Friday, November 29, 2019

Hyperlapse of London

Video driving, walking or cycling directions is one of those ideas which sounds fantastic in principle and often looks amazing and engaging in practice. However it is also one of those amazing ideas which no-one has been able to develop into a feasible business. Maybe HyperlapseMap will be the exception to the rule.

HyperlapseMap allows you to explore London on an interactive map of video routes. Click on the blue markers on the map and you can view a hyperlapse video of the route (shown on the map by a blue line). As the video plays you can use the arrow keys to change directions. Press left or right and at the next junction the video will change to show the new selected route.

Perhaps the most popular video map I know of was the now defunct Cyclodeo. Cyclodeo used videos synchronized with an interactive map in order to allow cyclists to preview cycling routes across the world. In the end Cyclodeo had video coverage in a number of major global cities. However the fact that the website has now dived into the dead-pool suggests that it didn't generate enough users to become a viable concern. Although Cyclodeo is now gone you can still view the thousands of cycling routes captured on video on the Cyclodeo YouTube channel.

While a 'Street View' type video map has never yet managed to capture the public's imagination Mapillary has proved that there is a viable business in capturing and mapping street level imagery around the world. I suspect that Mapillary's success has been due in large part to its success in crowdsourcing that street level imagery.

If HyperlapseMap is to be as successful as Mapillary then it also needs to be successful in attracting crowdsourced videos. At the moment HyperlapseMap says you can submit videos shot on a stabilized camera by uploading the video to YouTube and drawing the route on a Google Map. You then just need to send a link to the video and map to HyperlapseMap. Currently that process seems to have too many barriers for users. For crowdsourcing to really take off I suspect HyperlapseMap needs to develop a simple system where users can upload videos to Hyperlapse itself and draw the outline of the route submitted on an interactive map.

I really hope HyperlapseMap succeeds. These hyped-up videos of London are a great way to explore the city in double quick time and from anywhere in the world. It would be fantastic to be able to explore other cities around the world on HyperlapseMap if it can successfully generate user submitted crowdsourced content.

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