Bicycle extension & 360° cameras

I’m thinking of buying a 360° camera and try and use it on the bicycle. With the Hero7 I’m using RAM mount material on both bicycle and car, and it’s been great. There’s a 24 inch extension pole that would make it possible to use it on the roof of the car and on the bicycle handlebar (RAM® 24" PVC Pipe Extension with B Size & C Size Socket Arms). Has anyone tried a similar set-up? Any suggestions or experience worth sharing?

3 Likes

I’ve not tried that exact type of setup, but have used the GoPro Max on a 36 inch extension from a backpack. 24 inches above handlebars might not give a clear view above your head.

Also, when extending a 360 camera above your head, I’ve found that overhanging trees can create issues. Even if you see a coming low hanging tree on a bicycle, it might not be easy to steer around depending on the type of road you’re on.

1 Like

Hi

I just do use my GoPro Max on my helmet, directly glued a mount to the GoPro to my bicycle helmet.
Good enough to get a good view of the surrounding, not to heavy, not very annoying construction on the bike.
BUT yeah, higher than usual (e.g. careful with low passages, trees), and sure, a bit more weight on the head.

Amiga4000

2 Likes

I use 360 on my bicycle. The camera is gopro max and I will take a picture of the equipment attached the bicycle and post it here tomorrow. In the meantime, if you care and have time , have a look at the quality of the images on my profile for Furesoe kommune /DK
The kommune ( municipality) have been capturing 360 images for monitoring green vegetation areas as well as street view images for a couple of years.
Thanks for reading

2 Likes

I can share my own experience now.

First I tried with a pole on the handlebar, but that was a disaster. I really love my RAM mount gear, but with a long pole, the RAM ball-based solution simply does not work. If you have to brake even a little bit, the camera will go flying forward

Second, I mounted a PVC pipe (used for waste water) on the bike. That worked pretty well, to my surprise. However, it looks a little weird how there’s always a cyclist front central in the image :slight_smile:

Third and lasting solution: as you can see on the linked picture, there’s a RAM base on the helmet. I use it with a somewhat longer connector and that gives decent results.

The downside of option 3 is that it does put a little bit of extra strain on your neck. The helmet needs to be a good fit, otherwise you wind up with very bad horizons. And it’s easy to forget about overhanging branches!

I haven’t tried on the car yet.

4 Likes

Dear fellow mappers / cyclist,
Sorry for forgetting to upload images of my GOPro setup :slight_smile:
At Furesoe Municipality, we are lucky to have a skilled handy man that is able to modify a Manfrotto monofod into a stand that holds the GoPro Max camera to my bike. The monopod is used upside down, that enables the handy man to crank an additional GoPro (blue) mount and base magnets.
The 3 round, powerful magnets placed on the bottom of the setup are essential to ensure strong attachment to the bike rack. Notice that there is a 3mm solid metal plate bolted on the bike rack that provides stable base for the magnetic attachment.
What I dream about, beside peace and harmony, is a gyro-stabilizer between the camera and the monofod, but I haven’t been able to find one yet that is light enough for biking.
The bike is from Danish Omniumcargo.dk – including the bike rack.
I hope this inspires you further in to the quest of better bicycle mapping.
best regards / N

manfrotto MPMXProA4





4 Likes

Thank you for sharing these photos ; and for the handyman’s ingenuity :smile:

2 Likes

Found you :slight_smile:

I’ve now switched to using a Hama 4398 helmet mount together with the GoPro vented helmet straps. The advantage is a LOT less weight compared to RAM mount. The downside is that you have a little more helmet in the picture.

4 Likes

Hi

I like the mount on helmet more, as it does not show the person or the bicycle that much. Thats why I use this approach^

Amiga4000

5 Likes

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this matter.
@joostjakob Lovely helmet - i like that it is visible.
Stay safe and enjoy the summer

Awesome rig. Can I ask you what your workflow for uploading captures on bike from the GoPro Max is? I currently have a workflow starting with the GoPro Max timewarp mode, but it’s very lengthy and complicated.

1 Like

Hey Kartmann,
Yeah, the Timewarp mode looks… interesting. We simply use the timelapse mode, with one picture every two seconds. Since 99% of our pictures are taken from a bicycle, that is really good enough in our opinion. Just take out the SD card, copy to a PC, do some manual cleaning and you’re good to go. I upload with the command line tools, which seems to result in marginally better results than just using the desktop uploader which most of the others use. You can check out the results here (blue are the images taken with the cameras we bought at OSM.be, green is mostly our crazy Brussels contributor Stéphane de Greef).

1 Like

We found one major benefit with TimeWarp, its auto leveling. Often the photos from bikers are a bit tilted, especially in turns, which makes the user experience of moving through a collection of photos subpar. Downside is the lower resolution compared to timelapse. TimeWarp also increases the amount of photos captured per second, so we could bike 40 km/h, and the distance between each photo was still great.

Our photos

1 Like

I really have the feeling that the GoPro Max simply could get a software update to improve the way the timelapse works. Indeed, the leveling is awesome on your pictures, but the resolution does seem significantly lower. We mainly use the images for mapping in OSM, then you want to be able to read traffic sign details and shop names etc.

2 Likes

I love Olso city! - Question: How do you get your city logo on the 360 image? - Very cool thingy! I think I would add this to our images too if it is possible. But nevertheless we need as much image cover as possible to be able to detect street level objects (water drains/man holes etc.). I sure need to test it out though. Thanks for sharing. All the best - NNJ4

hi Kartmann,
the workflow is basically as Joostjakob mentions straight forward. I also use timelapse mode and not timewrap mode –which I need to test. I use the CMD tool too with the following command line:
mapillary_tools process_and_upload C:\xxxGadefotos\xxx --user_name XXXCGourgexxx --duplicate_distance 0.5 --duplicate_angle 360 --skip_process_errors --organization_key xxxFictionIsForReal09033187Ja88xxx
Correct me if I have the wrong code. I get often errors (and headache) when I upload and I need to ask about mapillary support how to work it out. Let’s stay in touch.

The GoPro can take still photos at about 18MP, scaled down to 16.6 MP. A 5.6K TimeWarp video is equivalent to 14.5MP, so there definitely is a bit of a difference. The compression is probably also a bit heavier when recording instead of snapping photos. For our needs, 14MP works just fine. Mapillary seems to scale down the quality quite a bit until you really zoom in on an object.

Awesome, send me a DM if you’re ever in town and want to grab a beer.
I really recommend checking out David’s blog at Trekview.org. He has many blogs posts about using a GoPro Max for mapping. This once is about adding logos (a nadir) to a 360 photo. You can easily customize how big you want the logo to be. Ours barely cover the top of our helmets, so we wouldn’t be able to see anything valuable beside the top of our heads anyway.

He’s using a terminal tool called ImageMagick. I went with a different approach on MacOS using Automator and third party actions from a photo editing app called Pixelmator to automatically add the nadir to thousands of photos. Doesn’t really matter which approach you go for.

PS: upvote this GoPro community post. It would be great to show some support for these additional features for the GoPro MAX and GoPro Player app.

2 Likes

yeah it’s not about the megapixels. When it comes to Timewarp, the main problem is just the actual video compression that’s lowering the quality

1 Like

Gold readings …thank you for sharring