Launching Mapillary Missions Beta

A new feature on iOS allows Mapillary users to find out where imagery is needed most.
Till Quack
6 December 2021

Ever since we launched Mapillary, the community has been contributing all over the globe to “turn the map green”. The result has been truly amazing: there is now coverage in almost every single country on earth. There are more than 1.5B images on the platform and more than 10 million kilometers covered.

As the map is increasingly green, you may ask yourself: Where can we go from here as a community? What’s next?

We think there are a few points that deserve attention:

Ensuring fresh imagery and data: Especially when editing OSM, the community relies on up-to-date imagery and data to get the best results. This means, even an area that had already been captured, may need recapture after a certain time period. To better inform our community where data is getting old, we recently introduced coverage age display on Web and iOS.

Ensuring high quality imagery and data: As cameras get better and 360 cameras get more affordable, it’s worthwhile to capture the same areas with different setups. For example, you can filter Mapillary data to show only 360 coverage, in order to find gaps in 360 coverage. Higher resolution cameras can also help to identify details that may have been missed previously such as address numbers and shop signs.

Prioritising areas where people meet: Beyond the road network, people benefit from information on points of interest. We are also interested in supporting walking and cycling to encourage sustainable modes of transport. Earlier this year, Ed presented at State of the Map where he spoke about ‘OpenStreetMap and the neglected pedestrian’. As the presentation showed, there is a lot of work to be done to improve data in OpenStreetMap as it relates to pedestrians.

Completing areas where capture is needed: most of Mapillary contributors happen “where they happen to be, around their hometown, when going on a trip, or commuting to work. Sometimes, however, someone (for example OSM users) may need fresh imagery for certain areas or details. However, until now, there is no way for Mapillary users to know where imagery is needed from downstream applications leveraging Mapillary imagery and data. Urban centers are one of the most common locales where new imagery is needed for improving consumer maps, where businesses and points of interest are densely clustered. With comprehensive and fresh Mapillary imagery for reference, OpenStreetMap users can update or add more details to these areas that are heavily frequented by end-users of many map-dependent apps.

As we are working towards improving all of these points, today we are launching a new feature, Mapillary Missions, as a beta on iOS. The new Missions view in the iOS app shows urban areas where Mapillary coverage is missing or needs an update. You can easily find areas nearby on a map view or in a list view sorted by distance from your current location. Each area has a target of how many images should be captured in that area to “complete” the mission.

Mapillary Missions on iOS.

There is no further target or constraint besides the number of images - we leave it up to your experience how to best capture and cover the mission area. It may be of interest to some of our users, that all the mission areas are made up from S2 cells (at level 14). This means globally each S2 cell can be “turned on” or “off” to form a mission. S2 cells at level 14 seemed in our testing to be the appropriate size to form an area not too small and not too large to complete.

For the first beta release of this feature, we provide missions in urban areas all across the world. Hopefully you find some close enough to you to try the feature. We can, however, imagine in the future to have the Mapillary community to “turn on” mission cells. Possibly via an API or integrating with existing OSM task tools, or another way to submit requests. We’d like to hear your feedback on this, but also on the Mapillary Missions beta in general.