Contributing to either mapilary or OpenStreetCam without smartphone

I’d like to know if it is possible to contribute to either mapilary or OpenStreetCam without any smartphone. Apparently the straightforward way to contribute is to use the smartphone application for this purpose, but I don’t have any smartphone.

I do however have a camera with GPS trace recording.

This certainly used to be possible with Mapillary. They used to publish python scripts to prepare the data. However, I think they changed their API so that may no longer be possible, but this page suggests that you can still do it:

(I now have a smart phone with enough umph to take Mapillary sequences).

See the Mapillary forum at

I am sure that there is a topic about your aim to upload pictures manually including a geo position.

This is what I did. I have a sequence of camera photos with gps info included using geotagger (gpx files obtained from smartphone). After logging onto mapillary page, just upload the whole collection of photos. Mapillary will ask for some details prior uploading such as whether to load as a sequence, camera heading angle etc. Then upload. Takes quite a while if you have 2-300 pics, depending on file size, bandwidth and their server.

OK thanks for your answers.

In case I have to get a smartphone anyway (I think sooner or later I’ll eventually be obliged to…) is there a specific model more suitable or recommanded for Mapilary, OpenStreetCam and/or OpenStreetMap ?

Two years ago I bought the cheapest available (around GBP 90) meeting the following criteria:

  • Android version > 5.0 (this was 2 years ago, so likely you need to up that version)
  • MicroSD card slot. You’ll generate a lot of data, so you DONT want it fouling up phone storage
  • Good Battert life. My first smart phone just didnt have the battery oomph to handle running the GPS for more than about an hour. I think you want something in the order of 2800 mAh.
  • Memory needs to be a decent size, as does phone storage (all those Google apps take up acres of unnecessary space), but I don’t have a figure off the top of my head.

Obviously requires GPS & Camera(s).

Most of the OSM apps can me moved to the SD card, but updates tend to move them back to in-phone storage.

These will tend to pan out to one of the Chinese models, often badge labelled by, and tied to, a given network operator.


In addition, don’t count on the images taken by phone to be high quality. Even on note 2 which has pretty nice camera, any images becomes quickly blurry if you zoomed in even a bit.

If you want long battery life, perhaps the early asus max series (5000mAh) can be bought cheap. But camera quality is so-so.

So basically this means pictures will be blurry no matter what - unless I take the trouble to do everything with a real camera. The problem is; it has GPS logging (although I am still unsure how to use it); but as far as I can tell no way to take automatically pictures every 2 seconds it’s either full 30FPS film or a single shot (or maybe I missed a feature).

Some pictures on mapilary and OpenStreetCam are definitely blurry, but some others are surprisingly OK.

If you are getting blurry images, it is probably because the autofocus is failing to find the right distance. You should consider the Open Camera application, as, with a suitable device (needs the Android camera2 API and support for manual focus), you can focus manually. The ability to do so will, however, be limited by the screen resolution, so you might not get a better effective resolution than that unless you take some test shots and work out the exact best setting.

Assuming the camera is properly calibrated, setting focus to infinity will probably be best. Don’t use zoom, as zoom on phones is digital and won’t do better than taking at the highest available resolution.

Like hadw posted, I used the opencamera app. There is an option in there to do the following:

  • set focus to infinity
  • set mode to sports (higher shutter equivalent to prevent movement blur)
  • set snap interval to 1s (or more)
  • set to snap picture only if gps position is known and locked.
  • set geotagging parameters

You do have upload manually though (and edit out redundant pics etc). Mapillary app has a few more bells and whistles.