I’m looking into buying a dashcam for my bicycle. While it’s primary purpose is to record the traffic I would of course love to also use the recordings for Mapillary.
I’ve only just started scanning the market. There are a lot of options from general purpose action cams to specialized bicycle dashcams. Is there anything I should consider from the perspective of contributing recordings to Mapillary? So far I’ve only ever contributed with the Mapillary app and more often images taken on my phone with the Desktop Uploader.
Any hints for making my buying decision easier (or more complicated ) are appreciated.
I have tried a couple dashcams and I am not happy with what I found. While the idea was great, I found a couple dedicated dashcams to get only low quality, shaky, blurry video, from which I’d get lousy unusable stills. If you can’t read out a license plate what sense does it make to use a dashcam? Also, you will want a continuous loop video recording for a dashcam, a workflow quite different to the one with Mapillary, for which image sequences are preferred.
I have been using GoPro Hero 7 Black cameras for Mapillary imaging for a couple of years now. They are a bit buggy, but cheap as you can get those 2nd hand. Outstanding vibration rejection, reasonable quality, plenty of modes. A bit picky with SD cards, apparently Samsung units work better than Sandisks.
However I didn’t find a way to use these as a continuous loop dashcam. There might be a way, just that I didn’t find it yet. Maybe 0.5 s image sequences could do the trick?
But for sure there will be plenty of options…
Thanks for sharing your experience. Not very encouraging.
I was hoping for some other opinions? Does anyone have more positive experiences?
With a “real” dashcam, you’ll record video I guess. Extracting images from video is possible, but it is a bit of a hassle. And the quality is much lower than what the timelapse 0.5s would get you - with less processing.
After some trial-and-error and (mis?)use of various ‘30-day money back’ offers the current (shared) arsenal consists of
a GoPro Hero9 black (20MP, wide angle, time-lapse still images at 1fps, mounted on the bicycle handlebars) ,
a GoPro Hero(2018) on the cycle helmet records 50fps FHD (1920×1440) video : advantage that where the cyclist turned their head is captured for later reference - sufficient detail to jog the memory, but not all FHD video text is readable , the somewhat wobbly movie greatly benefits from the stabilizer function ;
a 4×zoom 12MP ‘tough’ water&drop-proof camera for details and during walks.
The Samsung Gear 360 (2016) produces good pictures (details comparable to the Hero(2018) video), but needs more post-processing , the Hero8 black was disappointing, thus was one of the cameras returned (other returned cams were the LG 360 and the Olympus TG-tracker (mine had rather visible blur at the edges, and a GoPro-type mount at the rear which caused it to dip) .
The Hero9’s GPS is sufficiently accurate to publish without geotag-adjustment ;
the still camera’s built-in GPS records position only once in a while, thus need to re-geotag in Basecamp, but even then still benefits from adjusting location and heading as described in the post on JOSM.
GoPro sell a handlebar mount which provides a sturdy base, may find the GoPro is actually cheaper with the 1-year GoPro subscription : currently looks like €/$200 off, and a discount on spare batteries (found needed four extra for daytrips, as each powers for like two hours, and some carriers won’t ship ‘loose’ batteries), mount etc (check this still applies!!!).
As they say : “your mileage may vary”, take a look at recent sequences by user koninklijke to see what it can deliver ; the Hero9 was Mapillary’s recommended camera till the 10 came out. And if the thing really doesn’t perform to expectations? 30-day money back with free shipping and return takes the sting out of that , although to me it would sound fair to let GoPro know on which aspects the Hero disappointed?
Met vriendelijke groet (Dutch for ‘with friendly greeting’,