Advice on a user friendly, high res, 360 setup for a vehicle

Hi Mapillary Community,

I am after as much advice as possible.
I am hoping to capture (must be in 360° seamless spheres like Google Street View) every road in my city… Perth (Western Australia) and beyond and uploading this data to Mapillary. This will be an onoing project lasting a few years if not more. I am only going to do it if the time committment is not more than 1 or 2 hours of data handling per week than the time taken to drive. It needs to be as user friendly as possible. My ideal budget is the cheapest possible, however can go up to roughly the $1,200 (AUD) mark ($850 USD, 750 EUR). So far my camera of choice is the Garmin Virb Ultra 30 (15mp) and am looking at buying 4 cameras. This camera is suitable as it has a fisheye lens, can capture at predefined distance intervals (not time-lapse), and has an api. Any alternative suggestion should really have all of these things. Any advice or solutions?

Further, can either the mapillary ios app or the garmin virb programs stitch together multiple camera’s images into a photo sphere? Or are they just 4 or X number of separate images which have to be put together externally before upload to Mapillary

Any other suggestions?

This looks similar to what I am thinking about:

Summary again:
Main goals are:
$1,200 budget
Highest resolution possible
360° seamless photo sphere
Limited data handling required. Only manual handling to be transferring to a computer, and uploading.

I suspect I’m not the only one who would find this sort of discussion helpful. I’ve been thinking of a 360 camera myself.

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Hello !

I have a GoPro Fusion too, but I’m a bit disappointed by the quality of the pictures … it is difficult to read a sign which is only across the street !
Example :

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Hello aaronsta and all,

I am a Google Guide level 8 and a Google Street View Trusted Photographer. I prefer to contribute to Mapillary as well. I have been too busy in the past 2 months to keep up with my correspondence with Mapillary Support.
A request of mine is that Mapillary will support the Google Street View video capture mode, which Google has in bêta. The latest improvement in this is that it circumvents the overdose of images, using a lower frame rate than the 30 frames per second for the human eye, while raising the standard resolution from 4K to 5.4K (if I am correct) for the stitched equirectangular image. Google is working with Ricoh in this bêta. The only setup supported for now is the Street View app on Android, using the Ricoh Theta V.
Why video? Video provides a consistent stream of images which can be used for image flow processing. That means that taking a bend and projecting that on the map does not depend on location data, but on the analysis of the image flow. One of Google’s recommendations for capturing is to have the finish overlapping the start of the capture, which helps in the automated analysis of the image flow and then mapping it.
This would be within the budget you gave. Of course everyone would like to have an 8K resolution, but then you would need an Insta Pro 2 or NCtech camera, plus serious power for post processing and serious high bandwidth connection for upload.
I have been driving the Theta V at some 80 kmh. A result is the current Street View on Schottegat Ring, Curaçao. This will be replaced by imagery captured with the Google Trekker before December.
As long as Mapillary is not supporting this, you could still use the Theta V in interval shooting.
Downside of the Theta V is the fixed storage, fixed battery, slow charge, slow usb connection. You will run out of battery or storage in some 45 minutes of video with the standard 30 fps. I have not measured how long it takes in the special Google mode.

Note. Mapillary’s page on using 360 cameras could do with an update.


I still capture with a directional camera along with a 360degree camera when using my 360, as it’s kinda hard to expected much with 15mpx or even 24mpx over a 360x180degree field of view with a camera that has 12mpx but only a 60 degree of FOV to concentrate all that detail.

I find the 360degree camera i use is primarily best for adding context to all the directional photos. I do wish i could have a gigapixel 360 degree photo that is nice and clear imagery even at speed, but I’m accepting of my budget!

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I would like to add to the mentioned cameras mine. I’m a happy user of Xiaomi Mijia MI SPHERE 360. It have more resolution than GoPro Fusion an drop the budget to 200$. The minimum time interval is 2 seconds. See a review here and my contributions here.



I also use a Xiaomi Mi Sphere 360 but despite the official interval being 2 seconds mine never does better than 3 to 4 seconds (despite a Samsung EVO Plus U3 card which should not be the bottleneck). There was once rumours of a firmware to fix this issue but it looks like it never became official. Or did you find a solution?

Also, how to you add the GPS position to the 360 images? Do you use mapillary-tools?

I agree with the resolution issue. To get the same quality as a good smartphone that takes a 90 degree angle with 12 Mpixels one would need 72 Mpixels 360x360 cameras! So I also take pictures simultaneously with the 360 camera and Mapillary running on my smartphone, which captures a GPX track to slap on the 360 images once I’m back home.

To put the camera on the car roof I currently use a triple suction cup mount with 9 cm diameter cups. Once in a while one of the cup won’t stick but I never had more than one fail even when driving on uneven small roads or expressways. In any case everything is secured via a secondary cord that’s attached to the hand grips of the rear seats inside the car.

Up the suction cups are a couple of GoPro extension arms. One of them is aluminum the other regular plastic which is much more flexible. I recommend going for aluminum.

And finally for the camera I use a KeyMission mount and a silicon cover so I can thread a cable to (hopefully) secure the camera in case the rest breaks off. Regarding the 1/4" mount, make sure to use the KeyMission one. The little round ones won’t reliably remain screwed tight.

For high-speed runs make sure the camera faces sideways: this minimizes wind drag, prevents the articulated extension arms from just folding, and almost entirely avoids bug splatter on the lens.

Here are the parts I use so you can get a better idea of what I’m talking about:

Triple suction cup mount:

Aluminum extension arms:

KeyMission mount:

Xiaomi Mi Sphere silicon cover:

Fish line and ties to secure it all (selected for its thickness so it’s not too sharp):

Add some GoPro screws from wherever.

Throw in an additional 10000 mAh USB battery, a 128 MB microSD card, and you’re good for 8 to 9 hour drives.