A Street-View Photographer's Journey to Contribute to Mapillary

Follow the journey of Federico Debetto, a dedicated street-view photographer. Combining his passion for photography and mapping, Federico has collected high resolution 360° imagery all over the globe, from Italy to Africa, making use of Mapillary to host his images.
Said Turksever
Navjyot Sandhu
11 August 2023

Picture courtesy of Alexander La Gumina


In the world of mapping, there is a growing appreciation for the power of street-level imagery. Mapping with street-level imagery equipment is a time and cost-effective way to conduct asset inventory, monitor road infrastructure, and map street furniture. Having high resolution 360° imagery allows for the creation of a more accurate and detailed representation of the world and for the extraction of more accurate spatial data with computer vision and machine learning technologies. 360° imagery also provides a comprehensive and immersive view of the environment for mapping and visual inspection.

Contributions of 360° imagery to Mapillary has been growing in recent years as many contributors are recognizing the value of capturing 360° for building street-level imagery platforms for their cities, enriching OpenStreetMap, responding to disasters, and many other use cases. The team had the chance to talk to long-time Mapillary contributor Federico Debetto, a professional street-view photographer, about his story and what motivates him to capture images and contribute to Mapillary.

World Travel in 360

Federico started doing street-level photography in 2013, running a photography studio of his own. One day, he witnessed a Google Trekker capturing street-view imagery as it passed through his hometown of Livorno, Italy. This sparked Federico’s interest in capturing street-level imagery, and he began exploring its applications. Federico founded World Travel in 360 in 2018, and he started capturing 360 imagery with a backpack rig that allowed him to capture stunning visuals of tourist hotspots; however, that was just the beginning of his journey. A chance encounter with a like-minded individual sparked the idea of capturing street-level imagery in Zanzibar, Tanzania, where such imagery was lacking and could prove very useful.

World Travel in 360’s partnership with the World Bank and a dedicated team from The State University of Zanzibar. The World Bank was capturing aerial imagery of the island and Federico’s work was complementary and he captured street-level imagery of the entire island. This is where Federico’s path came across with Mapillary and OpenStreetMap (OSM) communities and he uploaded the entire road network of Zanzibar and Pemba Island to Mapillary.

Zanzibar (left) & Pemba (right), as seen on Mapillary

World Travel in 360 expanded their imagery collection in Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Zambia with a vision of covering unmapped countries in Africa. Collected imagery can be used by the government, researchers, the OpenStreetMap community, and anyone who would like to explore these places remotely with street-view. World Travel in 360 collaborates with locals to simultaneously provide employment opportunities and scale their data collection in different locations.

Capturing Street View in Kampala (click here to view the imagery)

Federico put it best himself:

“Thanks to our local mappers we have the possibility to capture imagery and roads in unique and remote places, and I think we have a moral duty to make those captured data available to as many possible people in the world, and sharing it on Mapillary is the best way to share it with others.”

Contributing to Mapillary

Mapillary supports 360° imagery upload via the Desktop Uploader and 360 visualization on the Mapillary Web App. Federico and the team uses the Insta360 Titan which is a professional-grade 360° camera known for its exceptional image quality (11K resolution for photos and 10K resolution for videos). Insta360 Titan captured videos and images need to be stitched with InstaStudio before making data ready to be uploaded.

With the latest updates to the Mapillary Desktop Uploader and mapillary_tools, the process for uploading 360° images and videos is smoother. They now offer native support for uploading 360° video files in GoPro and CAMM formats, enabling denser capture and easier workflows. Currently, the main bottleneck for uploading high resolution imagery in Africa is limited internet access. The World Travel in 360 team addresses this issue by taking imagery back to Italy for uploading, and in the meantime, they are exploring alternative approaches to upload imagery on the spot with local partners.

World Travel in 360 contributed more than 699,000 images across 1,800 kilometers of roads and footpaths. Let’s take a closer look at Federico’s contribution to Mapillary!

Venetian Islands, Italy

Federico captured street-level imagery in the Venetian Islands for the Italian National telecom company, which aims to provide full fiber network access across Italy. Italian Telecom uses street-level imagery to perform reconnaissance for new fiber network expansion in the islands. These islands are car-free islands, leading Federico to cover 75 kilometers in 3 days by bike, boat, and foot.

Prosecco Hills walking paths, Treviso, Italy

The World Travel in 360 team captured UNESCO World Heritage Site Prosecco hills walking paths for the Association for the Heritage of the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. The team captured a 63 km trail route with the Insta Titan on foot and made this data available to the open mapping community as well as to visitors of this touristic landmark in Treviso, Italy. For further street-level imagery coverage, you can check out Federico’s contributions on his Mapillary profile.

Join us at The 360 Event

The team at World Travel in 360 is spearheading the organization of The 360 Event to bring street-view photographers together in Rome on 13-15 October, 2023. The event aims to equip attendees with knowledge and strategies on street-level imagery collection and build immersive experiences with 360° imagery. We're excited to be the sponsor, bringing this event to life and supporting the growth of the street-view community on our mission to build an open street-level imagery platform for everyone.


Increasing accessibility and affordability of 360 cameras have had a considerable influence on the growth of 360° imagery within our platform. With the latest updates to the Mapillary Desktop Uploader and mapillary_tools, uploading 360° videos and imagery became easier.

If you have already captured 360 imagery, please check out our latest blog post on how to upload your imagery with the latest Desktop Uploader. If you still need help to upload your imagery, please feel free to reach out to us at support@mapillary.zendesk.com.

Let’s map the world in 360 together! 🙂
/Said & Nav