Mapillary: an open, crowdsourced interpretation of Google’s Street View

by Gannon Burgett

posted Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 1:58 PM EDT


Mapillary is an online service looking to create an open, crowdsourced equivalent of Google’s Street View platform. The difference is, rather than complicated backpacks and vehicles as the means of capturing the photos, Mapillary relies on everyday people using everyday cameras to capture the images and upload them to their service.

Once uploaded, Mapillary’s server-side program will organize the photos and automatically match them up across users and time to give a comprehensive overview of the location captured. Additionally, Mapillary automatically processes the privacy side of things, blurring the private components of images through facial recognition and license plate detection.

The goal of Mapillary is to create a more diverse database than what Google offers. Although Google has created a handful of off-road experiences, Mapillary is built from the ground up with the idea of capturing images anywhere. You could be in the rainforests of Brazil or the backcountry of Kentucky; the goal is to capture and represent the world and its treasures as a whole, not just streets and significant locations.

Mapillary has applications for iOS, Android and Windows phones that make it simple to upload images to their service. The apps feature a number of capture modes that makes it almost effortless to contribute to Mapillary’s growth.

Mapillary notes there is no limit to how much detail can be processed by their servers. This means quality can not only be on par with Google Streetview, but actually surpass it, considering how much detail even the smallest of cameras can capture nowadays.

The team is also working hard to develop more effective and efficient means to process the images. This progress will ultimately yield a far smoother experience when browsing through the available locations.


To find out more about Mapillary and their services, you can check out their website.