Mapillary

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Mapillary link showing the Mapillary Malmö office

Mapillary (mapillary.com) is a service for sharing geotagged photos developed by a startup, located in Malmö, Sweden. Its creators want to represent the whole world (not only streets) with photos [1][2]. They believe that for covering all interesting places in the world, there needs to be an independent, crowd-sourced project and a systematic approach to cover interesting areas. Services like Google, having especially equipped cars with camera mounts, are not going to be able to cover the world in sufficient detail [1]. According to them, the local knowledge is almost unbeatable, and people know what really matters in capturing a photo [1]. They are interested in coverage of any outdoor place and this can contribute to a system that represents the world with high level of detail [1]. Most of the "intelligence" of image processing is done on the server side using Big data technologies and computer vision, making the data collection super simple for the user. As a result, Mapillary will improve with each new photo since all new photos are related to any existing photos in the vicinity. Here is a short presentation [3] for a brief technical overview. The idea is that the users of the data are empowered to increase coverage in areas that interest them [1]. The developers of Mapillary believe there is a place in the market for a provider of neutral and independent pictures [1][2]

The contributors can install the Mapillary app on WindowsPhone, Android or iPhone, there are successful reports from even Kindle App Store, Jolla and Blackberry devices that can run Android apps. After registration, the user can start taking photos.

At developer resources, the JSON API is documented, including an embeddable Widget.

Mapillary Examples

The Mapillary Workflow

Data collection

Screenshot of the Mapillary Android app in Camera mode
Capturing photos with an Android phone

The application for data collection is virtually the same in Android or iPhone. However, due to Android supporting background services it is possible to automatically send your photos whenever a network WiFi is connected without the user actively caring about it. You can also view and share Mapillary places from within the app.

Capturing modes

  • Walking (hiking) - manual and sequence capturing; ideal for a foot walks, hikes and strolls.
    Try to collect photos that overlap.
    Try to capture the change of direction in overlapping frames while rotating around your axis slowly.
  • Riding (bike / car) - shots every 2 seconds.
    Point the camera at the location in which you are going. Great for use with bike!
    If you are driving, make sure to panels, columns, etc. are not in view on the camera.
  • Panorama - when standing in one place, you want to capture views from all directions.
    Suitable for use in front of monuments, interesting buildings, at junctions or in a place that stands for beauty.
    Stand absolutely still at the same point while performing all catches of a "panorama".
    Be sure to take several overlapping pictures in sequence.

In either mode, taking pictures in phone landscape orientation (horizontal) is recommended in order to have a nice stitching experience. And remember: the capture mode selected will determine how the photos are processed, which rules and approaches are applied, improving the final result, especially the intelligent navigation. Using a smartphone connected to the Internet, it is also possible you know the photos that already exist to a certain place.

Editing content

Edit1.png
Edit2.png

Any logged-in user can edit all public content. The basic actions are

  • Correct lon/lat
  • Correct compass direction of images or all images in a sequence
  • Edit location info
  • Hide images or whole sequences
  • Request [4]blurring or un-blurring for parts of images

All changes are approved by the Mapillary team before being applied.

License

The images on Mapillary can by used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC-BY-SA).[5] There is special permission to derive data from the photos for contributing to OpenStreetMap. The GPX tracks can be used without restriction.

The license was changed on 29 April 2014 from CC-BY-NC to CC-BY-SA. [6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Welcome to Mapillary! (en), by Jan Erik Solem. Posted on 1 Jan 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mapillary Manifesto (en), by Jan Erik, Johan, Peter and Yubin (a.k.a the Mapillary team).
  3. Technical Overview (en) by Peter Neubauer
  4. [1]
  5. [2]