Street-level imagery for Safe and Clean Streets

Washington D.C.’s Department of Public Works uses Mapillary to plan their leaf collection program and monitor progress in every street before and after leaf collection.
Said Turksever
15 March 2023


Beautiful looking autumn leaves can cause a variety of hazardous situations in cities. Leaves can clog storm drains and cause street flooding as well as polluting water bodies. Piles of leaves in the street are a fire hazard and create slippery conditions for drivers and pedestrians during wet weather conditions. The Department of Public Works of the District of Columbia (DPW) takes proactive measures to ensure public safety and environmental protection by collecting and composting leaves.

Mapillary was used by the Department of Public Works to monitor how roads look before and after leaf cleaning, to make better decisions regarding leaf collection strategies, and share updates with residents.

What is a leaf collection program?

Every year DPW provides a leaf collection service to residents that runs from November to January. The service helps residents and businesses by addressing issues caused by leaves that pile up. DPW announces a leaf collection program with leaf collection schedules for each ward. They ask residents to rake leaves into a tree box or at the curb in front of their home before the scheduled collection day. DPW crews are sweeping leaves to keep streets safer and cleaner. The residents receive two leaf collection pick ups during the program. The first pass for leaf collection occurs when leaf accumulation is lighter in a week. The second pass happens when the leaf accumulation is heavier. Residents get notification on their collection schedule on the myDPW app and can check collection status real time on the DPW Leaf Collection Status Map.

Figure 1: DPW Leaf Collection Status Map

The operational planning required to sweep every street twice while monitoring the status is challenging but cost effective. DC DPW GIS officers are using Mapillary to estimate the required work load for leaf collection, monitor progress in the field, and to document cleaned streets to the residents.

How does DPW use Mapillary?

This is not the first time the DPW has used Mapillary. DPW GIS officers are familiar with Mapillary products and previously used Mapillary in earlier leaf collections. We teamed up with the department to utilize Mapillary products for planning, data collection and monitoring phases as part of the leaf collection program. Officers from the GIS department delivered Mapillary training to support leaf collection. The team held Mapillary training within the organization to train their crew on how to capture with Mapillary.

This year DPW inspectors used the latest version of the Mapillary Android App for street-level imagery collection. 25 inspectors collected street-level imagery in their assigned locations and uploaded images to Mapillary daily. All collected imagery is uploaded to DC DPW’s Mapillary organization profile by each inspector to provide insight to decision makers and to update the status of leaf collection on DPW’s Leaf Collection Status Map.

DC DPW GIS officers use Mapillary’s ArcGIS Pro add-in to monitor how their roads look both before and after leaf cleaning and to make better decisions regarding leaf collection strategies. DC DPW can easily access multiple images taken at a specific point over a specified time frame and share updates with residents.


With the completion of the leaf collection program, streets in the DC area are cleaner and safer. The DC DPW team covered over 2,000 miles and captured more than 1,000,000 images. The collected imagery is used to improve the efficiency of the team, share leaf collection progress with residents and document proof of completion of services at specific times and places.

DC DPW used Mapillary to estimate the right amount of sweepers for leaf collection after the first pass of every street in DC. Optimizing sweepers and crews helped DC DPW to be on track with scheduled leaf collection.

Sharing real-time leaf collection progress reduces incoming calls from DC residents and DC DPW could clearly answer specific questions from management, executives, city council representatives, and the public regarding leaf collection.

All contributed fresh street level imagery is publicly available on Mapillary with an open mapping community to improve maps in DC.

Are you facing similar challenges in your city? Do you want to learn more about how you can get started with Mapillary? Please let us know by sending an email to, we’re happy to help!