Meet Mapillary Ambassador: Leo

Meet Leo, Mapillary Ambassador from San José, Costa Rica. Leo is a free software programmer working on Ubuntu and an OpenStreetMap contributor. He's been attending Hackerspace events and encouraging people to use Mapillary as a source for improving OSM. He is also active on Twitter @yoelopio.

We asked Leo some questions to uncover his Mapillary story.

Why are you using Mapillary?

I'm using Mapillary to improve the free maps in my country. The state of the maps in Costa Rica is really sad, even the closed, privative ugly ones. The only way to improve it is with everybody helping a little, so I'm doing my share. With better maps we can immediately improve other things that are also bad, like public transportation, traffic jams, lack of proper addresses; and through data analysis with the free data that the map offers we can have an even bigger impact in the access to services, safer cycling roads, response in case of emergencies, etc. It's great that we have an unlimited potential thanks to the free access to data collected and processed by projects like Mapillary and OpenStreetMap.

Tell us about your favourite sequence

My favourite is one of my first ones. My girlfriend and I were walking through the jungle in a remote Caribbean beach. The pictures are not good because it was all muddy and slippery, which results in lots of falls and blurry pictures. Lots of laughs too. We weren't totally sure if we were following the right trail, and the map of course didn't help. Looking at it now brings back good memories, and it's also cool to see a few free pictures that far from civilization. We need to get back with a better camera and more batteries. :)

And I'm going to choose a second favourite one. This is a volcano I have always wanted to see. That day we walked like 5 or 6 hours. The place was just as amazing as I imagined, and now you can see it without leaving your desk. Maybe it'll make you leave your desk and visit one day.

How did you get hooked on Mapillary and what is your favourite part?

It's fun. I enjoy capturing the nice and the not-so-nice places around me. Then I find it really useful when I want to add POIs to OpenStreetMap, which is fun too. But my favourite part is looking at how others get engaged and start contributing to the free maps. The Costa Rican community is growing, and it is in a big part thanks to Mapillary.

What would you like to tell others about Mapillary?

To join us. Install Mapillary, capture your surroundings and make that data public. It's really, really easy; and there are lots of people making a great use of the data. Everything you see is useful. For example, a friend of mine is mapping hydrants. Another group is mapping surveillance cameras. We are trying to visit every bar in San José to make sure that they are properly located in the map :D. Making the world a better place is hard, so we need all kinds of help. This is a good one.

What is your best Mapillary tip for newcomers?

Get an external battery. You'll be sad when your phone dies and you can't take more pictures with Mapillary.

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