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Mapillary - Making Better Mapping Solutions

Mapillary, a mapping solutions company
  • Mapillary is a Swedish company. It provides street-level images and maps. Its goal is to improve navigation and mapping services. It does this by using real-time and user-contributed data.
  • Mapillary uses an open-collaborative approach to show current streets and traffic signs in a complete way.
  • The company collaborates with various institutions and platforms like OpenStreetMap and ArcGIS to enhance its offerings.

Imagine this: It's pouring rain and you're hurrying home on the outskirts of the city. Your Google map app doesn't warn you about a fallen tree blocking the road.

Sounds pretty hectic, doesn't it? You might need to make a U-turn and "recalculate" your route, as the voice from Google Maps would advise. What if I informed you that we will likely resolve this issue in the next few years?

We rely heavily on digital maps and navigation. As a result, we often neglect the use of traditional street maps found in city books.

However, let's return to the same example. How can Google Maps or any other navigation app assist you in avoiding situations that require a change in your route? Only when it has the data of the most recent situations.

Mapping companies are having a hard time accurately representing city streets due to a lack of data and contributions. This is where Mapillary comes into play.

What is Mapillary all about?

Mapillary is a company that provides street-level imagery and mapping across the globe. I have a background in Urban Design. I always want to learn mapping because it helps me communicate with users in a simpler way.

Mapillary provides users with data on parking signs, traffic signals, etc. that are difficult to understand when you're in a hurry. Not just that, it proposes so many other features that have made me overwhelmed.

As I said above, Mapillary provides street views. However, one might argue that Google Earth offers the same features. So, how does it stand as a competitor? Google Earth provides satellite images based on a year-to-year basis, not a second-to-second.

Satellites cannot show narrow streets in crowded cities, so this feature is missing in the app. Thus, the provider here is a satellite. Mapillary allows users to contribute data through images and videos, providing an opportunity for everyone to participate.

Basically, the provider here is a satellite and the people of the world. This brings to me their business model which is an “open-collaborative model” as they say. Before moving on, let's get to know about the individuals referred to as “they”.

Founders of Mapillary

Jan Erik Solem, Johan Gyllenspetz, and Peter Neubauer established the firm in Sweden in 2013.

Solem is a computer vision expert and entrepreneur, along with being a trained mathematician quotes,

Even Apple, a huge company, couldn't gather all the data it required. Map companies hold a lot of data but they hold it very close. You can buy the map but not the data.”

Solem and his co-founders decided to create a business. This business provides a lot of mapping data. The focus is on street-level images.

Their company's motto and model allowed them to work with different institutions, benefiting all parties involved, including the consumer.


The collaborative business model Mapillary offers the following features, or should I say, the ones that got me overwhelmed?

  • Street Image Hosting
  • Traffic Sign Data Set
  • ArcGIS Integration
  • OpenStreetMap
  • HERE Map Creator
  • Forum
  • OpenSfM

S1E1 - 3 Steps and you are into the game

Street Image Hosting

Step 1: HOST



Users can capture images using various devices like smartphones, cameras, and dashcams. Users can view these images on the Mapillary platform, enabling them to explore different perspectives.

The feature would automatically blur private information such as number plates and human faces using modern time technology. After taking and uploading pictures, the app automatically extracts data and makes 3D views.

I would absolutely give Brownie points for allowing free cloud access in order to share the street-level imagery.

S1E2 - Time to upgrade and save time

Traffic Sign Data Set

Mapillary platform has 40+ map features automatically detected in images with their positions. There are over 1,500 classes of Traffic Signs for more details.

You also get simple before and after views, which I found difficult on the Google Earth platform.

S1E3 - The liberty to edit

ArcGIS Integration

ArcGIS is a geographic information system (GIS) software suite developed by Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute). It provides a comprehensive platform for managing, analyzing, and visualizing geographic data.

GIS uses street-level imagery and computer vision. This allows users to edit and upload data. As a result, the application can extract information. If you want to learn more about it, you can have a look at their Case Studies.

S1E4 - One for the community


OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a project where people work together to make a free and changeable map of the whole world. They launched it in 2004 and it has since grown into a global community-driven initiative.

Mapillary has partnered with this platform to explore new opportunities. These opportunities include Power Mapping in Sierra Leone, Navigation in Unmapped Regions, and Open Maps for Serbia.

If you want more information, you can visit

S1E5 - Hear out the HERE Maps


This is a learning platform where users can see how different communities use the app to improve maps for driverless cars. It helps make the idea of driverless cars a reality.

S1E6 - Flaunt your analytics


Forum is the online platform for its users to contribute and push the collaborative business model of Mapillary. It has various divisions like - Web Notifications, Mobile Apps, Contributing and Equipment, Imagery data integrations, local community groups, and many more.

I also wish to showcase my skills in urban design mapping because you never know who will see your data.

S1E7 - One for the tech geeks


It is an open-source Structure from Motion library that lets you build 3D models from images. Their coding scripts will enable the user to actually investigate and analyze this whole process. One can find details in their workbook through this link.

These 7 show episodes will change and have a new season. Users can experience detailed and real-time moments, from minutes to seconds, in just one day.

Their open-source strategy undoubtedly works in order to maintain transparency with the users and institutional collaborators. It may seem unbelievable, but no one loses in this show! Still, it's worth watching, isn't it?

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Edited by Shruti Thapa