A 5 minute guide to setting up your equipment for publishing off-road street-level imagery.
A little over 2 years ago, I discovered anyone could upload images to Google Street View.
Within days I had bought a GoPro Fusion, and started uploading.
As per usual, my technical background led me down a rabbit hole of how these images could be used, and so Trek View was born.
Before I get too sentimental, that camera setup became the Trek Pack v1, of which I’ve written extensively about:
- DIY Google Street View (1/5): How I (Trek View) Started Capturing 360-Degree Tours
- DIY Google Street View (2/5): My Basic Kit for Creating Outdoor Street View Tours
- DIY Google Street View (3/5): Preparing to Shoot 360-Degree Tours
- DIY Google Street View (4/5): Stitching 360-Degree Photos Using GoPro Fusion Studio
- DIY Google Street View (5/5): Publish 360-Degree Photos to Street View
- DIY Google Street View (6/5): Increasing the Battery Life of Your GoPro Fusion
If you own a GoPro Fusion, or want to buy a cheap second-hand one from Ebay, the above posts and our Trek Pack v1 instructions are still valid.
Though in the years that have passed, we’ve covered 1000’s of km’s, including up one of the Seven Summits, using the new GoPro MAX and v2 Trek Pack announced back in June 2020.
After writing a recent post for the Mapillary blog I realised that, unlike the posts above, I hadn’t detailed much about using the Trek Pack v2 (except for the detailed setup guide, so I thought I’d take the opportunity of this weeks blog post to show you just how easy it is to get your images and videos on the map in an easy to read format…
A GoPro MAX (other cameras can be retrofitted), monopod, a backpack with a sidepocket and a few bungee ties should be all you need. See the shopping list for exact Trek Pack components.
Note: We use the GoPro Seeker backpack, but this has since been replaced by the Daytripper Backpack (which does not come with the side mounted bungees). If anyone knows a good backpack with similar mounting points please let us know, we’re already starting to think about a v3 Pack.
Want to use a bicycle to capture? All you need is a helmet and GoPro mount, as detailed here.
At present we use photos (timelapse mode @ 2 second intervals) to create panoramic tours (versus video).
This is for a few reasons;
- Video is energy intensive and quickly drains the battery
- Video files are large and are hard to edit without professional equipment (and the required GoPro Player app only supports GPS on Mac)
- Video files produce lower quality images (.mp4 video = 8.5MP // .jpg photo = 16.6 megapixels)
- And mainly, we rarely travel fast enough to really need more then 1 frame every 2 seconds
Note: The Map the Paths Uploader (mentioned in step 3) will still work with video files should you go with this approach.
You can use the Uploader to:
- remove all the frames you don’t want (many times I’ve left the camera running whilst nipping for a pee in some bushes on a hike… people don’t want to see that!).
- add a nadir to the base of your 360 images to show off a logo or your company name.
- then upload to Map the Paths, Mapillary, Google Street View, and Strava (GPS track only)
- plus a whole host of other features…
Sneak peak: We’re also working on an integration with KartaView (formerly OpenStreetCam). Watch out for an announcement soon!
It usually takes about 72 hours for your imagery to appear online. Times vary by app (Google Street View can occasionally be very slow to publish).
You’ll be able to track the publishing status on the main dashboard of the Uploader.
Whilst you wait, take a look in the local MTP directory. You’ll find the following files that will prove useful when working with the imagery in the future:
- the original photos (or extracted photos from the video)
- the modified photos (e.g. when nadir has been added)
- the uploaded Google Street View video (only if Google Street View selected)
- the GPX track of your tour
I can’t wait to see what you shoot this summer (or winter)!