Google Street View is a wondrous thing, no question, but it’s a bit limited in some ways. For example it really only focuses on what’s happening in the immediate area of a main street. Sure there are more walking views being done, but it’s still got lots of gaps, especially in less developed areas and countries. Now there’s a new alternative which lets the ‘crowd‘ contribute their own photos using a special app.
Mapillary is a neat new app and service from a Swedish team which lets anyone with a smartphone or tablet automatically capture street view images on their travels. These images are then automatically uploaded, improved and then attached to the corresponding location on Open Street Maps. It’s really clever.
Of course you’re reliant on the skill of the photographer and the quality of their camera, but at least there’s now an alternative to Google for places where the little camera car won’t travel. The other great thing about this system is the fact that it can be used to composed timeline locations, so for example you could track the seasons in a particular area, and keep a nice pictorial record as they change.
The app (iOS or Android) are very simple to use, and as long as you follow the instructions you should get a great result. There are some great examples of the kind of things you can do with your own street view on this page, including mapping out bus routes or walking paths, and of course everything is shareable. This app should definitely be heavily used, because it’s very cool. Nice.