Buying GoPro for Mapillary


I am looking at buying a non-360 degree camera (mainly interested in forward capture).

I have seen the GoPro Hero 7 Black is recommended, however there is now a Hero 9 with better resolution. Has anyone tried this one and can they confirm the workflow for uploading from the GoPro?

I currently have a dashcam which requires some post processing before it can be uploaded to Mapillary which is a pain, I am looking for something as simple to upload to the service as possible


I use an older GoPro Hero 5, the resolution seems adequate and it was much cheaper as I bought it second hand. My impression is that apart from the increased resolution the later generations have not really added anything that it pertinent to use with Mapillary.

There is some post procerssing required with the GoPros as they do not have a magnetometer and so do not set the EXIF tags for the direction. I use the command line “mapillary_tools” and interpolate the direction. I think this will still be required with a Hero 9. I’ve got all the processing set up via command line macros but I’m used to UNIX/Linux command lines so this is fine for me.

My work flow is:

  • Capture imagery
  • Transfer images to PC (using a card reader is much faster than via USB)
  • Use mapillary_tools to interpolate directions etc (MAPILLARY_PROCESS alias)
  • Load images in JOSM and delete any problem images (blurry etc)
  • Use mapillary_tools to upload images (MAPILLARY_UPLOAD_OLNY alias)

Both aliases are just single commands so not onerous but not as simple as capturing images and pressing a button to upload.

Cheers, Rob.

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just got a GoPro Max new for 360 degree sphere panorama for mapillary.
Quite straight forward, 2 batteries, a 256 GB card. One picture every 2 sec, and battery will last at least 2-3h.
After that, transfer pictures to local harddrive, and using web uploader to mapillary, in 1000er batches, like gopro saves max 999 pictures per directory.
Quite flawless.
Look out for[]=aceini&dateFrom=2020-09-24
The GorPo Max has a Hero mode, which will use only on elens (forward/backward). Never used that, though.


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There is a thread here re:workflow for GoPro Hero 7 Black that you may find useful. Little to none postprocessing is required when you capture image sequences at 4000x3000 px: My GoPro7 Setup and Workflow

Sometimes the GoPro somehow skips the inclusion of GPS EXIF info on the .JPGs so some images are lost, as they cannot be geotagged. I can’t find a pattern or reason why this happens. It does happen though.

On the other hand the GoPro Hero 7 Black does NOT have a compass, so no orientation on your pics - you can normalize sequences using the web tool or the command line tools to automate this. I’m looking at the Hero 9 specs and can’t find any indication on whether this new camera carries a compass or can include image orientation on the .JPG image EXIF data.

Note you can shoot image sequences or video with the Hero 7 Black. For Mapillary it is probably best to stick to still images at 0.5 or 1 s intervals. I’ve been using a GoPro Hero 7 Black for that and I am quite happy.

If you’re checking both cameras for Mapillary, I’m not sure what a Hero 9 may offer that justifies the price increase with regards to a 2nd hand Hero 7 Black. There’s 5k video on the Hero 9 vs 4k on the Hero 7 Black, there’s the promise of better stabilization (which was already quite good on the Hero 7 Black) and there are more mpx on the Hero 9…

My guess is for most Mapillary-related issues the only real advantage would be better night pictures, but then you will want to shoot during the day, so maybe the old Hero 7 Black is still a relevant choice.

If someone knows whether the Hero 9 includes a compass, it would be nice to know :slight_smile:

Kind regards!

I’ve got Gopro 7 black from mapillary. (great thanks!!!) …but I would NOT recomend to buy it. THe main problem is buggy and constantly hanging firmware. Sometimes its just GPS not writing data or camera just stops timelapse and only way to reset is to take out the battery. Then you lose timestamp and need to connect to app to put it back (no! the camera cannot recover the time from gps!). Last week my gps module stopped to work entirely and now I need to geotag the photos manually from another device.

Few times I’ve lost some good amount of data due to this problems. They say version 8 is better…didnt check it.

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Bought the Hero9 as soon as hit the shelves. Quite a bit bulkier and heavier than the predecessors. Haven’t found reference a compass, neither in the menu nor in the PDF manual.

Taken three sequences of some 15 - 18k stills; camera mounted on top of cycling helmet means the camera can look over parked vehicles allows to aim bit sideways to better catch details for OpenStreetMap, but even keeping the head really still results in a wobbly horizon.
Looking for a tall handlebar mount, anyone with a suggestion, please?

Positive : Resolution is good, and exposure far better than the Hero(2018) which I used before; also, much shorter exposure times result in more sharp pics.

Unfortunately : The built-in GPS is a bit a hit-or-miss : geotagged pics tend to be be really spot-on, but found that from three series 30%, 5% and 11% of pics were not geotagged at all.
One might expect limited accuracy in for example a forest, but the Garmin eTrex10 recorded a decent track in those areas. And most puzzlingly, some of those pics which werent geotagged were part of a sequence like riding across a meadow’, where there was no discernible source of interference between the pics that were, and the ones that weren’t geotagged.

Post-processing can be as easy as uploading from the SD-card with the Mapillary Desktop Uploader,
but the missed location info means I take a couple of extra steps:
1/ use ExifTool with the ExifToolGUI graphical user interface, in the filelist tab set Details to location info and sort on the GPS = yes/no column, move GPS=no to another folder (GoPro folders contain like 999 or 1000 pics, may be quicker to copy all pics to HDD using the GoPro Quik or Nikon Transfer or any other utility, rather than sort each folder in turn);
2/ use Garmin Basecamp to geotag pics w/o location info with track from eTrex10 or another GPS (haven’t found a GPS-log on the Hero)
3/ use XNviewMP > batch convert to ad text to pics w/o Hero’s location to indicate different GPS-log used; you’ll find the Hero’s clock drifts by a couple of seconds per day, hence there’ll be a difference in position between Hero-geotagged and Basecamp-geotagged pics.
Then upload with the Desktop Uploader.

The Linear lens + Horizon levelling of video works, but somehow gave me a headache when replaying 2.7K on a QHD monitor.

Pricewise : new Hero7 from the GoPro shop 280€ , new Hero9 ditto shop 380€ with free one year GoPro cloud membership : upload unlimited video (and I think pics too) , also gives discount on stuff, like -30% on batteries, -50% on handlebar mount and MAX lens mod which promises 155degree viewing angle

Heads up : the spare batteries can -to some destinations- only be shipped with a camera, mine last for some three hours in photo time-lapse mode, haven’t tried video long enough.

Hope this helps? Any questions : ask, I may know an answer …


Hoi koninklijke,

I can’t find of a way to have the camera high enough to look over parked cars, while keeping it stable, unless you want to mount some gimble on your helmet, then the camera. (That’d look funny and maybe a bit too heavy and expensive).

I use a simple, unexpensive, low handlebar mount. Note this means I still get a wobbly horizon on bends, especially at high speeds:

I don’t have any other tracking device so I have to stick to the built-in GoPro GPS. If I were to take this professionally I’d certainly look into some other accompanying device.

Thanks for the input and best regards!!

A lot of the performance of the GoPro can depend on the SD card. You want to make sure you have a high quality SD card that the GoPro can save images and GPS information to fast enough. In most cases, 2 FPS. GoPro has a list of recommended cards here.

Yes, GPS is not as good as an external receiver, but we have found it to work pretty well in most environments and not needing record a separate GPS track is a huge plus.

Hi Ruben,

Camera on bicycle will always be less stable than a four-wheeled vehicle, but find that one can keep the head steady enough to clearly record road signs; parked cars may be more of an issue in a densely populated area, also for confirming house numbers and business names - bear in mind that my pics are primarily taken for perfecting OpenStreetMap.

Tallest off’-the-shelf mounting solution I’ve found is a ‘triathlon handlebar extension’, which raises the GoPro handlebar mount by some 300mm compared to mounting on handlebars, and allows to position the camera so that brake cables are out of the picture. Think of something like .

Have now had time to take a closer look at the ‘GPS locked’ icon on the settings screen : this frequently changes from white (=adequate signal) to grey (=inadequate signal) while standing in a meadow, no distractions in sight; at the same time an inexpensive Garmin eTrex10 shows the estimated position accuracy as 2m : looks like the Hero9 is too strict when discarding the position?

The memory card used is the one included by GoPro as part of the purchase, 2fps timelapse pics do get recorded, seems the card isn’t the cause, then?


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Be careful mounting a camera too high. The roll of the bike can cause issues with such a leverage from the centre of gravity. However, the real problem for me was forgetting it was there and breaking the monopod (x3). Yes, I’m an idiot.

I want with a helmet mount instead:

Works much better and a fairly good field of view, despite the low mountpoint to the helmet.

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It’s getting time to for some new equipment. I was leaning toward a GoPro w/ GPS. But having 5, 10, 30% of photos in a squence be GPS less isn’t acceptable.

Question - Is this at the beginning of a mapping trip? Or is this happening seeming randomly in the middle of one?

@allen I have only ever had the occasional failed GPS image - nothing like 10-30%, although most of my capture is in the country - not in cities. Sometimes image capture failed for a while but that occurred when I stopped the camera and then restarted it quickly so I suspect that was related to the images still being written to the card. If I give it time between stops and starts (good opportunity to see total numbers of images captured) then I get very few errors on two GoPro 7 Blacks.

Hi Allen,
Those missing GPS coordinates can be anywhere in the track, ranging from just one or a few in the middle of a field to longer stretches; on the other hand there are well-positioned sequences in urban areas where buildings are talled than the street is wide.

Then there are ways which I have covered both on the way out and on the way in. they’re on a ‘heide’, flat heathland w/o buildings , some trees lining the path, where the way out was fully, the way in only partially geotagged. That contrasts with almost perfectly following the winding path just a couple of hundred metres further along, in a wooded area.

Contrast this with a sequence including a circuit on a courtyard which does have correct coordinates (pity that Mapillary haven’t gotten around to publishing that sequence yet, but that’ll be the subject of a mail to support).

To end on a positive note : standard FullHD video with hypersmooth on and using the linear lens with horizon levelling produces a rock-steady picture : its just the geolocation which can produce superbly accurate results, but all too often the info is missing. And to answer a point made about SD-card speed or ‘giving the camera time to write’ : doesn’t matter whether the interval is set to 0.5sec or 5secs.


: there’s no mention of a compass in the manual, and no setting found in the menu.

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considering gopro has been interpolating (often horribly) movement direction in video, I don’t see why they’d add one

You could try using a different SD card. In the past I had (with Garmin) sometimes that the GPS tags do not match or get stuck at a certain point. Since using a Samsung Pro Endurance 128GB, I haven’t had any problems with GPS. By the way, WD has a similar series on the market: purple SD.

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Reply to my reply? Yes! The GoPro Hero9 Black firmware update to version 1.5 landed on 17 December 2020 ; have now upgraded and done two trial runs, found that GPs ‘locks’ in perhaps one minute and didn’t loose lock till I returned home - that’s including a road tunnel, woods, and city streets. Accuracy is still very good, better than the eTrex10’s track which was the previous ‘Gold Standard’.

Next to check : the improved Hypersmooth …

Another note : the 4K video with linear lens and horizon levelling gives good images for editing OpenStreetMap, and avoids the gaps between still images.
Pity that the 4K produces in the order of ½GB per minute = approx. 30GB per hour.


Dear Alan,
You’ll have seen my update re. the 17 Dec’20 firmware update to v1.5? Now GPS locks in say one minute, and remains locked.
Best, and an even better 2021.

How large are the still images taken with the Hero9 for various resolutions? I’m considering buying a Hero9 and use with timelapse and a couple of seconds intervals between pictures but don’t know how much memory is needed.


I would guess about 3.1-3.3MB each based on the GoPro Max using one camera (which I think is the same quality as the Hero 9).

Edit: I use GoPro’s Cloud service (‘Plus’) for the storage. Depending on your region the camera may be substantially cheaper with this, and it’s unlimited.


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