This week I had an off day and decided to get some exercise. It is hard for me to even think about working out anymore without also considering mapping. Ever since Strava started using OSM for its routing engine and for exercise maps, I’ve been motivated to use it because a) Strava is a lot of fun, and b) I like contributing back to OSM with it.
A new player in the OSM space that I am enthusiastic about is Mapillary. Mapillary is a service / app that allows users to shoot their own street-view imagery, and use it for OSM without fear of licensing issues. The typical use would be to attach a camera to a personal automobile and shoot street-view, but it works on a bicycle as well.
Since I enjoy touring around on my bike, I thought it’d be a great to get some Mapillary images at the same time! I purchased the Topeak iPhone 5 Mount and attached it to my handlebar. The Topeak mount comes with a special case, and it can hold the iPhone in practically any orientation.
Tuesday’s Canton Ride
Driving around a neighborhood in a car seems boring to me, and is a waste of fossil fuel. On the other hand, exploring a neighborhood on foot or on a bike is fun and healthy. I decided that I would survey as much of my neighborhood as I could during the course of an afternoon with my Mapillary bike mount. It made for an interesting GPX track!
Seeing the track as a workout on the Strava iOS app, which uses OSM data via Mapbox to create the tiles was also cool to see:
In the end, I covered 16.5 miles without ever leaving my neighborhood, and rode in at least one direction on every street within the area I planned to survey.
Riding around on the bicycle and shooting Mapillary is fun! There are some limitations to using the iPhone app for capture though.
The battery. My old iPhone battery does not last long. I brought a backup battery charger for this reason, though it did come disconnected a few times, causing me to have several segments on my trip. Luckily the app doesn’t seem to lose data when the phone dies.
Rolling shutter blur. Unfortunately, the iPhone camera suffers from motion blur (see below) when using it as an action cam. The a jolt from a bump in the road can cause a section of the image to look blurry. The only work around for this is to get a better action camera, or get a better action camera, like the GoPro or Garmin Virb.
Once the data is in Mapillary, it is really beneficial for mapping. Now users can view the images right in iD, as I did in the screenshot below. I have already fixed some incorrect roads in the neighborhood that I hadn’t noticed before. With my images I was able to clearly see the street name, and where it ended based on the GPX.
Now get out there, get some exercise, and get mapping!