Is anyone using a dashboard camcorder?

Is anyone using a dashboard camcorder to collecting information that can be used to edit Openstreetmap? If you are what camcorder are you using and how well does it work?

I have a Contour GPS - it works well. I use it to perform driving surveys without being distracted; just turn it on and start driving.

But I think the latest JOSM video plugins would allow use of a much less expensive conventional camera video or smarthphone, synchronized to the clock. Perhaps the biggest challenge is coming up with a solid mount.

I use a combination of a blackbox dvr with gps logger, and a sat nav.
So this gives me a video and 2 gps traces to review.

I spell the street name as I drive so it’s recorded on the dvr.

I also have a SONY digital camera with built-in gps for POI, but the accuracy is a bit questionable. Some photo co-ordinates are spot on, but many are out by 30 or more metres (depending on how long I wait for a good signal).

Is the picture on ether of these clear enough to be able to see house numbers on roadside mailboxes or at least clear enough to be able to see speed limit signs clearly?

peterpuk which blackbox dvr do you have?

MikeN how well does your Contour GPS work when it’s starting to get dark or even at night? I’m just wondering because if I have to spend $300 to $400 it needs to be worth it.

Ram mount does have mounts for cameras and camcorders However, I do not have a camcorder and I still need to hack my digital camera so that it can record files bigger than one GB.

The Contour GPS does not do well as it gets dark - definitely would not be useful for night work. The one big advantage to me is that it does double duty as a general purpose sports cam.

A major problem with video facing into the sun at the beginning or end of the day is severely reduced visibility. That problem might happen with any camera. I plan a route and time to minimize this, or prefer overcast days.

When driving, I use it to get major POIs, speed limits, and most street signs on one side of the road. Speed limit signs are clearly seen and would likely work with the speed limit sign detection algorithms, although I haven’t tried it.

It does well with mailbox housenumbers when mounted on a bike handlebar. However, there was one case where house numbers were in small script and in a non-contrasting color - the run was unusable for house numbers. I haven’t tried the windshield mount for housenumbers.

It is not able to read numbers on houses when the house is set back from the street or to read street signs from across the street.

The vehicle blackbox is a GD2708 and cost me about $180 AUD a couple of years ago. It does not sound like it is suitable for the level of clarity you need.

You can see the video quality on youtube (not good for street signs, but reasonable for speed and large signs). Forget night time unless your just recording your accident :slight_smile:
I use the video to check road details such as paved/unpaved, and position of speed limit changes, etc.

Also the GPS data is saved in log files, but I had to write a bit of software to format it to a usable csv for mapping (eg format the Lon Lat for Australia).
A sample record in the log is:
2012/08/04 16:25:06 G-Sensor( 0.13, 0.56,-0.75) S34 49.123 E138 40.306 26km/h

The sat nav is an old Voxson which works great for route logging. But I had to add an external antenna to get consistantly good results.
The ‘destinator’ file it produces converts nicely to gpx with the GPSBabel software.
The great thing about the old sat nav is that the map is 3 years old so I know I’m adding new roads :slight_smile:

But the truth is I didn’t buy these for mapping. They just happen to work well enough to allow me an easy way to collect data for mapping.

Contour GPS works for me as well