OpenStreetMap

Week 1 of EU Camera Grant Project (camera #3)

Posted by b-unicycling on 29 March 2024 in English. Last updated on 7 April 2024.

I was lucky enough (or maybe deserving) to have been granted one of the GoPro Maxes sponsored by Meta, a project organised by OSM Belgium - many thanks for that!

I’ve had it for a week now, and I’ve been very busy with it - around 12.643 images captured so far (some nearly duplicates I deleted and some without GPS data I didn’t bother adding it to). I don’t drive, so I only went about on my bike and on foot - so far, but I would like to try it on a car roof at some point.

My first stop was St. Mullin’s in Co. Carlow, a small village, but more importantly early Christian monastic site and National Monument. There is a relatively new bus route (887 Local Link) going there which hadn’t been mapped yet, so I took the bus from Carlow to St. Mullin’s to track the route and bus stops. The bus driver was kind enough to tell me where the bus stops were, because for most of them, they are not signposted. (Trace 1 and Trace 2, if anyone is interested, but the routes are mapped so far) Mapillary shot of bus at Carlow Train Station at unsigned bus stop

Anyways, I walked around St. Mullin’s (named after Saint Moling) and also to the holy well with a selfie stick which was included in the camera package. It looked quite different to last time I visited; the holy well is tidied up and the area around it is a tiny campsite now. Which I have diligently added to OSM, of course. Screenshot St. Mullin's on Mapillary You can see the comparison of what was there already and what I added. The bus came in from the North, so it’s a damn shame I couldn’t capture the bus route.

I also discovered a village pump and a public bookcase which I added and will use in a future video, hopefully. The pump, that is.

The rest of the footage is from Kilkenny (city, as the locals like to call it). Screenshot Mapillary Kilkenny Area covered within the first week, not all of it is available on mapillary yet.

I checked against GoogleStreetView coverage, and I already have a better coverage than they within the area I have surveyed. They’ve left out whole little housing estates and streets. And of course, they rarely cover parks. There seems to have been someone in Kilkenny who did a few footpath shortcuts and parks, but the image quality is not great - portrait format.

Equipment and Usage

The camera came with the “invisible selfie-stick” which you might have come across on Amazon (I know I have), several clips to attach it to the helmet, a helmet strap (of which I already had two for the previous camera, the LG360), a spare battery etc.

I used the selfie stick on the first outing, but since then, I’ve basically only used it on the helmet. I might look silly walking around with it, but I couldn’t care less. I try to have the selfie stick (and I tripod I already owned before) with me at all times, in case I need to take a picture in a shop (with no people in the image) or of a holy well or whatever.

I’m also using the GoPro Quik app to remotely control the camera which might result in quicker battery death, but I find it handy while cycling to stop the capturing sequence, when I’m waiting at a junction for longer or waiting for the bin collection lorry to pass or when I’m cycling along a street I have already captured. It saves me from deleting those images manually.

I’ve used the camera for other purposes as well, like shooting video sequences for upcoming YouTube tutorials - the built-in stabilizer is a revelation compared to my phone shots before. The microphone isn’t too bad either.

Only today, I decided to set the timer to 5sec when walking which leaves me with roughly the same distance between images as there is for 2sec and cycling.

Technical hick-ups

  1. Irish weather and weather forecast: The weather is very changeable and unpredictable at the moment, so there is no point in planning anything for the next day. Whenever the rain stops, I’m out on the bike. The weather forecast might say that it might rain all day, but then I could end up with 4 hours of almost continuous sunshine. Almost.
  2. GPS not being recorded: This happens only during the first sequence of the day, even if I wait a little. But I can adjust it using Geosetter, even though that likes to crash, when I’m not very patient. It also happens in building passages and other tunnels, of course, but they’re usually not that long, so I can add or adjust coordinates as well.

Observations

People seem to like parking in what we have mapped as turning circles. Really annoying, because I can’t go to the very end of the street, and I can’t turn easily. People also don’t give a damn about leaving access for bicycles, wheelchairs and other non-pedestrians when parking their cars.

Avoid surveying churchyards on Good Friday. At least I captured that part of Irish culture, I guess.

Beyond the scope

I’ve taken some pics inside businesses where I know the business owner and have asked them, if they are okay with it. I’ve offered to send them the images as well, so they can use them on Facebook or whatever. I will continue doing that, especially in the pubs I play music in, because it just came up with our band how useful it is to have images from inside pubs to give you an idea about the venue. Google StreetView have done that in some pubs already.

If you want to follow my progress, this mapillary link should work until 30 April; you’ll have to adjust the date after that.

Publicity

I try to wear by “SURVEYOR” high viz, so at least people can see that I’m a geek with a mission. If they can read it. Some have read “survivor” in the past, which until that point in time is true as well.

I’m also hoping to go on the local radio to talk about the project, so that people might not look at me in too much bewilderment, when they see me with the camera on top of the helmet. Sometimes people wave or stop and smile, but so far, that always happened, when I wasn’t actually capturing.

Week 2

another report on OSM Ireland website

Discussion

Comment from Xvtn on 29 March 2024 at 20:21

Very cool! Is the GPS receiver built-in to the camera? Any additional hardware or just stick it to helmet and ride?

Comment from b-unicycling on 29 March 2024 at 21:43

Oh, good question, I completely forgot to write about that aspect! Will add it to the text.

Comment from NorthCrab on 31 March 2024 at 19:55

I also enjoy making 360 streetview. It’s a really fun and unique hobby! 👍👍👍

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