Community Mapping Projects in 2018

With 2018 coming to a close, we are highlighting some of the outstanding community projects from this year.

As we approach the end of another year, the team stops to reflect on everything that has happened in 2018. I’m not sure if it’s my getting older, or the increasing amount of activity, but I find it harder and harder to remember what has taken place over the course of the year. Physical borders mean very little when it comes to Mapillary contributions and that’s exciting because it means we get to work with people in a wide variety of locations around the world. One theme that has come up regularly no matter where we look has been urban mobility. Whether it’s my mates complaining about traffic in Melbourne or cyclists in Medellín wanting better commuting infrastructure, citizens want to be able to get around their city safely and efficiently.

With the help of Twitter, Email, and our own internal discussions, let’s dust off some of the memorable ways in which the community has approached mapping challenges across the course of the year.

Valencia, Spain

With bicycle riding increasing in popularity, safety concerns are at the front of many people’s minds. And that isn’t surprising with pedestrians and cyclists comprising 26% of global traffic deaths. For an example of a city that is working together to create a better environment for cyclists, we look to Valencia, Spain.

valencia-1 This initiative was driven by Fernando Benitez while he was a PhD student

In a #CompletetheMap project, citizens in Valencia spent three days learning how to collect Mapillary images and use them as a resource for editing maps. During this period, they attached smartphones to their bicycles and collected 39,000 images, totaling 217 km of cycling routes throughout the city. With €4.5 million to invest in infrastructure, this was the best way citizens could ensure that the money was put to use where it was needed the most.

valencia-gif Coverage growth over Valencia, Spain, during 2018

Bangladesh

This country-wide effort began prior to 2018, but since they have made great strides this year we considered it worth mentioning. To create a more complete map of the country a diverse community of students, professors, individual citizens, and companies have come together to collect street-level imagery. During a Global #CompletetheMap challenge last January, the capital city of Dhaka had 16 people navigating the heavy traffic on foot, rickshaw, and by car to collect 33,152 images. Dhaka was only one of five areas nominated during the challenge–across all areas, nearly 122,000 images were submitted.

dhaka-group The Dhaka, Bangladesh, mapping challenge group

Altogether, 470,000 images have been collected across Bangladesh. These are currently being used to monitor flood resistance through map features such as drains and road surface quality. Because of its geography, Bangladesh is prone to flooding, and in extreme cases, up to 70% of the country can be inundated by heavy monsoon rains.

dhaka-gif Coverage growth over Dhaka, Bangladesh, during 2018

YouthMappers: Offenbach, Germany

In October, young adults from six countries came together for the Erasmus+ supported program “ICT for AccessAbility.” The goal of this workshop was to learn how to use open source data to help build a barrier-free world for people who are wheelchair bound. Over two days, the participants learned how to use Mapillary and OpenStreetMap editors to produce an accessibility map for public places.

germany-group ICT for AccessAbility was an Erasmus+ supported program that brought together young people from six different countries to learn about mapping wheelchair accessibility in public places

After an initial session to learn all about Mapillary and OSM, the young people went around Mörfelden-Walldorf in groups to practice collecting images with the Mapillary app. By the second day, they were ready to set off for Offenbach Hills to gather information about the town’s accessibility for disabled individuals. Over the course of the week, this project impressively added 1,000 accessibility-related attributes to OSM.

off-map Wheelchair attributes added to OpenStreetMap

Said, one of the organizers of this program, is already working hard on his next project, Accessible Beyoğlu. Students from six countries will be meeting in Istanbul to create an accessibility-focused map Beyoğlu, the art and entertainment center of this historic city. Our very own Chris Beddow will be joining on January 2nd to help them integrate street-level imagery and derived detections into their mapping workflow. This will include objects like curb cuts, bike parking, and crosswalks.

Looking Forward to 2019

While each of the stories we have shared in this post are positive examples of how citizens can cooperate to map transport infrastructure, there is a lot more that can be done. Mapillary also works with government, automotive companies, and global mapping companies. These different perspectives help us hone our computer vision capabilities towards some of the most pressing mobility issues.

In 2019 we would like to create a more streamlined workflow for community contributors, making imagery collection easier, derived map data more accurate, and the final learnings easier to come by. We’d love you to be part of the journey.

Do you have a community mapping project in the works for 2019? We would love to hear about it and support you any way we can. Reach out on Twitter or Facebook, or send an email to support@mapillary.com. We might even feature you in our monthly newsletter!

/Edoardo Neerhut, Strategic Partnerships Manager

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