π

Contributing to Openstreetmap and Mapillary

Show Sidebar

I was travelling some cool locations in Asia. When I was using OsmAnd to navigate, track and looking for restaurants and shops, I noticed that in my area, most restaurants and shops were not mapped yet. Further more, I saw that there was no Mapillary-based photos available. Mapillary is a cool alternative to Google's Street View, if you don't know it yet.

This was where I decided that I could improve the situation a bit. And it was that easy that anybody can do it as well.

Adding or Updating POIs on OSM

My dear brother Andreas is an active member of OSM. He pointed me to this article that describes how to enable a plugin of OsmAnd: "OSM editing". With this plugin, it's fairly easy to update or create new POIs on your mobile phone.

This way, I started to add POIs for or update meta-data on restaurants I was eating at.

Contributing to Mapillary

By not finding a single photo of the island on Mapillary I also wanted to contribute a bit to this project. I installed the Android app of Mapillary (iOS is available as well) and started to create photos with it. My first Mapillary-walks were not satisfying because initially, I did not understood how to use the "automatic" and "manual" mode.

I should have read articles like this before. So I found out that automatic mode decides on its own when it is appropriate to take photos. This is the best choice when mounting your phone while driving with a car or similar which is the default case for most people contributing content here.

But in my case, I was not in a car. I was strolling by feet. If you want to decide yourself when to take a photograph, you have to switch to the manual mode. Be sure that you have lots of overlaps between the images while proceeding.

Nice thing on Mapillary is that it remembers also the direction you were pointing at while taking the picture. Therefore, I assume that taking a picture of a restaurant front does not interfere that much with the pictures you take from the street itself.

Be aware that creating content for Mapillary requires some relevant space on your phone and enough battery capacity. It needs to run on foreground so you can't create "normal photos" without interfereing with the currently recorded sequence.

You can then check the resulting images on your phone and remove images that aren't good. You can delete the photos after the upload as well, if you find issues later-on.

Uploading the resulting images could be a drag with a poor WiFi network. I sometimes had to restart the upload many times in order to start it. Again, the app needs to be in the foreground to upload content.

Good thing is, that if the upload fails somehow, it remembers where it stopped and doesn't try to upload photos multiple times. After uploading, the photos are deleted on your phone so that you get back your storage space.

You can see my first attempts on Nusa Lembogan near Bali, where I was the first one to contribute to Mapillary. It feels like being a discoverer in a land where nobody was before. :-)

Comment via email or via Disqus comments below: