When Google left them stranded, a Swedish mapping startup stepped in

mapillary faroe islands stock photo
When the Faroese Tourist Board strapped a 360-degree camera to the back of a sheep to draw interest to the Faroe Islands, it was hoping their Sheep View video would attract the real-life Google Street View. While the video was viewed nearly a half million times, Google’s cars didn’t budge. So Swedish mapping startup Mapillary answered the call, sending a team to the Faroe Islands to map both roads and areas not accessible by vehicle with off-the-shelf camera gear.

The team consisted of chief technical officer Peter Neubauer and his son, Oskar, who were both impressed with the Sheep View video. “That’s exactly the Mapillary spirit!” Neubauer wrote in a blog post. They changed their holiday travel plans in order to visit the Faroe Islands, and brought a photo-mapping kit with them.

Mapillary-Faroe-Islands-2The centerpiece of the rig was the rather adorable Giroptic 360-degree camera, secured to the roof of a car with standard GoPro suction cup mounts and a liberal helping of duct tape. Two Garmin VIRB XE action cameras played a supporting role, and the team even used their phones to fill in when necessary.

“After trying a few different configurations, we finally settled on a setup where we pointed one action camera forward and one to the side, and drove all streets back and forth, since this is what you have to do on the Faroe Islands anyway,” Neubauer explained. They used a similar setup attached to a handheld pole to map off-road areas.

After coming back from each day of driving and walking the islands, the team went to the Torshavn public library — which had the fasted internet on the islands — to upload the images for Mapillary to process. They spent five in total, and significantly increased photo-mapping coverage on the Faroe Islands.


While Mapillary took it upon itself to map the Faroe Islands, the company’s larger goal is to encourage people to do their own photo mapping. It is looking to crowdsourcing to solve the problems that are too small for Google, such as mapping remote, sparsely populated locations. It is also great for anyone who wants to add Street View-style maps in areas where there are no streets, such as hiking trails. If you’d like to try your own hand at photo-mapping, head over to Mapillary to sign up. An iOS or Android phone is all you need to get started.


Alpha Female: Sony awards five women grants to support artisan diversity

Women can face several challenges in launching a photography career -- Sony's latest initiative aims to help propel women in the industry forward. Sony recently announced the winners of the Alpha Female program.

How to take great photos with the Pixel 3, the best camera phone around

You’ve scored yourself a new Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, and you want to take advantage of that incredible camera. We’ve got everything you need to know right here about how to snap the best photos with your Pixel 3.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Smart Home

Here's our comparison of the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View

Looking for the right smart display? We're comparing the Lenovo Smart Display vs. JBL Link View, two excellent smart displays that are made for different audiences. Here's what you need to know about both displays and what they do.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Product Review

Fewer pixels, better camera? The Nikon Z6 shows the beauty of restraint

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Social Media

Build a wish list and shop videos with Instagram’s latest shopping update

Eyeing a product on Instagram? Now there are more ways to shop from the social network. Instagram just rolled out options to save products in a collection as users can also now shop from videos.

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Product Review

With outstanding image quality, the ‘basic’ Sony A7 III excels in every way

Replacing the four-year-old A7 II as the new entry-level model in Sony's full-frame line, the A7 III is an impressively capable camera that gives more expensive models a run for their money.
Social Media

Addicted to Instagram? Its new ‘activity dashboard’ is here to help

Ever get that nagging feeling you're spending too much time on Instagram? Well, a new "activity dashboard" has a bunch of features designed to help you better control how you use the addictive photo-sharing app.

Photography news: Best spot for fall photos, new firmware from Fuji and Nikon

Where's the best spot to take fall photos? Michigan, according to social media and a Nikon contest. The results and more in this week's photography news, including significant firmware updates for the Fujifilm X-T3, X-H1, and GFX 50S.
Emerging Tech

DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs Mavic 2 Zoom: What’s the real difference?

DJI's Mavic 2 series drones are ready to fly -- but which one is right for you? The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are nearly identical save for their cameras. Here's what you need to know about these powerful new UAVs.