Been here forever but going, going, gone

I’ve contributed to Mapillary forever. It was an easy, fun hobby.

The recent changes have killed that for me. The trusty, easy web uploader was taken away.

The windows desktop uploader is still a POS. Finding “duplicates” when none exists.

And I have no interest in pythong and CLI crap. That’s just turns it into a job. If I’m going to learn that stuff and go through that pain - and I’ve tried it before, it ain’t easy - I’ll do it for money. It ain’t a hobby when it ain’t fun.

Cheer

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Likewise. I am 2m pics in after 3 years, but this is just painful and I am about to quit.

The CLI uploader is constantly crashing with some random Facebook html instead of a proper error message during uploads, needs to be restarted every few thousand pictures - you are not missing anything.

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Hm, for me the python uloader runs flawless with 10k + pics from linux and windows so far.

It used to be that way for me, and when uploading large numbers of pictures I can accept that there are hickups.

But for the past 8 or 10 weeks uploading 30k-40k pics is just a headache, the whole thing has to be restarted every few sequences.

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I’ll note that there were many upload errors in the month of June, until one day last week when apparently a server was fixed. Now the mapillary_tools works for me as well as it did in the past.

@countzero5 - are you still getting errors this week?

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Thanks for the heads-up. I did not collect any data this week, but will give it a shot on Friday or Saturday.

@allen, I can fully relate to your pain and frustration. And, although I am a developer, I am not going to fiddle around with python either. By the way @Amiga4000, nothing is easy about python, neither for developers nor for ordinary people wanting to contribute to a crowd sourced effort. Python is a rapid prototyping tool, nothing more, nothing less. It was never designed to be used in production. The same applies to mapillary_tools. Since its inception it has been created as a test tool for the Mapillary process, not for the general public. Thus, it should have been superseded or replaced with a sane user friendly alternative on the desktop long time ago.

For me (and probably many others too) Mapillary is currently in a dysfunctional state. As long as Mapillary does not get its act together and delivers a working web uploader and a cross-platform desktop uploader, I am not going to resume contributing.

Most of the problems now are home made by Mapillary and have been even aggravated especially by the leadership by pushing back on them for years to the point of stupidity. It is also worth mentioning that many of the current problems have little to do with the Facebook takeover. I have been requesting an upload API with every Mapillary API release. Nothing has happened. It has been denied again and again. If we had a documented standardized upload mechanism I am pretty sure that the community would have solved the desktop uploader part in a bug free cross-platform or platform specific way sufficiently good enough by now. As for the problem of eliminating duplicates, Mapillary could have worked then with maintainers of those uploaders (or an uploader to serve as an example for others) to solve it. But no, Mapillary had to do everything on their own and fail at everything instead of leveraging the power of the community.

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Ok, now we are in the opinion about what python, mapillary and anything else is/could be/is not. But no real reason about it being easy to upload lots of pictures with installing python and running 3 one-liners. Even the web uploader took more clicks, time and hassle than the python tool, or the windows uploader app.
E.G. last week I could not upload from windows upload tool, but python uploader worked flawless from simple one liner.
Do not judge on opinion, judge on “whatever does the task easy and well enough” should be the reason to choose a tool.

Amiga4000

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To be honest, I LIKE having a command line tool, it fits my workflow - I do a lot of captures in areas with problematic GPS reception, and the coordinates collected by a GoPro can easily be off by a few hundred meters. So I fiddled together an automated workflow that produces better gps-tracks that I review, then update the EXIF data in the images before uploading. The CLI uploader fit perfectly into this, and for many months and hundreds of thousands of images, I was happy.

Since mid May, I am not happy.

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CLI and python ‘solutions’ will be used by maybe 1% of the users, its not a mainstream approach

Without webuploader, mapillary will slowly die by leaving users.

And the app that can not store images on a sd-card does not help at all

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@Amiga4000 yeah, every user should be pushed to the command line and python, it’s so much faster and easier, no problem there. Every housewife or photographer should do it. Better yet, we should remove GUI from any glitchy program and let users use only the command line or even better code software by themselves. That will work the best way.

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No need to get pathetic sarcastic and overdo everything.
I just say: the best tool to upload now is the python installer, which is very easy to use.
No idea why you get on a personal war against anything with the name cli or python in it, does not help the topic at all.
(at least not grounded on any facts, just your feelings and way to ignore the fact the python installer is easier to use, use less work by the user and works with less errors than the windows uploader).

Amiga4000

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@Amiga4000 I am just showing the ridiculousness of the statement. If Mapillary wants more user-submitted photos it should make user-friendly tools that actually work, otherwise, people will just leave.
To “help the topic at all”… The topic is that Allen is giving developers feedback, most users will not do even this. They will just give up.

No, you just show you ridiculous fixation on your personal opinion which you do project on others.
It does work, it works well enough, despite your hard stubborn fixation on your opinion.
The python tools are very user friendly. At least for me and lots other users. Maybe not for you, but thats no reason for you to kill and bad speak the possible solution to all other.

Amiga4000

1 Like

Allen, you’ve been a star contributor for many years and your images have benefited many who use Mapillary. This is actually true of everyone commenting on this thread.

The bottom line here is that there are performance and usability issues that we’re aware of and working hard to address. I can’t state enough how much we’ve appreciated everyone’s patience as we work through these issues. We’ve received really helpful feedback here on the forum, via support@mapillary.zendesk.com, Telegram, Facebook, and other channels.

Is it fair to say that upload remains the biggest frustration at the moment? It sounds like this is the area of Mapillary that is causing the most difficulties, particularly for Linux users. Right now our focus is to restore stability to the most important areas and improve the upload experience for all contributors.

We’re obviously incredibly sorry to hear of anyone leaving, particularly allen and countzero5, but it’s up to us to remove those pain points and make contributing to Mapillary enjoyable again. Thanks once again for all the incredibly helpful and detailed feedback which is helping us work towards that goal.

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@eneerhut , after following the discussions since late May I think the most critical issues (in the order of ‘criticality’)

  1. Uploading: Easiest multi-platform uploader tool (web uploader) is no longer available; Desktop uploader seems to be totally unreliable for many users; New mobile Uploader apps are having compatibility issues and Android users are suffering from the fact that they are NO LONGER able to access/offload the captured photos from Android protected storage. CLI uploader could not be considered as a primary/easy tool for majority of contributors.
  2. Editing: Own sequences Edit options are very much anticipated by community - especially normalization and gps location updates which were removed after platform update.
  3. Right to delete: Own sequences Delete and Download (with metadata) options are important for considerable population of contributors.
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Good summary. Focus on these issues and we can slowly move further again (without frustrated users)

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Hi @eneerhut , thanks for this.

I have three frustrations at the moment. (Four if I include the GoPro crashing in the Dubai heat, but that is a different topic :wink: ):

a) also the latest CLI tool keeps crashing before it even starts uploading; I collected roughly 30,000 pics yesterday, and when I restart it I get this:

[...]
Sub process ended
Processing image upload parameters: 100%|███████████████████████████████████████████| 314/314 [00:00<00:00, 688.32it/s]
Sub process ended
Inserting mapillary image description in image EXIF:  91%|███████████████████████▊  | 288/315 [00:00<00:00, 840.76it/s]
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "main.py", line 4, in <module>
  File "mapillary_tools\__main__.py", line 93, in main
  File "mapillary_tools\commands\process_and_upload.py", line 445, in run
  File "mapillary_tools\insert_MAPJson.py", line 91, in insert_MAPJson
  File "mapillary_tools\processing.py", line 591, in get_final_mapillary_image_description
  File "mapillary_tools\exif_write.py", line 15, in __init__
  File "piexif\_load.py", line 28, in load
  File "piexif\_load.py", line 104, in __init__
piexif._exceptions.InvalidImageDataError: Given file is neither JPEG nor TIFF.
[6596] Failed to execute script main
[...]

One of the images is damaged, probably from the GoPro crashing. Not Mapillary’s fault, obviously. But did you notice that it does not tell me WHICH picture is broken? I restarted the script several times, which is why it only counts 315 unprocessed images, but how am I going to find the faulty file in my 30k images?

Easy: I use an old version of the command line tools from January 2020, which gives me a meaningful errormessage:

Error opening file: Given file is neither JPEG nor TIFF.
Error, image EXIF could not be written back for image X:\mapillary\2021-07-17\107GOPRO\_G0029696.JPG
Sub process ended

I appreciate that Mapillary migrated the CLI tools to Python3, which was a lot of work, and I appreciate the regular updates that seem to be making it better, every time. But as a user, there is also a regression in my experience, where a previously helpful error message was taken away.

b) Pictures uploaded after mid June are not available on API V3 - this breaks my tools (see below), and iD does not have the images that I have uploaded. Yes, the JOSM plugin has them, but I do not like JOSM. This is a hobby, I do not get paid for my time or wear and tear of my car (and SD cards), and I do not want to spend my free time with things that I do not like. (And look, dear reader, if you love JOSM and are happy with it, awesome and more power to you. But it is not for me. I tried it several times over the last 4 weeks, and was able to achieve what I set out to do, but I did not like it. We are just not meant to be together.)

In short, I think withholding new images from API V3 should have waited a lot longer.

c) API V4 took away the function that I used on API V3 (closeTo), and there is no meaningful migration guide anywhere that would explain how to achieve the same results; there is a huge learning curve from parsing JSON to downloading and decoding vector tiles - finding a solution (with help from the forum here) and implementing it cost me two weekends

And the frustrating thing is that when I compare the new code with the old solution, I even have to agree that the new API helped me write much cleaner code with a lot less lines, and is much faster. But you are shooting yourself in the foot by making the migration more work that it would have to be.

Have a great Sunday!

5 Likes

As a new Mapillary user, I agree with @gpsmapper.

For context, I am a GIS software engineer and have been developing applications with this type of functionality for engineering firms for over a decade. Mapillary has so much potential to be useful in this space, but you have to fix these issues.

Editing and the right to delete are important. Without at least editing, this platform is worthless to me. Since your desktop uploader doesn’t display the image as it would be displayed after upload, I have no way of knowing there’s going to be an orientation problem with an image until it’s uploaded. By then, it’s too late, since I can’t edit it.

For editing, I’ve found the need for the following so far:

Edit Image Position
The user should be able to manually drag a point to the correct location.

Interpolate Image Position
Selecting one or more points and clicking an “Interpolate” option should interpolate the position of points between previous and next points based on timestamp by assuming a uniform travel speed. While this won’t always give you the correct location, it will often get you close enough that manual repositioning is easier.

Set Default Orientation
Going through images, I’m suddenly looking at the sky or off in some odd direction. This should be a simple button click. When the button is clicked, the current orientation of the image should be set as the default.

Edit Orientation
This one is a bit tricky. I’ve noticed that in many instances, the orientation of the image is all wonky. This is most evident when looking at the arrows, as they will be misaligned (often pointing sideways in the image). There needs to be an option to correct this. Perhaps permitting the user to rotate the image is an option here, but care needs to be taken to make sure it’s an easy-to-use feature.

Delete
Sometimes things turn out so bad that you see no good option but to wipe the board clean and try again. Other times you may upload something you hadn’t intended to. In either case, delete is a MUST. You should be able to delete anything from a single image to an entire sequence. While you may lose some images this way, you’re less likely to lose users, so it’s a net gain.

Flip Image
I haven’t seen this one myself, but apparently some people have had issues with upside-down images.

And finally, a simple, but powerful update:
Provide Accurate User Feedback
When I first upload, my sequences display as “processing”. Then, they display in…some other state that’s something between “processing” and done. In reality, they are still processing. Until the moment that all of the images in a sequence are done processing and with the entire sequence displayed in a map, they should be displayed as “Processing”. Otherwise, users tend to think something is wrong.

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@eneerhut, the ONLY issue is having a reliable, easy means of uploading images.

The windows uploader is a POS. Always has been.

The web uploader worked great. Reliable, accurate, quick and able to kick off 5K -10K uploads at a time and just walk away.

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