Using an Action Camera with GPS

Here's another workflow posts for you, this time about action cameras that have GPS. I have had my eyes on the Garmin Virb after seeing it at bike races and finally gave it a try.

We have written about flying drones, about working with GoPro cameras, where you have to sync the photos to locations recorded with an external GPS or phone. (There is a script for that, see this post.)

With a GPS enabled action camera you can skip all that. I'll use a bike handle bar as example.

alt bike A Garmin Virb attached to a bike with the GoPro bike mount.

Here's the process:

  • Attach the camera (I like the GoPro bike mount kit, you can also try 3D printing these).
  • Check the preview to see that the photos are straight and the horizon is where you want it (I like mine in the middle).
  • Set the camera to 2s interval time lapse. On the Garmin Virb, you can turn on wide angle straightening, this is a good idea.
  • Start riding and start the camera.
  • Stop and start when it makes sense to do so, at natual sequence gaps or when there is sometheing you don't want to capture.
  • When you are done riding, copy the photos over to your computer. Look through them quickly and delete the bad ones.
  • Before uploading the photos using the web uploader, it is useful to organize them in sequences since the uploader needs all photos in a sequence at the same time. I made a script for that, just download it here. Run it like this:
$ python sequence_split.py virb_test
Organizing into 15 groups.
Moved 32 photos to virb_test/0
Moved 42 photos to virb_test/1
Moved 10 photos to virb_test/2
Moved 36 photos to virb_test/3
Moved 46 photos to virb_test/4
Moved 30 photos to virb_test/5
Moved 11 photos to virb_test/6
Moved 25 photos to virb_test/7
Moved 154 photos to virb_test/8
Moved 54 photos to virb_test/9
Moved 29 photos to virb_test/10
Moved 84 photos to virb_test/11
Moved 70 photos to virb_test/12
Moved 59 photos to virb_test/13
Moved 27 photos to virb_test/14
Done grouping photos.
  • With photos captured in time lapse mode the script automatically finds the cutoff points and copies the photos into subfolders for you.
  • Open the web uploader, click "Choose Files" and select everything in one of those folders. You will then see them on a map, where you can check that everything is ok and remove unwanted photos. alt uploader
  • Click "Upload To Server" and when all markers are green, push to Mapillary.
  • Repeat until all folders are uploaded.

Hope this is useful for our bikers and motorcyclists out there. If you have other workflow tips, blog, tweet or email us.

/Jan Erik

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