Move over, Google – Mapillary aims to transform the tech giant’s mapping tool.
Since its launch in 2007, Google street view has mapped over 5 million miles worth of panoramic views of the world’s cities and rural areas. A new platform aims to increase this number and offer a way of revealing the remaining places that have missed the mark.
New startup Mapillary is a platform that crowdsources street view photos by using people’s smartphones, documenting places that have previously remained unmapped. Cofounders Jan Erik Solem and Johan Gyllenspetz are asking contributors to collect images of these unmapped places while they walk, bike or drive, and to upload them to the service as soon as they get home.
The free photographic map tool is aimed primarily at smartphone users who can upload their images directly. This means that if contributors provide images at a more frequent rate than Google or other street-level mapping services can provide themselves, the end result will be more representative of how the houses, bars or restaurants look right now, ensuring the service is as up to date as possible.
Mapillary can be used for more than just houses and restaurants however, Solem and Gyllenspetz are encouraging users to think outside the box a little and document everything from a fully tracked nature hike to Airbnb users all over the world, which will create a more opulent and well rounded service, and give users further incentives to choose this tool before any other.
Solem and Gyllenspetz explain on their blog,
We want to collect street view and map photos and make them available for users and developers because we believe that in order to extend the coverage and improve the freshness and level of detail of today’s street view and map photos, we need to move from a top-down model (cars with a rig on the roof) to a bottom-up model where users contribute. Users are good at deciding what is important and useful to photograph. Local knowledge is hard to beat.
The service is now available via the iPhone app and Android app and online here.