Examining Mapillary Views in ArcGIS Online

03-24-2017 07:02 AM
Esri Notable Contributor
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As I wrote about a year ago, Mapillary is a tool that allows anyone to create their own street level photographs, map them, and share them via web GIS technology.  The idea behind Mapillary is a simple but powerful one:  Take photos of a place of interest as you walk along using the Mapillary mobile app and upload photos along the way.  They will be combined into a street level photo view.  Then, explore your places and those from thousands of other users around the world. Mapillary is part of the rapidly growing crowdsourcing citizen science movement, which seeks to generate “volunteered geographic information” content from ordinary citizens.  Mapillary is therefore more than a set of tools–it is a community, with its own MeetUps and ambassadors, and it is an Esri partner. I encourage educators to use Mapillary to generate field trip data with your students.

Recently, I wanted to extend what I have been doing with Mapillary.  I went for a hike in the chaparral biome in California and recorded my hike that resulted in over 700 images and a track that anyone now can use to take this hike "virtually", with the ability to see to the right, left, straight ahead, and sometimes, behind me as I saw it on that beautiful winter's day.

My Mapillary Track in the Chaparral Biome in the Mapillary map interface

I wanted to bring my Mapillary track into ArcGIS Online, so I could easily work with it in a variety of ways and in combination with other maps and tools in ArcGIS Online.  To do this, first, I zoomed in to the area on the Mapillary website's map that contained my own Mapillary track.  Then, I filtered on just my username in Mapillary so I would not download other people's tracks.  Then, I clicked "Download Data" under the Advanced Options in Photo Settings to download the GPS track as a GeoJSON file.  I then used the Add button in a new map in ArcGIS Online and my Mapillary track is now in that platform, visible here and shown below.  Now I can use it just like any other layer in ArcGIS Online!

Mapillary Track in ArcGIS Online

Other people are doing innovative things in ArcGIS Online with Mapillary tracks and photographs.  For example, this story map shows 7 remote places explored by the Mapillary community, including Tonga, Antarctica, and Svalbard, Norway, and this story map shows crowdsourced photos taken at a selected number of US National Parks.  The intriguing thing about each of these is that just as you can navigate in Google Street View or on Mapillary across the landscape using the photographs, you can do the same thing with these story maps.  In other words, the photos are not "static." 

Give Mapillary with ArcGIS a try!

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About the Author
I believe that spatial thinking can transform education and society through the application of Geographic Information Systems for instruction, research, administration, and policy. I hold 3 degrees in Geography, have served at NOAA, the US Census Bureau, and USGS as a cartographer and geographer, and teach a variety of F2F (Face to Face) (including T3G) and online courses. I have authored a variety of books and textbooks about the environment, STEM, GIS, and education. These include "Interpreting Our World", "Essentials of the Environment", "Tribal GIS", "The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data", "International Perspectives on Teaching and Learning with GIS In Secondary Education", "Spatial Mathematics" and others. I write for 2 blogs, 2 monthly podcasts, and a variety of journals, and have created over 5,000 videos on the Our Earth YouTube channel. Yet, as time passes, the more I realize my own limitations and that this is a lifelong learning endeavor and thus I actively seek mentors and collaborators.