Mapillary working on crowdsourced mapping via smartphone photos

A startup called Mapillary wants to put smartphone users to work enhancing the world's view of streets and other parts of the earth that are not currently viewable on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Street View.

Mapillary intends to create a crowdsourced, photographic map of compiled photographs taken by smartphones from all corners of the earth. Company founders Jan Erik Solem and Johan Gyllenspetz contend the images could be used by hikers, house hunters and Airbnb users, and Mapillary intends to eventually license the data collected to companies, according to an article in MIT Technology Review.

The company released an app for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS in November and Google Android in January. A few hundred users have reportedly submitted some 100,000 photos so far.

Pressing a virtual shutter button in the app prompts the smartphone to snap a photo every two seconds until the user stops it. Collected images can be uploaded to Mapillary over Wi-Fi. Based upon a photo's GPS tag, Mapillary searches for other photos taken within a radius of some 100 meters, compares and matches them, and then maps them.

Mapillary's approach rides a burgeoning trend for crowdsourced map content that might be used for a variety of location-based services. During June 2013, Google confirmed its takeover of Waze, a social app that lets users improve their driving experience through crowdsourced traffic reports and turn-by-turn GPS navigation.

In late 2013, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley touted a location-fixing method that relies upon images from a mobile device's camera to deduce the device's location and orientation. The indoor location-fixing method matches photos taken by a mobile device's camera with a database of panoramic imagery of a building's interior.

For more:                                                                   
- see this MIT Technology Review article

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The 7 app developer moments that mattered in 2013
UC Berkeley pursues indoor positioning via smartphone photos
Developers ponder Waze's future with Google behind the wheel

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