I’ve recently found Mapillary which is a great project that aims to cover the world with street level photos, just like Google’s StreetView. The big difference is that they use the crowdsourcing approach and collect images from volunteers, mostly equipped with smartphones or action cameras. All photos are available under CC BY-SA 4.0. They process all uploaded photos using computer vision on their servers. They have a nice API so everything is given. They’re open, they’re geospatial and they’re nice. You can talk with them via Twitter or email. They’ll respond. Currently, you can find them in Malmö, Sweden and in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. The project pretty soon has gone worldwide. The service was initially released in the last week of February 2014 at the Launch Festival and since then they cover 101658370 meters with 3541820 uploaded photos until September 21. Check out their site and see what they are doing. From my sight, it’s pretty impressive. I’ve shot this panorama view in Key West, FL.
So, we have two applications of the same type. The methods and philosophy behind the scenes are different but the ultimate goal is the same – cover the world with street level photos. First idea is to compare them which is not necessarily easy due to legal and technical issues. I am working on developing a method to precisely compare them using map-matching algorithms but until then, I’ll present an online tool which plots the two data sources in the same map. Blue color shows the Google StreetView coverage by default. Zoom to a place in which you’re interested in and press the “Load Mapillary sequences!” button. In a few seconds – depending on how many sequences should be returned -, Mapillary data will be loaded into the map. The current approach will search for all sequences in a 0.07 x 0.07 degrees rectangle around the center through their API. Make sure to “set” the map center correctly. If you don’t see any red lines after a while, that should show the Mapillary coverage, that means that there’s probably no coverage for that area. Pan the map to another area and try again. Please note that this is just the product of few hours of hacking so it’s far from perfect. It was a good opportunity to try out the brand new OpenLayers 3 library and put Mapillary and StreetView together on a ‘live’ site. Give me some feedback and I’ll improve it if needed. Click here for the full screen application.
– Update 09/28 2014: Sorry, there are some strange issues with OpenLayers 3. Sometimes the map appears to be blank. I’ll switch to Leaflet sometime soon. Try reload the page in a different browser until then.
## After pressing the button it takes some time for Mapillary sequences (red lines) to be sown on the map. ##
– Update 03/31/2016: Don’t press anything. In fact, there are no buttons to press at all. I updated the page so now it’s utilizing vector tiles so everything should be loaded automatically. I still haven’t switched the mapping library to Leaflet, though. Expect unresponsive pages when looking at the map from overview zoom levels ;)