[HOT] West Africa Ebola Outbreak More Jobs for Mali

Jaakko Helleranta.com jaakko at helleranta.com
Wed Nov 19 14:45:06 UTC 2014

Hi Fran,

Regarding uploads and also photo management more generally with Mapillary:

1) photo management :
I have taken a backup of pretty much all Mapillary photos I've taken using
an external hard drive (and backing those up to another external hard drive
that I eventually copy to my file archive) this is for three reasons:
(i) especially when taking photos while driving mapillarying accumulates
quite a stack of data. Depends on your phone (as the app snaps max
resolution 4:3 photos that your phone is capable of capturing) but eg my
Samsung Galaxy S5 accumulates about 5GB/hr (with the standard setting of
photo every 2 seconds). So, with the standard procedure of uploading with
the mobile phone the memory of the SD card (or phone for iOS users) gets
full fast unless you have a fast upload connection all the time. (I got a
128GB SD and have still had this issue ; ok, partly because I have
downloaded maps for the whole world to OsmAnd, ~35GB, but still). This is a
practical (upload) reason and ensures that I don't loose my data. (I've
found digiKam, an open source photo management software to be the best thus
far software for viewing/browsing tens of thousands of geotagged photos on
a map, OSM of course. JOSM is also capable of not just showing Mapillary
photos drag'n'dropped into it correctly but it also shows the compass
direction of the photos _&_ it shows the photo preview as nicely as with
photos taken with OSMTracker, which is superb!)
(ii) I want to have a local copy of all of my data. Local data is just so
much faster to browse, analyse, what not. Last but not least,
(iii) as noted before Mapillary is currently pretty much the only system
that makes survey / street view photo sharing meaningful - but this is
quite likely not the case forever. And I want to be able to have the
possibility to upload my data (easily) to any other possible future service.

2) Uploads : this is likely a challenge in many countries and planning
ahead is a good idea (as noted above).
I've uploaded most of my photos when I've visited countries with better
upload. The Mapillary team also offered to upload photos for me if I'd send
them photos on micro SD cards (=normal envelope). This option gave me peace
of mind for continuing capturing photos even when I had tens of thousands
of photos in my upload queue.
Local upload might be easier using the upload scripts (Python) that allow
you to continue to use your phone while leaving your photos uploading at a
location with decent connection. The scripts are dead easy to use (even I
have been able to use them!). I've tried the script upload with Raspberry
Phi(?) (the $35 tiny computer) successfully; a neat "upload server
solution". The script upload option could also make it easier to negotiate
a possibility for local upload partners whether they be NGOs, international
organizations, government, local companies or whoever with a decent upload

It should be noted that the app writes the Mapillary user ID (as some
cryptic text string) in the exif comment of each photo, so the photos will
get posted on the account of the one who took the photos regardless of who
uploads them.

The two main issues noteworthy regarding using the system (both app
related) are:
1) the app' camera (at least in Android) shows full screen when taking
photos but it only captures 4:3 photos. This may leave a notable area
visible in the viewfinder(?) uncaptured. Annoying until you know this and
take it in consideration when taking photos.
2) some phone models are much more prone to blurry pictures using the
Mapillary app than others. I was surprised at first how many of the photos
I took with my spanking new Galaxy S5 were blurry. Playing with the app
settings can make a big difference. The change that helped in my (S5) case
was unticking the Autofocus in camera option. I also recommend checking the
Skip location check box in the Developer options because the app refuses to
take photos that it considers to have poor location accuracy (which is IMO
set a bit too strictly).

Ah, finally one important thing. If you want to take local backups of the
photos or/and control when you upload and when not you need to always make
sure that you have the "Upload pictures in the background" option
unchecked. I also uncheck the "Sync when phone is not charging" option
while at it. Ensures that you don't drain your battery.

As you can see I'm pretty juiced up with collaborative survey photography /
street view. I think it not only provides a lot of possible benefits for
mapping but has the potential to help improve hum/dev sector activities
(accountability, efficiency, effectiveness). A friend's recent blog post
touches nicely upon this larger issue from a perspective of one int'l dev
sector worker


PS. I think that photo mapping including "mapillarying" doesn't take away
nearly anything from the need to collect POI data and other survey
observations while in the field (whether it be in the form of "traditional"
field survey data collection with forms, direct POI data collection or OSM
Map Notes). You can't of course do everything at the same time so there are
many situations in which you need to choose which to do. Ideally Mapillary
(or similar service) would be integrated with tools that are used for
non-photo survey data collection to make combined use easier. There's eg no
reason that OsmAnd's "Audio/video notes" plugin's Take a Photo feature
couldn't offer an option to upload to Mapillary, that OSMTracker couldn't
be tweaked to allow the same, etc. I hope that we'll see such
integration(s) soon. (If any developer is interested I'd be very interested
to help in non-coding aspects of such work.)

Sent from my mobile device.
On Nov 19, 2014 5:35 AM, "Fran Boon" <francisboon at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 19 November 2014 02:11, Pierre BĂ©land <pierzenh at yahoo.fr> wrote:
> > Interesting interaction to build with the humanitairans in the field and
> we
> > should surely look at the best options together.
> > And  all of this in an emergency context.
> > We have not discussed these details with OCHA-Mali and UNICEF. But we can
> > discuss this tomorrow. This is a workflow that we will build with them at
> > the same time we respond to this emergency We also have to adapt to the
> > operational context they will have.
> I will trial Mapillary in Central African Republic...both for my own
> use & that of the NGOs working there...I am invited to the IM Working
> Group by OCHA who are keen to learn how to make better use of OSM.
> I am worried about bandwidth usage, so PoIs with OSMAnd may be a more
> suitable option, but we'll see :)
> F
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