Mapillary lets anyone capture their own street-level imagery, using simple cameras such as smartphones, action cameras, and 360° cameras. All you need is a way to record GPS data together with the images, and a lot of cameras nowadays have that option built in. In addition to the camera, there is other equipment such as mounts and SD cards that you might want to use for a smoother capture process. Here is an overview of the kinds of devices and equipment you can work with.
- Mobile phones (learn more)
A smartphone is the simplest device you can use for capturing and uploading images. Mobile phones are best for scenarios where you intend to mount a device inside your vehicle’s windshield or walk with the phone. The Mapillary team develops mobile apps for Android and iOS. Here is some example imagery:
- Action cameras (learn more)
Action cameras are a good option for capturing great images, especially more demanding conditions with rough terrain, extreme weather, and high speeds. Compared to smartphones, action cameras are better at handling motion blur and more resistant to damage, so they're suitable for mounting on your bicycle or outside your vehicle. Here are some examples:
- 360° cameras (learn more)
360° cameras are great for covering all directions simultaneously. You can capture 360° imagery while driving a vehicle or walking. Here are some examples:
For each device and use case, there are different suitable mounting methods.
- For capturing while driving, it is best to use a windshield mount for mobile phones inside vehicles, whereas it is best to mount action cameras and 360° cameras on the outside of vehicles.
- For multiple camera angles, you can mount several action cameras and 360° cameras at once.
- For capturing with the mobile phone while walking, you just hold it steady horizontally in front of you. For action cameras, it is best to use a body mount (chest or head), and a selfie stick for 360° cameras.
- Memory/SD cards
It is important to have enough memory on your device to store your photos after capturing. Mobile phones should have enough internal storage. One image takes roughly 2–8 MB, giving you about 1000–4000 images if you have 8 GB of free storage on your phone. For devices like action cameras and 360° cameras, we recommend inserting an SD card with around 128 GB, so you can capture as many images possible.
It is important to fully charge all of your devices prior to capturing. When you have multiple devices to charge prior to capturing, we recommend a multi-port USB charging station, although this is optional.
- Power supply
It is equally important to keep your devices powered during your capture session. For shorter sessions, your device’s internal battery may be sufficient to last the duration of your session. For longer sessions, consider an external charging pack for each device, or a car charger if your situation allows for it.
- Protective cases
Most action cameras are built to withstand rough conditions. If you want to protect your device further, you may buy a protective case for it.
Can I use drones?
Mapillary is a platform for street-level imagery. Using drones to capture images for Mapillary is fine as long as you fly at low altitude. Below ~5 meters the images blend nicely with images taken at street level. Use a suitable camera that can handle vibration, for example, GoPro or Garmin Virb. Mounting phones on drones is not a good idea because of the rolling shutter effects from vibration.