Improving Userexperience (esp. for contributing powerusers)?

Hi there, after continue my contribution to Mapillary after years, I see huge steps forwards. But also I found that a lot of features were added, but the overall feeling like a unified workflow? As this affects different projects and it’s not 1:1 suggestion to implementations, I think it’s better to post it here, than splitting it up into different github issues. But I will split it into several posts, so you show your support, or give threaded comments :slight_smile:

All in all, this ideas focus on a improved user for different user groups

  • regular viewers
  • regular contributors
  • powerusers viewing
  • new users

And of course, this focus all the global entities

  • photos
  • sequence
  • tags
  • object detections
  • users

@mapillary it would be great, to get any feedback, if this ideas can be realized and if we should discuss more details

Clean viewer / editor pattern

Currently the editing features seem to be spread on very different places and have very different behaviour, which looks not straight forward and hold users from (learing to) contributing

  • always one viewer / editor per entity
  • same action to enable editing modes
  • editors share the same UI layout
    • toolbars
    • shortcuts
    • sidebars / content mousemenus (
  • Sequence editor with grey menu is bad
    • it hides the map on low res laptops
    • mixing tools for very different contexts
    • doesn’t followGIS / webmap / … UI patterns

Better Performance sequence editor

I used the existing tool to work on a dozen tracks (existing and my own ones). While the basic features are ok, I noticed that speed is very crucial:

  • slow when moving nodes (~ 3 secs)
  • slow when switching active node and photo upates ( 1 sec)
  • Better general design needed (offline? desktop app?) when editing hundreds of nodes for QA (if needed, I can post more on my personal experiences and workflow)

Better editor usability

Beside speed, I noticed some issues on the sequence editor. But of course some are general enough, to become part of the generic editor pattern:

  • support keyboard shortcuts (next/prev, tag presets, …) I guess mozilla voice speak editor is a good example!
  • avoid switching mouse / keyboard unnecessary (e.g. rotating camera angles, confirm tags, …)
  • grabbing nodes doesn’t work 100% accurate (looks like race condition between focus and mouse move?)
  • selecting multiple nodes to move nodes / normalize camera along track / … doesn’t exist
  • normalize camera is only for full sequence, but not selected nodes only
  • MRU for last used tags, camera degrees, …
  • Voice control? to avoid context switches and browsing long lists / entering text using keyboard / … (e.g. selecting tags texts, rotating photo camera, … ). I did some research and prototype for JOSM voice control.

Support Organisation contribution workflows

At work, I’m part of the city government GIS team and see good chances to contribute with more people / vehicles / … But I miss some aspects to organise a team with a joint mission:

  • Workflow for teams -> pool of tasks and photos and managers
    • plan track records on map and assign to / let be picked by field teams
    • n users / teams which submit photos by app, dashcams, …
    • n users / teams which do privacy review / QA / classification before publication
    • show recorded tracks AFAP (to avoid dublicated tracks)
  • app could show planned recording track via argumented reality within video-stream (check what is recorded, while keeping focused on where to drive)
  • keep material more easily also as local copy (photos, QA improvements, ) -> avoiding vendor lockin, if mapillary might go down (hopefully not!) and make sure we spend resources sustainably
  • how can organisations help to improve object detection and see how their contributions improve the detection?

Support Quality assurance / mass edits

Beside the technical editors aspects, I noticed, that there are other aspects, which need IMHO some more attention:

  • lock sequence tracks / nodes that are pending a edit review (avoid conflicts by concurrent changes)
  • show capture infos (tilt gps strength, …) as track color, to find bad photos easily
  • my workflow for quality assurance
    • improve track accuracy ( align to roads, align in line, move to passpoints, splitup sequence, align view. JOSM has most of it implemented)
    • photos (flag bad quality / blur, add privacy blur, remove ex. privacy blur, rotate)
    • improve object detection (but how can I flag bad detections?)
  • save resource by triggering postprocessing manually (when I’m done with all the steps above
  • Tool to fix wrong rotated images example track, example track2
  • app upload nodes + thumbnails first -> faster to continue on editing / filtering the contributed tracks before the heavy photo bulk upload finishes (think of poor ADSL uplinks!)
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Assist on object detection

The detection of city furnitures and amenities is one of the important features esp. for governmental endusers. So improving and fixing wrong detection seems to be very important, but is currently impossible?

  • mix of tag and object detection view, to let users report missing / wrong classification

  • How to flag wrong object classification? (pick right class, merge with surrounding objects, draw better outline, …)

  • show quality of classifier -> gamification

  • tags show on all sequences, which show this location -> verify this occurence and focus on non detected objects

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Community groups + dashboards

Mapillary is based on community to take photos and classify content. It would be nice, if there are better features to help to keep this team together and improve the quality of contributions:

  • see local contributors within area

  • directmessages to users than commenting single photos

  • community pages for dashboards / contributors / team tasks / stats / … similar to TTN community, or OSM Community Wiki

  • monitor local contributions (soft review) -> Dashboard / notifications for new tracks and tracks that have been reviewed (e.g. with sequence tag for geometry, photo, tagging review?)

Tags for sequences

I think a useful feature are tags not only for photo areas or photos, but also for a sequence of photos. I try to summarize possible pros:

  • indicate global aspects as:
    • tags for weather / daytime phenomena (sunny, cloudy, snow, sunrise, night)
    • moving by car / bike / foot / bus / tram / ship / …
    • temp. Objects / events (e.g. christmas market, construction or banns, … )
    • direction of view
    • if QA passed
  • useful to filter tracks in view
  • asked by app before starting capturing

Extending tags

While I like the universally mind of tags, I think there is more power to come by extending this feature

  • Let users suggest new tags via UI
  • tags with explaination (like stackoverflow, link to wikidata like OSM tag wiki and example Photo ). Desribing what it it is not -> homogenize global usage
  • describe how a tag should be marked - biggest possible outline or minimal? What if multiple objects in a row e.g. bollards? …
  • which tags are extracted by OSM and don’t need to be entered manually?
  • which tags are you currently looking for?
  • better campaigning and stats on tags / tagging community see voice.mozilla.org
  • gamification like maproulette challenges -> e.g. lets classify bollards -> tag them in your area or do a review of already flagged photos

Improve visual map style

Currently the node density on the maps is overwhelming and hard to pick good choice. I think you can improve it:

  • 360° Images / panoramas as single stills, not as (pretty sparse and more messing than useful) track e.g. here in Rostock

  • cluster and color tracks on well covered major roads (e.g. by vehicle, by lane, by age…)

  • tracks as linestrings only, without thick nodes (just highlight a node as mouse hover)

  • global map is just green -> not useful to pick a photo anymore. How about to switch to a heatmap -> show coverage or curated pick of famous / unknown / community choosen locations like bestofosm -> beam there