Feb 21, 2013 - Jeffrey Warren

Open Source Collaboration And a "Big Data" Approach To Household Spectral Analysis


Online communities are tackling ever more complicated technical projects through open source sharing and collaboration, more recently even hardware designs. (DIYDrones, Public Laboratory, SafeCast) "Big data" projects which approach data collection, analysis, and publication as a database-scale problem, such as OpenStreetMap, have demonstrated the remarkably high quality of aggregated data. 
The Public Laboratory's recently launched project at SpectralWorkbench.org includes both open source hardware and software for low-cost, amateur VIS-NIR spectral analysis, with a focus on contaminated water and soil. By developing a web-based data collection tool (the spectrometer plugs in over USB and connects directly to a web browser) and encouraging open source publication of data online, the Public Lab community is creating an open spectral library for the exchange of data as well as a suite of online tools and APIs for manipulating, interpreting, and comparing spectra.


Jeffrey Warren, Public Laboratory


The creator of GrassrootsMapping.org and co-founder and Research Director for the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (http://publiclaboratory.org), Jeff designs mapping and civic science tools and professionally flies balloons and kites. Notable software he has created include the vector-mapping framework Cartagen and orthorectification tool MapKnitter. He is a fellow at MIT's Center for Civic Media and an advocate of open source software, hardware, and data. He co-founded Vestal Design, a graphic/interaction design firm in 2004, and directed the Cut&Paste Labs project, a year-long series of workshops on opensource tools and web design in 2006-7 with Lima designer Diego Rotalde.
Jeff holds an MS from MIT and a BA in Architecture from Yale University, and spent much of that time working with artist/technologist Natalie Jeremijenko, building robotic dogs and stuff. To find out more, visit Unterbahn.com.




Pre-registration discount DINNER reservations must be made by 6 PM, February 18, the Monday before the meeting. Full-price reservation accepted thereafter.  Walk-ins welcome at full-price. MEETING-ONLY registrations appreciated by February 20

Please make reservations online. Reservations may also be left on the answering machine at 617.584.0266. We no longer have an email address for reservations due to SPAM. When making reservation requests, please provide the following information:

  • DINNER AND MEETING or meeting only
  • Name(s) and membership status
  • Daytime phone number where you can be reached (in case of change or cancellation)


Rebeccas Cafe (Located in back of the office complex)
275 Grove Street
Auburndale, MA 02466

(617) 969-3282

(Map to Rebecca's).

Networking—5:45 PM, Dinner—6:45, Meeting—7:30 PM.


Vegetarian option available on request

Dinner Prices:

   Register on/before
 DINNER Reservation Date 
 Late Reservations 
 NES/OSA Members and their guests   $25.00 each   $30.00 
 Non-members   $30.00 (See NOTE Below)   $35.00 
 Students   $5.00   $5.00 
 Post-Docs   $15.00   $15.00 








NOTE: The NES/OSA has not changed dinner prices in several years but has been facing higher costs. We will maintain the current dinner prices for those reserving dinner on the requested date but still try to accommodate late reservations.

General Information on NES/OSA Meetings

Cancellations and No-shows:

If the meeting must be canceled for any reason, we will try to call you at the phone number you leave with your reservation. Official notice of cancellation will be on our answering machine.

We have to pay for the dinners reserved as of the Tuesday before the meeting, so no-shows eat into our cash reserve. If you will not be able to attend, please let us know as early as possible. Otherwise, no-shows will be billed.

Membership Rates:

Regular members $15.00
Student members free




NOTE: The extra $5.00 of the non-member dinner fee can be used toward membership dues if the nonmember joins and pays dues for the current year at the meeting.