In addition to using your iPhone's internal camera for capturing, you can connect action cameras or 360° cameras with your phone and use the Mapillary app to control the capture process. You can capture with an external camera and your phone's camera at the same time.
The supported cameras include:
- GoPro HERO4 and newer, Session
- Garmin Virb X and XE
- Ricoh Theta SC, V, and Z1
Other cameras may work but we haven't tested them extensively and can't guarantee good performance. Special note on Garmin Virb 360 and GoPro HERO3: these cameras will connect to the app but despite our efforts will not work well, so we currently don't recommend using them.
The Garmin Virb also has multi-cam support so you can connect up to four Virbs at the same time (note that this doesn't apply to the Virb 360).
Note. Before connecting the camera to the phone for the first time, it's good practice to reset the camera to its factory settings. Before each capturing session, we suggest formatting the memory card.
Setting up external cameras
1. Make sure WiFi is enabled on the camera. Some cameras have a button for this. Others have an accompanying app (like the LG 360 Cam) which uses Bluetooth to trigger WiFi on the camera. Consult the camera manual for more details.
2. If you want to do a multi-cam setup with Garmin Virbs, you need to connect them all to a master camera wifi.
- Configure the fastest camera (a Virb XE is faster than a Virb X) to be the master: go to the camera’s "WiFi" and select "Multi-Cam".
- Configure the rest of the cameras to connect to the master camera: go to "Wi-Fi" and select "Join" and then select the master camera.
- Change the WiFi on your phone to the master camera’s WiFi.
3. Choose the (master) camera’s WiFi in your phone settings. If prompted, use the password that is indicated in your camera manual.
4. Open the Mapillary app and enter the Camera screen. Tap on Advanced at the top right.
Then tap the plus icon under Cameras.
Then tap the Search button to find any available devices. If no camera was found, make sure you are connected to the camera’s WiFi and try again.
5. Tap on Add camera (all available cameras will be added at once). The app shows an image preview once the camera is connected. Use it to position the camera properly, for example, to avoid car hoods and other obstacles, or adjust the tilt. Tap the Refresh button at the top left to take a new preview image.
6. You can add up to 4 Virb cameras in the same way. The rectangle-shaped minimize/maximize button at the top left will let you switch between their preview screens. If you want to remove a camera, tap the red minus icon at the top left of the respective preview screen.
7. Make sure all cameras you use have the correct direction set. You will see this on the square icon at the top right of the preview screen, indicated by an arrow. Tap on it to set the direction that the respective camera is facing.
8. When you are ready to start capturing, tap the round button on the right of the preview screen. During capture, the app screen will be blank, but you will see information about the camera's remaining battery and memory resources, and photo count. When you are done capturing, tap the round button again to stop, as usual.
9. Each camera is controlled separately from its preview screen. You can switch between the different cameras via the minimize/maximize icon at the top left. The camera icons at the top right will notify you if there is something wrong with any of the cameras (e.g. low battery or memory) so you can check it out.
10. After the capture, you need to transfer the images to the app so that GPS position and other necessary EXIF data (like which images belong to the same sequence and which user has captured them) can be added to each image.
11. After each capture session, you are asked if you want to transfer the images. If you don't have space you will have to transfer in batches. The app keeps track of which images you have transferred so they are not transferred twice.
12. You can also choose to do the transferring later. Just open the Upload screen with your external camera connected, and you'll be asked if you want to transfer the images.
13. Once the images are transferred, you can review and upload the images as usual from the app’s Upload screen.
When you add the first external camera, the phone's internal camera automatically becomes disabled. However, it will still be present, so you can switch to it at any time and activate it via the green plus icon at the top left of the screen.
All connected cameras will follow the same capturing mode—automatic distance-based or time-based, or manual mode. For the time-based mode, you can set different capture rates for the internal and external camera(s) from the settings. For example, you can set the internal camera to 0.5 s and the external ones to 2 s (all external cameras will have the same setting). Make sure to consider each camera's capabilities.
Differently from the phone, the images aren't automatically deleted from the memory card in an external camera during upload; you have to do that yourself.
Even if you don’t want to be uploading the images via the app, you still need to transfer the images to the app because that is where the location information is written into the image EXIF data. After that, you can copy the images to your computer and use the web uploader or scripts to upload.