Experience with mounting a camera outside a car


Just bought a Garmin XE Virb and a GoPro suction cup. Looking for some guidance. The only mount place that did not capture part of the car was on the front of the hood. That is kind of low, and captures a lot of road.

I had been hoping to put it on the car roof to get shots from a bit higher up. But then I got parts of the car in the pictures.

Any guidance?


If you mount the camera on the roof, you need to aim the camera a bit upwards until you don’t see the car anymore.
An alternitive could be to take pictures backwards


@Andblu I have the same setup and am happy to help. I put mine on the front of the hood as well. This tends to get a lower angle view, but it isn’t that bad. The wide angle Virb lense doesn’t have any trouble getting the entire scene.

Here’s an example of the front of the hood mount. Map location.

Another front of the hood example


Update from my earlier post with the GoPro. I’m now using two Garmin Virb XEs. These are great cameras, good for much more than Mapillary. I still rely on the GoPro suction cups because they’re the best ones out there, in my experience. I don’t use the tether anymore though, as the charging cable acts as a bit of a tether. I suppose this is risky, but I’ve never had an issue. I’ve seen videos where this suction cup is stuck to the side of a rocket, so I think it will stay stuck. :smile:

Here are some photos of the Garmin Virb XE on the front, and then on the side of the vehicle. The front of the hood works best for the front view, and the side window is great for side view.




Front, close up

It is waterproof


Hi @talllguy, I was just wandering how you make sure that the orientation or compass direction (what is the correct term here?) is saved to the images and interpreted correctly by Mapillary?

I record with my gopro and was wandering if this is something that needs to be set/written to the files prior to upload.



@seb The image direction (technically the gpsImgDirection tag in the image’s metadata) is what we’re talking about.

When you record with GoPro, the photos don’t have any GPS information, so you’ll have to enjoin that information using a tool or script. Which are you using?

The best way I’ve found to update the gpsImgDirection tag is to use Mapillary’s interpolate_direction.py script. Find it here with instructions on usage. With this script, you can specify the angle of an image to apply an offset, e.g. 90 degrees to the right. That is how I keep ensure the orientation / compass direction is correct.


I read a post in the following threat Anyone from Australia? where @tastrax wrote, he used an aerial mount. No idea what that is, but googling let me to this site with mounts for antennas. Looks really interesting and could be worthwhile to see if something could work with a rammount for exemple :slight_smile:


I used a GME mount Harry


I initially had a RAM 25mm ball and a small arm attached but it wobbled around too much for my liking. I now have a old mount from the top of a tripod that is much better. Lower to the car and not as much flex.

About to install a USB port under the bonnet so I can connect the camera to a full time power supply.


I actually like the look of this one because its adjustable

My fixed mount I needed to get just right for the correct field of view. Not easy but I managed by sliding washers under the mount to ‘rake it upwards’

Under bonnet USB also installed

Contour 2+ - Tips and Tricks

All I need now is a magnetic Mapillary.com sign to slap on the side of the car so folks know what I am up to! :smile: :smile:


This one looks interesting


A magnetic logo is what I suggested a few months ago in another category.
And also a jacket or something to use when walking/biking.

Is that something that can be fixed using Cafepress.com or any similiar service, Mapillary? :smile:


I agree Patrick - I will add a topic to the community category


I made myself a low-cost homemade mount and posted about it in my OSM diary (was featured in WeeklyOSM too), but have after this changed to suction mounts that several users have described above. I have mostly run sequences with two cameras, one forward pointing, and one reverse, but hope to soon be able to cover a complete 360º with action cams + a 360º cam (360 cams seems to give lower quality images so maintaining the use of action cams for details.


[quote=“tastrax, post:29, topic:134, full:true”]
I used a GME mount Harry[/quote]

Ive used GME mounts for years for UHF and VHF antennas. They are metal so built to last. The one you show there are designed to mount on the fender but doesnt have to be a antenna on it :smile:


This is my 4 cams setup on my car:

  • Suction cup from Ram-mount
  • Usb cables to the cigarette lighters
  • Navspark GNSS receiver with the antenna on the roof

Each camera is secured with a wire locked with the doors, or with a hook on the antenna:


How fast can you go safely?


If I remember correctly, I’ve already drive up to 110km/h. And I think that 130km/h is safe.
The speed is not really a problem for the front and back cameras, but for the side one, the rolling shutter is a big problem if objects are too close.

BTW : Close up of the antenna hook:


Nice work - I have found if I go over about 90kmh then I start to get bugs squashed on the screen of the camera!


You’re right @tastrax, above 90km/h it’s not safe …for the bugs :smile:

More seriously, the amount off bugs usually depends on the weather.