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.