LG 360 experience


#1

I recently purchased an LG 360 camera and mounted it using a magnet and mono pole on my roof to record 360 photo sequences.

Initially I purchased a 110 pound magnet designed to hold flags. I didn’t feel comfortable driving at highway speeds with this magnet so I ended up purchasing another stronger 405 pound neodymium magnet from CS Magnetics.

The camera and pole only weigh a few pounds so I thought they would be well under 100 pounds and would be fine, but you have to factor in wind resistance. I saw a formula factoring speed and velocity.

You have to be careful when mounting mono poles on a car. Many of these mono poles that extend three to four feet are cheaply made. The tip that screws into the magnet is weak and can come off while you are driving as I found out. I had the camera and pole fly off when I was driving about 40 miles per hour. Fortunately the cars behind me avoided running over the camera but one of the lenses got scratched up. The other side just had a minor scratch and is still functional. The 360 recordings now have a big blob one one side. So on to camera number two.

The magnet mount has a screw through the middle so it can connect to any devises like GoPros that have the screw hole on the bottom. In order to strengthen the pole and make it road worthy I bought a larger screw to replace the original at a local hardware store. I bought washers for each side of the screw and two inch-long plastic cylinders that could screw onto the screw and fit snugly in the inside of the mono poll. It wasn’t quite a perfect fit when I inserted the screw with the extenders back in the pole so I wrapped the whole piece with a layer of duck tape to make the connection snug.

I took the piece out and then smothered it along with the original screw connector on the pole with quick drying epoxy. The glue is designed to bond multiple surfaces including medal. You just need to make sure you don’t get any of the glue in the screw hole or on the screw. When you are done you should have a solid fastener the screw can connect to.

There seems to be different places on the roof where the magnet is stronger. You’ll want to try it out and see what spot works best. If you put a cloth between the magnet and roof you can avoid scratching the paint.

You can check the shadow or the display with the 360 Cam Manager Android or IPhone ap to see if you notice any excessive movement. You should be able to wiggle the pole before you start and not have it not move.

The ap lets you take photos at increments of 2 or 5 seconds. You have to have the latest version of the camera software installed that you have to do through your computer before using the time feature. 2 seconds is usually good for most cases. You may want to go up to 5 seconds if your phone freezes or you are driving through a stretch of desert where not much is happening. Because the ap goes by time and not distance, you’ll want to stop it at stop lights or when you are stopped.

The nice thing about 360 as opposed to traditional cameras is you only have to go down a street once and it will record both directions. Sometimes you have to backtrack to cover a side street and you can stop the app and then resume it on the new street. The phone seems like it has two to three hours of mapping time. The default photos that the camera take are about four megs, which is lower than the 10 megs Mapillary recommends for uploading. They are a little lower quality than I would like to see compared with traditional images. The files take a long time to upload since you have to do it manually. You might want to let it run over night or just upload sequence by sequence in smaller groups.

You’ll want to try out the ap and then check to make sure all the images are getting different gps coordinates. The ap tends to only record the gps setting for the start of the sequence. On my Android phone, it only geocodes the first image of the sequence with the proper location. All the following images have the same geo location on them. As a result, the Mapillary uploader doesn’t work. I had to manually geocode them with GeoSetter and then upload them through Mapillary. Do a sample run of a couple miles and then open them with GeoSetter. If the images have different coordinates and view correctly in the uploader they should upload fine. This is a know problem and Mapillary is working on fixing it.

I haven’t gotten the upload scripts to work yet on my Windows computer. I have to figure out the Python bindings, libraries, running scripts, etc.


#2

You talk about the LG 360 app or the mapillary android app? You mean LG is working on fixing it?


#3

Good point. I am using the LG 360 ap. From what I understand Mapillary is working on getting their Android ap to support the camera by default. I’m going to check with LG and submit a ticket with them if one hasn’t been submitted. If LG can fix that problem, then the photos can be geocoded correctly and uploaded through the Mapillary uploader.


#4

@nmixter - first, thanks for sharing your experience! Lots of good points here. I’m sorry you damaged your camera with the first run. =(

You understood correctly, we will be working on external camera support in our Android app in the new year. Meanwhile, we recommend that you use some other app to record your GPS track (with more reliability than the LG app) and then you can use scripts to geocode your images. As for doing it manually, did you know you can also do it in the Mapillary web uploader? When you try to upload photos without location information, you’ll get prompted to drag them to their correct locations on the map. You can give it a try and see if you like it. =)


#5

@nmixter What is the maximum driving speed where LG 360 cam creates acceptable 360 images (assume good daylight conditions) in 2-seconds time lapse mode?

Anyway, found a site offering new LG 360 cams for 130 euro, so I gonna buy this cam.


#6

UPDATE: It appears like the geocoding setting is now working correctly on the LG 360 camera and my Android phone. I did a trial of both 2- and 5-second intervals and the phone correctly geocodes the exact location and not the location of just the first image in the sequence. I am not sure if an update to the ap fixed it or if it was something I did. I downloaded the ap GPS Connected and selected “Lock GPS” hoping that would force the phone to not drop the signal. Also I downloaded GPS Status and under “Manage-A GPS State” selected “Reset” to clear the cached GPS data.


#7

I try to stay between 25 and 40 mph when possible for
surveying to pick up as many details possible. The camera is able to
record at higher speeds with a little loss in quality. At highway speeds
many of the signs are blurred but the colors and contrast are still
good. In general with the 360 the quality is a little less than with a
traditional flat camera, but the trade-off is having really cool 360
sequences. The camera really has gotten a lot cheaper recently.


#8

I received my cam. I tried the 2-seconds interval, which showed as ‘<2’ on the app and it indeed faster than each 2 seconds, with correct gps.

But can you tell me what is the ‘front’ lens of the cam, so when I drive this should be set to the driving direction for mapillary?

I’ll have to wait for better weather conditioins before I make my first 360 upload.


#9

As long as you shoot in the 360 mode and not the 180 mode, there really isn’t a front and back to the camera. The camera records in 360 mode with the two lense shots being stitched together on the sides. I usually try to have the lenses facing the sides of the car rather than to the front and back. That way the main focus is on what is closer to the car on the sides rather than what is in the distance on the front and back. You can see a little distortion on the sides away from the lenses but it is barely noticeable.


#10

Ah, sidewards orientation of the lenses, not thought about that, maybe a good idea as you explain. But how do you afterwards specify the correct compass direction (after manual upload without a compass heading) for mapillary?

Do you ‘normalize’ the seqquence and then add 90 degrees? (Which amount of degrees, I think, will depend on what is the leftside lens and the rightside lens?)


#11

Ok, I did some research, here some findings:

  • the front lens of the LG360 is located on the side with shutter-button; so the middle of the equirectangler image is always catched by this lens. The image from the other lens is cutted and stitched to the left and right of the final image created by the LG360
  • when driving with the front lens pointing in the left direction [sidewards orientation aproach], after manual upload I need a ‘normalize’ and add 270 degrees to set the compass heading correctly with respect to the center of the image.
  • when driving with the front lens pointing in the driving direction, after manual upload I need only a ‘normalize’ edit to set the compass heading correctly.
  • after 3 minutes of time lapse it seemed the gps info from the LG360 app stopped, images had a wrong old gps stamp. Found out this is probably due because the mobile phone screen off timer was activated. Solution: I had to download free app ‘no screen off’ to prevent this. This way, I can also see and switch the stop button of the LG360 app at a traffic light.

#12

@nmixter maybe you can have look at https://github.com/mapillary/UserGuide/wiki/LG-360-Cam-(LGR105) and contribute if you have some additional tips or info using the camera for mapillary.

I do still like the cam (price/quality) , but one of the stitch lines is getting very visible after some weeks of using :frowning:


#13

I will stop using the cam, the stitch line is so terrible (ugly) most of the time that I am almost ashamed of uploading these pictures to mapillary.

See e.g. https://www.mapillary.com/app/?lat=52.04029000000003&lng=4.178971638888953&z=17&pKey=3YE-bRROunQTuGxtb4musw&focus=photo&x=0.7431785939017502&y=0.5666794335073636&zoom=0


#14

What a shame you stop using it. OK the images are not 100% perfect but stills show a lot of usefull detail. It seems like you have the camera mounted with the lenses facing to the side instead of front/back. Correct? Could it be that you still have the protective film on the outer black ring of the lenses? This might cause light breaking. I’ve noticed this on mine only a few weeks after using it . :smile:


#15

Ditto :smiley: It’s amazing how many pieces of protective film they’ve been able to place on that tiny camera.

Really looking forward to Android app getting the LG 360 support - after the latest Android update my OnePlus 3 doesn’t anymore connect to the camera through LG’s own 360 Cam Manager, which works just fine e.g. on my wife’s iPhone.


#16

Have a feel of the body of the camera. Do any of the lenses move at all?

I wonder if vibrations have moved them or the casing.


#17

I guess also there was something wrong with the camera, because such large stitch errors in my last 360 sequences are not normal. I opened the cam , try to clean the lenses, try to allign the position of the lenses but it did not work, everything got even worse… I ordered a new one.


#18

What app do you use to quickly browse through the hunderds/thousands of photos. I use Irfanview that is pretty fast but does not show the images in full 360 view. The LG 360 cam viewer shows the images in 360 view but is very slow in going from one image to the next. I use Windows 10. Any suggestions?


#19

I just use the windows explorer with large thumbnail view to quickly review 1000s of pictures for real bad ones (up side down ones). Its not the scrollable 360 view but simple equirectangular jpeg which is fine and quite fast (as normal jpeg). I am only using the LG 360 viewer on my desktop to impress friends… It agree, that viewer is very slow, even uploaded mapillary 360 sequences can be accessed faster online on the mapillary website.


#20

The LG 360 camera fits perfectly into the hole of my bicycle helmet, no mounts needed, just stick it from the inside through the hole and it gets stuck, will not go anywhere :slight_smile:


Footage is ok, not too much helmet in the picture, I am completely covered under the helmet, camera does not stick out too much above my head so it draws less attention than cycling with a monopod. I can easily press the on/off button. Disadvantage: very difficult to connect it to a powerbank with a USB cable. Maybe the insta360 One is better, it has a USB connection to the side, maybe it will fit too (the hole is oval shaped, measures 24mm x 50 mm), @tankaru?