Mapillary is a street-level imagery platform where you can capture imagery with any camera, anywhere. The ability to capture imagery with any kind of camera gives Mapillary contributors the flexibility to pick the best camera based on their particular use case; however, we are often specifically asked about our recommendations for professional and survey grade 360° cameras for mobile mapping purposes. We have a list of recommended cameras in this article.
In this blog post, we'd like to share the story of Mosaic, a trending 360° camera company dedicated to capturing street-level imagery. I had the chance to talk with Jeffrey Martin, the CEO and co-founder of Mosaic, about his path to building 360° cameras dedicated to street-level imagery, their contributions to Mapillary, and how they are using this high resolution imagery on Mapillary.
Jeffrey Martin has a rich history rooted in photography and technology. His journey into the world of 360° photography began two decades ago in 2003, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who were both photographers. Jeffrey's fascination with the potential of digital photography led him to discover the ability to merge photos together, creating new perspectives in the form of 360° imagery.
In 2005, Jeffrey took his passion a step further by starting Prague360, one of the earliest websites to combine street-level imagery with maps. This innovative platform showcased the beautiful city of Prague and later evolved into 360cities, a platform that hosts panoramic images from various cities around the world.
His passion for creating 360° imagery led him to construct a camera capable of capturing every direction simultaneously, generating 360° videos and images. He launched a Kickstarter campaign and successfully raised half a million dollars to build the Sphericam 2, the predecessor of the current Mosaic camera. In 2018, Jeffrey identified a gap in the market for geospatial-focused cameras and founded Mosaic to address this need.
Mapillary was one of the early users of Mosaic in 2019 – I had the opportunity to test the Mosaic51 in Graz, Austria. Having received additional funding, Mosaic now offers 3 products; Mosaic 51, Mosaic X and Viking. Mosaic also recently announced the Xplor Backpack, which allows mappers to capture car-free and indoor environments.
A prototype of the Mosaic51, mounted for vehicular capture
Mapillary’s Desktop Uploader supports direct upload of Mosaic imagery. The Mosaic team wrote a step by step tutorial on how to get Mosaic 360° imagery to Mapillary. Mosaic’s high resolution street-level imagery is available on Mapillary across different locations in London, Prague, Boston, South Carolina, Alabama, and Louisiana. You can check out and explore Mosaic imagery on Mapillary here.
In a previous blog post, we shared how Site Tour 360 is using Mapillary to host 360° street-level images to aid in disaster response efforts. Indeed, the SiteTour360 team has been using the Mosaic51 for capturing 360° imagery in up to 12K resolution.
Mapillary uses computer vision and machine learning technologies to turn street-level imagery into map data. Mapillary’s technology reconstructs 3D pixel clouds from street-level imagery and triangulates the position of 42 semantic object classes and 1,500 traffic signs. You can explore map features on the Mapillary web app by toggling the ‘Map data’ button.
Dense captured high resolution imagery helps Mapillary to build more accurate 3D reconstructions and extract more accurate map features. Mapillary generated pixel point clouds can be accessed by Mapillary API.
Mapillary imagery layer can be enabled on map editing tools such Rapid, iD Editor and JOSM and help you to enrich OpenStreetMap data without physically being there with Mapillary generated features. You can check out our latest tutorial on how to contribute to OpenStreetMap using Mapillary.
Mapillary images can be accessed through ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online. You can add your street-level imagery to your applications for ArcGIS Online using the Mapillary custom widget for Web AppBuilder and view street-level imagery and your assets on your desktop with Mapillary for ArcGIS Pro add‑in. Check out Mosaic’s video on visualizing Mapillary generated map features and street-level imagery on ArcGIS Pro.
Contributing high resolution street-level imagery to Mapillary through professional grade cameras helps us to build denser 3D pixel clouds and extract more accurate map features. High quality street-level imagery is an invaluable data source for infrastructure and asset management, data inspection and urban planning. You can bring your existing street level imagery to Mapillary with our Desktop Uploader and access your imagery on OpenStreetMap and within ArcGIS’ ecosystem. This makes it easy to turn your street-level imagery into map data with Mapillary feature extraction.
If you need help to bring your existing street-level imagery to Mapillary or are looking for camera recommendations, please reach out to us at email@example.com.