Often when you think of maps, many people imagine only a view from above. Street view imagery allows maps to have an additional dimension, with a view from the ground, as if you were standing on the street! Sometimes also known as Mobile Mapping Imaging Systems, street view imagery can allow you a 360 horizontal (and sometimes also vertical) panoramic view from the ground. Street view imagery can be used in numerous ways, including to take virtual walks & explore landmarks, map key points of interest, and survey solutions. In remote mapping, combined with aerial imagery, it can allow mappers to create rich and detailed maps when they are unable to map in the field.

Ramani Huria has worked with Garmin & Mapillary to conduct street view mapping of Dar es Salaam, and the data from our street view mapping is uploaded to the Mapillary website for anyone to access and use for private and non-commercial use. So far, Ramani Huria has mapped over 725 kilometer of road in Dar es Salaam, uploading 40,000 images.

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Sample Street view photo CREDIT: Ramani Huria

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Street view imagery of Dar es Salaam on the Mapillary website SOURCE: mapillary.com

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The Ramani Huria mapping bajaj CREDIT: Ramani Huria

To conduct street view mapping in Dar es Salaam, Ramani Huria has used three complementary methods: attaching a Garmin VIRB camera to any transport you happen to be on, creating the ‘mapping bajaj’ fitted with the Trimble MX7 Mobile Mapping Imaging system, and using the Mapillary’s mobile phone application.

Garmin VIRB camera

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Garmin Virb camera SOURCE: Ramani Huria

The Garmin VIRB camera has been used on motorbikes, daladala’s (public transport buses) and bajajis, including the ‘mapping bajaj’. The camera is rugged, durable, and water resistant so ideal for the conditions of Dar es Salaam. In addition to 1080p HD video recording with a 16 megapixel CMOS image processor it has high sensitivity GPS, accelerometer, and barometric altimeter. This means that the images captured contain additional information that is extremely useful in the mapping process.

While containing sophisticated technology, the camera is easy to use.

To capture images safely we do the following:

  • securely attach the camera with a mount kit (we used a bajaj but any vehicle can work, for example car, bike)
  • check the preview to ensure the horizon is in the correct position, this ensure the images are aligned
  • set the camera to 2s interval time lapse, this means an image is captured every two seconds. We also recommend turning on wide angle straightening.
  • beginning driving/riding the route to be captured for street view
  • stop and start as required, this may be necessary if there are specific sequence gaps or an section of the route you don’t want to capture
  • when the route has been completed, connect the camera to a computer and transfer the files. Review the images and delete any that are not relevant or poor quality
  • before uploading photos, it’s wise to check the images are sorted into the correct sequence
  • upload images using the web uploader

Trimble MX7

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Trimble MX7 Mobile Mapping Imaging system SOURCE: Ramani Huria

The Trimble MX7 Mobile Mapping Imaging system was attached to the top of the mapping bajaj. A highly sophisticated tool, the Trimble MX7 is equipped with six, 5 megapixel cameras and is able to capture 360-degree geo-referenced images at rapid speed. Rugged and lightweight design means it’s ideal for the streets of Dar es Salaam, which are often unpaved. As with the Garmin Virb, the Trimble MX7 collects additional detailed data including precise position using GSS and inertial referencing system. Advanced software allows for the data collected to be analysed and output in a number of useful ways including:

Mapillary is also working on scripts to allow for the direct importing of Trimble data onto their platform.

Mapillary app

With the free Mapillary app, anyone can use their smartphone to capture and add street view images from to the Mapillary website. To start, download the Mapillary app for your phone. Ensure you have GPS turned on and open the app. Log in with your Mapillary user name, if you don’t have one your will be able to create a new account.

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Mapillary app main screen SOURCE: Mapillary

To start capturing, select the middle green button. You will then see the main screen with the following options:

  1. Click setting to change the capture mode and to customize a range of options for capturing
  2. Use the tilt lines to orientate your photos in line with the horizon
  3. Press the button to star manual or automatic capture
  4. Status icons allow you to check GPS signal, photos taken, compass mode, and capture mode

Once you have captured your street view images you can upload, review, and interact with other Mapillary users.

For additional help, a guide can be found on the Mapillary website.

Learn more

Get in touch with us to learn more about how Ramani Huria conducts street view mapping with the Garmin Virb camera and Trimble MX7 Mobile Mapping Imaging system or how you can conduct street view mapping with the Mapillary app.