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The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) was founded in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. It was established because there was very little information available on the causes and extent of the disaster at the time. Therefore, Public Lab intended to ensure that the people could gather the necessary information and share it with each other, instead of having to rely on corporate information policies.
Since then, Public Lab has developed into a large community of scientists, technicians, businesses and individuals who are committed to environmental issues. They use the website to spread their views about protecting the environment and to gain more information about the subject. For example, the website also provides free instructions on how to construct and operate a simple environmental measuring site. Public Lab also offers simple online courses dedicated to specific issues. Members can post their queries on the site, which also results in the development and distribution of new tools and materials.
One of its principles is that research should be conducted as locally as possible and within communities. This leads learners to collect data in their neighbourhoods and to collate them. All of the technologies that have been developed and distributed are low-price, open source and easy to use. This enables Public Lab to teach communities how to undertake environmental research and brings research out of expert laboratories.