GoPro cameras create stunning, high-quality images. They have a wide field of view and can capture up to two images every second, plus they’re really easy to mount. A downside with GoPro for Mapillary is that the older models (Hero2, Hero3 and Hero4) lack built-in GPS so you have to use an external GPS recorder in order to geotag the images. The good news is that our mobile app integration makes this really easy—you can already use it on iOS and it’s upcoming for Android as well. But the process is not very complicated outside the Mapillary integration either.
The Hero5 has GPS built in, which makes it easier to use (follow the same instructions as for Garmin Virb). It should also work via the Mapillary app but please note that we haven't extensively tested out the Hero5 for that yet.
Here are a couple of example sequences of what GoPro camera imagery looks like on Mapillary:
GoPro cameras are great for capturing in various ways. Here are some tips you might find useful:
- Using "Medium" field of view and setting the quality to 4K is ideal for Mapillary capture.
- The GoPro battery lasts for about 60-80 minutes (when capturing 1 image/s), so if you plan a longer capture session, you should use an external battery.
- GoPro cameras can be connected to a remote so you can control several cameras at the same time.
- There's a wide selection of mounts available for walking (chest mount, shoulder strap), biking as well as driving (suction cup or magnetic mount).
Be creative with mounting! Here's one way to use a chest mount on a bike.
For more tips on how to prepare for a capture session, check here.
With Mapillary for iOS you can control your GoPro directly from within the Mapillary app and geotag the images directly on your phone. The images are transferred to the phone and you can review, delete, and upload them as regular sequences in the app.
- Start with formatting the camera’s memory card (we suggest you do this before each Mapillary session).
- Pair the GoPro camera and your phone using the GoPro app if not already done. Make sure "WiFi RC & APP mode" on the GoPro is enabled. Change WiFi to your GoPro on your iPhone.
- Go to the camera screen in the Mapillary app and tap on the WiFi button to search for and connect to the external camera. If the phone can’t find the camera, make sure you are on GoPro wifi and try restarting the Mapillary app.
- You will get a preview on the app screen, so you can verify you have a good view (straight against the horizon and no parts of your vehicle visible).
- Capture as usual. The app will control the GoPro to capture every 1.5 seconds. You can change this in settings.
- Transfer the images directly after the capture, or do it from the Uploads view later (you need to be connected to the camera at that time).
- Review and upload as usual. Note that the images are saved on the memory card in the GoPro camera until you delete them yourself.
Be aware that the Hero3 WiFi is unfortunately very slow and it seems like there is nothing you can do to change that. The best tip is to transfer the images at night with both the phone and the GoPro camera connected to a charger. Note that connecting the GoPro camera to a computer may turn off the WiFi on the camera, so make sure to turn it back on.
If the transfer is very slow on the Hero4 camera, it might help to reset it to factory settings.
If you don’t have an iOS device at hand, you’ll be handling the capture from the camera itself and using an external device such as a GPS tracker or your phone to record the GPS track, which will be later matched with the images using an external program of your choice or our prepared scripts.
- Attach the camera.
- Check the preview or do a couple of test shots to see that the images are straight and the horizon is where you want it (preferably in the middle), and no parts of your car/bike are in the image.
- Set the camera to 2 s interval time lapse mode (or 1 s, if you are well-stocked on battery and memory).
- Set your external GPS tracker into recording mode.
- Match the time of your GoPro with the time of your GPS recording device (like your phone using OsmAnd) so that they can be synced later. A good tip for recording any potential time offset between the GoPro and the GPX track is to take an image with the GoPro of the GPS-time. That way, the GoPro image data contains the GoPro time as the creation date, and the image itself contains the GPS time (e.g. of your phone).
- Start moving and start the camera. Check the battery from time to time, as well as that your external device is still getting a GPS fix.
- Stop and start when it makes sense to do so, at natural sequence gaps or when there is something you don't want to capture.
- Before uploading the images using the web uploader, it is useful to organize them in sequences since the uploader needs all images in a sequence at the same time. You can do it manually or use a script. (With images captured in time-lapse mode, the script automatically finds the cutoff points and copies the images into subfolders for you.)
- Use the web uploader to upload your images. Do one folder at a time to have the correct sequences.
- If you are not able to upload sequences one by one, your images will eventually still be sorted into sequences. We have a bot running for this, but you should consider that it may take a few days until your bulk uploads get split into separate sequences.
- GoPro cameras don't record compass angle. After uploading, you need to edit the sequences with the "normalize" option, which will give a compass angle to each image so that it "looks towards" the next one in the sequence. If you're using the upload scripts, you can add this before upload with `--interpolate_directions` as a parameter.