18K+ Facades for 10K+ Places

Diana Shkolnikov - March 28, 2019

First, some big news! The StreetCred community in Austin hit our goal of 10,000 places late last night, activating both the Bitcoin bonus for everyone on the leaderboard, as well as a cool rainbow and StreetCred confetti graphic on the contest page.

With four more days to go, what should we collect? Of course there are many more places to create, but we’re also offering a special point bonus to create storefront facade imagery in specially marked areas of interest around Austin. If you create a facade in the following areas, you’ll receive six points instead of the usual three. Right now we have a lot of facade images, and we want to get as many as possible in the popular commercial districts:

Area of interest 1: E. 6th & E. Caesar Chavez
Area of interest 2: South Congress

What’s so special about these facades, and why are we collecting them? Well, we’ve been busy the last few months talking with a lot of potential StreetCred point-of-interest data consumers. This is a necessary step in designing a flexible place-data protocol, built to have utility and demand from day one.

As we anticipated, many data consumers have similar needs around POI data. Basic properties like name, location, and category are requirements for any data provider. What surprised us was the unique data needs of each potential customer, with everyone needing something slightly different on top of basic POIs.

Specialized imagery taken on the ground by users at a given location has been a big request for us. This is no surprise: with the focus on artificial intelligence and computer vision, a picture is worth more than a thousand words! Extracting usable data from pictures of menus or store hours on door signs has become much more accessible recently. There are many ways to process this data, but the limiting factor of actually gathering high-quality, usable images remains, especially if you want images connected to a specific, validated business. The StreetCred community is ideal to collect this kind of POI-focused imagery.

Collecting Useful Building Facade Imagery

The StreetCred protocol will allow data consumers to request specific types of data based on their needs: images, specialized locations, and specific attributes that we haven’t thought of yet. For MapAustin, participants are encouraged to share a specialized collection of images that shows different angles of a storefront. Usually these are added just after a POI is created, and then other participants stop by to add their own facades later. We set out to design an easy-to-understand way to add this imagery in the StreetCred app. As you can see below, participants are invited to take a photo straight ahead of the POI, another slightly to the left, and a third slightly to the right.

How to add a storefront facade for a POI.

Over the month of March, this resulted in a lot of facade imagery, especially in the last few days with the point bonus. Here’s a subset of the user-generated images for “Creatures Boutique“ on Congress Ave in Austin. Keep scrolling down the page to see all the different angles.

We’ll share more once MapAustin is complete next week, just like we did with MapNYC, but for now we leave you with a vivid collection of what our community is capturing in Austin. If you’re in town over the weekend, feel free to check out the app and add some facades!