Equipment Recommendation that's Compatible with Android

Hi, all.

I need to come up with a new solution, for recording images, from inside my car windscreen. The Android handset I was using, is now needed elsewhere. It seems wasteful to buy a new mobile phone, just to use the camera. Having searched for some answers, it seems like GoPro is the way forward; sadly, only IOS devices seem to have good support.

I want to buy a solution that records imagery, and uses the Mapillary app to handle the geolocation stuff and to manage uploads; I do not want to have to run scripts to do this. Has anyone found a solution for this situation?

Many thanks,


does it have to be new? there are probably lots of cheap battered phones on ebay that would still have decent cameras. the batteries in the phone might be run down at this point but if you are able to leave it charging while using it then that wouldnt be much of an issue.

or maybe have a look and see what is the cheapest IOS device that is compatible with gopro?

i use an android facing forward and a gopro facing to the side but i find the workflow on android to be a lot easier. even just being able to sync your photos across to a computer using something like syncthing makes it a whole lot easier than having to manually get the photos off the gopro each time. but i put up with it because i havnt found an android camera so far that takes good photos when facing sideways

@chris_debian, It sounds like the device you want to use will embed the GPS data into the JPG’s EXIF tags.

@dave683, the problem with sideways is the change of scenary and the need to quickly refocus. My old garmin virb’s usually do it well enough. They have problems in lower light though. How has your GoPro ( which model ? ) held up in lower light situations?

I add the
Sunplus Action Camera
to the Do Not Buy List.

Thanks, both. I’m thinking that maybe getting another mobile phone, would be the smoothest way forward. I see you can buy new good spec Moto G phones for less than £150 (GBP).


Except for current showstopper iOS app bug preventing image approval, iOS app, IMHO, has far superior user experience - for recording, approving/deleting, uploading; Android app seriously lacking in features, functionality. (:frowning: Many, if not most, cross-platform mobile app developers try to have feature-parity between platforms. Alas, Mapillary is woefully inadequate in this regard. (:frowning:

As for buying used gear, good luck finding used phone with important Mapillary features like good battery, accurate sensors - GPS, compass direction.

Mappers know that smartphones are not good enough.

ive been using a session 5 since some time last year but i recently upgraded to a hero7. i dont think ive really got to test them out in any low light situations yet, i usually dont bother trying to capture anything after 5 but thats mainly because my android ends up blurring at that point.

i have a feeling that the gopro photos would hold up a lot better though. there have been a few times where photos looked really dark (going past a bridge or tree, or with the sun facing into the lens) but ive been able to brighten up the shadows in lightroom so that the photo is still usable. if i try to do the same with photos from my phone they usually look a bit funky, but still better than nothing

it must be a swedish thing. i use “reason” (music software) which is made by a swedish company and they seem hell bent on only releasing apps for the second largest phone market, ie the iphone

the battery is not much of a problem as i stated above.

yea i suppose theres chance the gps might not be the best but at least theres the option of using an external bluetooth gps. i bought one when i started mapillary first because the order of photos were being messed up with the internal gps, but it was well worth the money in the end and i wouldnt switch back. it stops your phone battery from draining as much and you can program some useful tasker commands around it like recording a gpx track any time its turned on etc etc …and the obvious stuff like its more accurate

compass direction has never worked for me on any phone but it an easy fix in the editor later on

I have a high end phone (note 8) that takes excellent photos. But placement under the mirror is not ideal. Sometimes there are reflections and keeping the front of the car out of the view means the angle is a bit high. I would prefer the camera was higher, a test in a double decker bus was clearly a better elevation. It is easier to monitor the phone while driving.
I was disappointed in the GPS accuracy but at least there is a separate gpx file and timestamps on the image file names.
To improve the GPS tracking I have tried a garmin 78S and a USB external receiver. The best option was a Garmin Glo which has SBAS as a bonus and can be placed with a clearer view of the sky. Having corrections done on the fly avoids post processing.
The other options had too many unreliable cable connections.
I am not impressed with the complexity using a gopro on the car roof. A phone is so integrated.
I do have trouble with overheating if running at 1 frame per sec. I shade the phone from the sun and direct an ac vent at it, and take off the cover. I always have a power cable to allow a few hours capture.
Every hour needs a reset to clear a cache of something.

I have never used it in a moving vehicle for Mapillary, but the camera in my LG V20 has performed well in every other type of use I’ve made of it. It performs well-enough forward-facing that I considered using it as a dashcam, but ultimately decided to buy a dedicated dashcam instead, more to avoid excess wear on the phone than for any other reason. The V20 is also a powerful phone in general, and is the last high-end phone with a removable battery.

They can be had new old stock very inexpensively; or if purchased used in good condition, can be rehabilitated for the cost of a battery (~ USD $15.00 on Amazon). I don’t know about carrier and band support outside the US; but they are GSM, and unlocked versions are available.

This isn’t a recommendation so much as a hunch that it would work well, however, as I have never used it for the specific purpose you have in mind.

As for the GoPro Hero 5 and newer, the GoPro Android app is unstable, in my opinion; but the images are usable as taken using the GoPro Quik desktop client. They do have to be exported, but no further processing is needed unless you want to tinker with the images for some reason.

The Quik software is also a lot less problematic than the GoPro Fusion Studio software for the Fusion 360. (In fairness, however, I must say that the only problem I have with Fusion Studio since building a new computer is getting it to find the camera in the first place. Once it finds the camera, which can require quite a bit of prodding, the rest of the process is uneventful.)