Mapillary, OpenStreetMap, and OSGeo: State of the Map and FOSS4G Retrospective

August and September proved to be a busy and exciting time of year for Mapillary, with travel and presentations to some of the most important conferences in the open geospatial world. Our team was present in Bucharest, Minneapolis, and Heidelberg to talk about Mapillary’s role in fixing maps and growing the largest collect of global street-level imagery. Read on to hear about what we presented at State of the Map, State of the Map US, and FOSS4G!

In 2019, there have been many compelling conferences around the world centered on OpenStreetMap, open source geospatial software, open data, and more broadly, maps. Our team was well-represented in August and September at the global State of the Map and FOSS4G conferences, as well as State of the Map US.

While we attended to talk about Mapillary and some of the collaboration we are doing with community, partners, cities, fleets, and more, we also spotted many mentions of how others around the world are using Mapillary in their own projects and workflows. We’ve assembled a list of talks centered on or related to Mapillary, so if you didn’t attend or simply missed a session, here’s your chance to catch up.

FOSS4G 2019 - Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest was an excellent meeting point for this year’s conference on free and open source software for geospatial (FOSS4G), and as always it brought together an enthusiastic crowd with varying levels of technical ability. Our team gave three separate talks about Mapillary—scroll on to find the descriptions and videos.

Mapillary Mobile Apps & SDKs

Mapillary SDKs enable any developer to easily build apps with functionality for geotagged image capture, Mapillary authentication, and uploading to Mapillary. In this session, we will explore the SDKs, demo some Mapillary apps that are built on the SDKs, and look at how these apps are being used to solve real-world challenges.

Read more about the Mapillary SDKs →

mapillary2osm: OpenStreetMap Data from Computer Vision

Mapillary’s computer vision extracts point data from street-level images, with these detections being used to fix and update maps. Earlier this year, Mapillary worked with OpenStreetMap communities to turn automatic computer vision detections into better map data. This was an insightful project that showed us which detections were useful for the OpenStreetMap community and end users. It’s also an early step to create a feedback loop where humans provide input to help us improve the quality and relevance of automatically derived features.

Street-level Imagery as Open Data

Until recently, photo and video logs of roads collected by government agencies have been overlooked as a form of open data. We will explore how the 500,000+ km that Mapillary now hosts is being used both to improve government workflows and how traffic signs, crosswalks, and other data can be added to OpenSteetMap by citizens using imagery previously seen only by a handful of government employees.

Aside from these presentations, there are a few others that caught our interest. Because Mapillary is available in the QGIS plugin called go2mapillary, we found it interesting to check out the talk about the best new features of QGIS 3. Mapillary is also a crucial tool for making sure maps are correctly annotated for routing, including turn restrictions and speed limits, so we also found insight in the talk about pgRouting. A presentation about Geopaparazzi ~~was also exciting, and had us thinking~~ had us buzzing about how it could integrate Mapillary using our mobile SDKs. We were also happy to see GeoChicas OSM talk about their mission—including how they use Mapillary. Finally, our own Edoardo Neerhut gave a recap about FOSS4G-SotM Oceania 2018, and we’re looking forward to presenting on more Mapillary topics at that conference this year in November.

State of the Map US - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

During the first week of September, the US OpenStreetMap community gathered in the beautiful city of Minneapolis to take a look at how the map has evolved since last year’s conference. One of the most exciting themes appeared to be a focus on tools and workflows. OpenStreetMap is increasing being used and edited across many industries, while also retaining a strong community at its heart. As the map grows in detail and reach, many new tools are emerging to help individuals map more quickly, accurately, and effectively. Our own presentations explored how Mapillary can have an impact on collecting new map data, as well as monitoring the map, on an increasingly large scale.

Getting on board: transport fleets capturing Mapillary imagery and our initial journey into OSM

We provide 11 million passenger trips every day and operate in more than 150 cities across the US. At Transdev, a leading operator and global integrator of mobility, we are focused on building smarter mobility and connecting people like never before. We will share an update on our early endeavors in OSM and the vision for using continually updating Mapillary imagery to create a seamless journey to benefit passengers and the communities we serve.

Fixing OpenStreetMap with Government Imagery

What agencies are contributing comprehensive roadway imagery? Who is leveraging this to keep maps usable? What are some examples of map data that needs fixing, updating, and validation? What tools can be used to maintain the map? What risks do we face when map data is vague, outdated, or wrong? Mapillary and Kaart team up to answers these questions and show map maintenance in action using government roadway imagery.


Mapillary provides both street-level imagery as well as map feature point data for use in OpenStreetMap. Using the open source MapillaryJS library and the Mapillary API, several developers have integrated these data sources into OpenStreetMap tools in new ways since 2018. This includes OSM iD, Pic4Review, Osmose, and Deriviste. We’ll explore these integrations, what their pros and cons are, and think about where to go next.

The Geometry of Mobility: Curb Management and OSM

The curb is the crucial link between maps and mobility–getting from point A to point B requires knowing where parking, disability access, drop-off zones, or share lanes are located. Managing the use of the curb can help improve mobility services, OpenStreetMap can affect how these groups relate to the curb and to one another in map-based applications and services. What exactly can OSM’s role in curb management be? How can mapping the curb be beneficial? Why should we care?

The honorable mentions were numerous at State of the Map US, including many talks about how Mapillary is being used to solve real-world challenges, as well as talks about other interesting tools that can be used alongside Mapillary. While this was a US based conference, we saw many attendees and projects taking place in nearby countries. Back again after FOSS4G, Geochicas OSM gave another great talk on the fist day of the conference, this time about participatory mapping in Costa Rica. Attending from Canada, Matthew Darwin demonstrated the great work being done by Bike Ottawa using Mapillary to map the bicycle infrastructure. Margaret Rose Spyker presented about OSM Colorado’s work with Denver address and building imports, including using Mapillary to get a better look at the street-level. Over at Development Seed, cutting edge ideas continue to develop, including what they presented about their new project on OSM Teams that enables better group collaboration when mapping—a great tool for people hoping to work together using both Mapillary and OSM. Emily Eros from Shared Streets gave a detailed look at how curb mapping can be compatible with OSM, including a mention of how critical it is to map traffic sign locations—something Mapillary automates using computer vision. Finally, mappers who use OSM iD editor will be thrilled to hear Brian Housel and Quincy Morgan’s overview of OSM iD v3, which will be released in the coming months.

State of the Map - Heidelberg, Germany

A few weeks after State of the Map US wrapped up, the sold-out, record attendance State of the Map global conference was ready to begin in Heidelberg. A quaint town with a university that has a reputation for geospatial innovation, Heidelberg drew an incredible crowd of passionate mappers. The Mapillary team was heartened to meet many of our users from across continents, and we enjoyed every moment of this very social, creative, and inspiring conference. The theme of State of the Map was “bridging the map”, and many talks did indeed focus on how new technologies are helping to rapidly improve OpenStreetMap, while the map itself is being cleverly applied toward challenges around the globe. Combined with the HOT Summit, Mapillary gave several talks on a variety of topics including tools, machine learning, and community projects.

Human Mapping with Machine Data

How useful are map features automatically extracted from street-level images? Can they be trusted? These are some of the questions we tried to answer through community campaigns and student-led research in 2019. We will share some of these lessons and elicit a broader discussion on the methods that can be used to turn automatically extracted features into useful OpenStreetMap data.

Deriviste - Click and Go Photo Mapping

There are many OSM editing tools, but only one that allows the user to click inside a Mapillary image to add new data to the map. Richard Fairhurst's Deriviste tool was a quick experiment that proved this was possible, but it's important to ask more questions. How useful is the tool? How accurate and precise is it? How can it be improved?

Read more about Deriviste and Mapillary →

Human in the Loop: Verifying Machine-Generated Data for Better Maps

Machine-generated map data has the potential to considerably accelerate mapping at scale. Combining it with human review helps ensure high data quality. We’ll show how a simple game-based tool helps verify the map data generated by Mapillary’s AI, and how that data helps enhance OpenStreetMap.

Read more about HOOP →

#map2020: Addressing Humanitarian Challenges with Street-Level Imagery

Preceding State of the Map was the HOT Summit where the #map2020 campaign was presented. The area between 20ºN and 20ºS of the equator account for a significant portion of the areas with missing maps. To solve this gap in data, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and Mapillary set up the #map2020 campaign to collect extensive imagery and map data in under-mapped areas.

Read more about the winners of #map2020 →

The range of presentations at State of the Map was impressive and sometimes even overwhelming—it was impossible to attend everything, and endlessly fascinating. One of the key Mapillary-related talks was Adrien Pavie’s presentation about Pic4Review, which continues to become a power powerful mapping tool. Alongside this, Frédéric Rodrigo talked about the latest features in Osmose-QA including use of Mapillary traffic signs and map features to find new data to add to OSM. Victor Shcherb introduced OpenPlaceReviews which aims to bring a shared reviews platform to apps like OSMAnd, which has already integrated Mapillary—Mapillary images may also help in giving information about reviewed places in this new development. Routing and navigation are also important developments that can rely on Mapillary for accurate mapping, and we enjoyed hearing Peter Karich talk about the capabilities of Graphhopper, an OSM based routing engine. Finally, if you’re a JOSM user who edits OpenStreetMap and uses the Mapillary plugin, you may be interested to listen to Vincent Privat explain JOSM’s inner workings with more detail.

What’s next?

There are several more conferences in the OpenStreetMap and open source realm coming up this year, and we will attend as many of these as possible. If you’re planning to be in Kosovo, Ivory Coast, Bangladesh, or New Zealand for the upcoming State of the Map conferences, keep an eye out for Mapillary on the agendas. Next year is already looking like a busy and intriguing one, with Mapillary approaching 1 billion images worldwide while continuing to improve its capabilities in the OpenStreetMap and GIS realms. We hope to see many more of our users in Cape Town, Calgary, and beyond as we continue mapping the world together in 2020.

/Chris, Solutions Engineer

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