing and adding your images to their database.
All you need to contribute is a point-and-shoot, about $100 in additional equipment, and the determination to actually go out and do it. They’ve even provided a MapKnitter that will help you align your photos properly. Head over to their website if you’re interested in getting your hands on some instructions, and you can start making your contribution to Google Earth today.