We at Mapillary are great fans of OpenStreetMap and are very happy to see that Mapillary is a useful tool to use for map editing. With Mapillary you can capture street photos when you walk, ride your bike or drive. Once you upload the photos to Mapillary they are available for map editing on OpenStreetMap. The photos are useful for capturing features you can’t see on satellite imagery like building information, road conditions, traffic signs etc. By nature, it's often the most up-to-date source of reliable information on the ground.

Up until now, according to Taginfo, thousands of individual features have been tagged with Mapillary, indicating that the photos are indeed being used as a source of map edits. Since Mapillary is also great to visually describe an object, sometimes the goal is not to edit the map in the strictest sense but to enrich the information it contains by linking an image to an existing object. Sometimes even indicating from which direction the photo is taken from.

Now, that is a lot of details and there’s more to that since it can be more convenient to just add source to changesets than to individual features. Quickly querying changeset comments and source tags to Mapillary reveals more than 32,500 changesets from Antarctica, through New York City to the North Korean border, submitted by almost 500 individual mappers.

Changeset Mapillary Changeset comments and source tags to Mapillary on OpenStreetMap

Here is a guide on how you photo map with Mapillary.

Step 1: Capture photos

To get started you need the Mapillary app on your iPhone or Android. Create an account, go to the camera screen, select walking or riding mode, tap the green “Start” button and start moving. Keep the camera straight in horizontal orientation (either in your hand or use a mount) and the app will automatically capture photos for you. The app will store location information and save photos in sequences. When done taking photos or if you want to do a new sequence press the red “Stop” button. To make the exploring experience nice, try to capture at least 10 photos in one sequence. All photos and location information will be stored on your phone until you choose to upload them to Mapillary.

Capturing photos

If you want to capture photos with a Garmin or GoPro here’s the guide for you.

Step 2: Upload photos

When you've photo mapped your area it's time to upload your photos. By default the app only allows uploads when you are on wifi. To upload navigate to the upload screen, review your photos and if needed, delete the ones with bad quality. Once you upload your photos they will be deleted from your phone, made public and connected to others with the same location data. Faces and licence plates will be blurred.

Step 4: Explore places

You can find your photos on your profile page or by exploring the map. To find the photos on the map go to the area where you have been capturing and press on the green trail. You can also see photos that other community members have captured.

Step 4: Edit in OpenStreetMap

Your photos are now ready to be used for editing OpenStreetMap. You can use either the iD editor or the JOSM editor.

Mapillary appreciates attribution for derived metadata, for example using the tag "source=Mapillary" or by linking to mapillary.com. Alternatively, you can use the existing mapillary key [http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:mapillary] to indicate which photo describes your OpenStreetMap feature, or put Mapillary in your changeset description or source. More details here

iD editor

Open your favorite browser and start editing on OpenStreetMap.org with the iD editor. Click on Map Data and tick the Photo Overlay (Mapillary) box. All images captured on Mapillary will be visible for you to do your edits. You can also include detected Traffic Signs by ticking Traffic Sign Overlay (Mapillary).

Mapillary photo layer

If you discover something interesting to map while exploring areas on Mapillary.com, just select Photo Details and Edit via iD. This will take you right to OpenStreetMap and you can start editing.

Mapillary photo layer


To use Mapillary Images in the JOSM editor, navigate to Edit -> Preferences -> Plugins and search for Mapillary. Once you get the plugin installed, you can add a new layer with Mapillary photos by clicking on Imagery -> Mapillary. Now you can navigate through sequences, zoom in to photos to catch every little detail you might need and you should be ready to derive all the information you want. You can filter photos by date and user, and you can use all the handy tools and plugins of JOSM to create complex edits enriched with information from street level photos. Notice the marker for images with detected Traffic Signs that helps you identify traffic patterns, turn restrictions and other important aspects of transportation.

Traffic Sign Detection JOSM

The plugin also has an Import/Export functionality which can be useful if you want to save photos locally or if you have taken photos outside the Mapillary apps. Once you’ve imported some photos, you can just drag them to their real position and upload them to our servers by clicking File -> Upload pictures. To do so, you will need to authenticate the application first in Edit -> Preferences -> Settings -> Mapillary dialog panel. To start your mapping campaign from Mapillary.com, first remember to tick Enable remote control in JOSM’s Edit -> Preferences -> Remote Control before clicking on Photo Details -> Edit via JOSM on Mapillary.

Mapillary Plugin for JOSM from Mapillary on Vimeo.

Stories from OpenStreetMap

Here are some nice Mapillary stories from the OpenStreetMap community:

OSM <3 Mapillary by Blackbird27

Mapillarising Brazil by Harry Wood

OpenStreetMap and Mapazonia in Peru

We hope this will get you started with photo mapping on OpenStreetMap with Mapillary.

/The Mapillary team

Tags for this post: tutorials openstreetmap
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