Question: Has anyone tried a dashboard camera for timelapse or aerial mapping?

warren is asking a question about balloon-mapping
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by warren | September 06, 2016 15:13 | #13424

Hi, all -- I recently read a review of dashboard cameras, and they're really emerging as a mainstream product category in the US. These are the cameras which automatically start running on your dashboard whenever you start up your car, and are designed to be compact, reliable, and extremely high-capacity.

They're not super high resolution, but some are quite light (although the #mobius Action Cam is ~1.34oz) and have built-in GPS. Some seem to have timelapse capabilities.

I looked around on Amazon and found a couple which are good resolution, weight, and cost:

Product Price Resolution Weight
Black Box B40-C $74 1080P 2.1 ounces
Arpenkin Mini 0805 $64.50 1296P 9 ounces

Has anyone tried using a dashboard camera for #aerial-mapping, #trap-cam or #timelapse work?

3 Comments does excellent gadget reviews and the guy loves dashcams. He has lots of reviews of dashcams including his favorite the DDPai M6+. The first video on that page does a good job explaining what dashcams can do.

I think most dashcams are intended to run on USB power (from the car adapter). The Techmoan guy has a big battery pack in his car so the camera continues to record timelapse photos when he is parked (for security). This power requirement limits the applicability of many dashcams for aerial or remote location use.

Most dashcams have very wide angle lenses which is good for many applications but maybe not so good for others (getting good resolution on a water depth gauge or secchi disk unless it is very close to the camera).

The DDPai M6+ has a "parking mode" which takes timelapse photos (one photo per second) until it hears a sound and then records a three minute video, and then resumes timelapse recording. This could be a ready-to-go solution for certain monitoring like the blasting that @bkleist was describing.


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dan969 awards a barnstar to warren for their awesome contribution!

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I tried using a dashcam for something similar. I had one in old car, but didn't need it in my new car (which has a backup cam), so all of a sudden I had a spare cam. I wanted to see it up do to some time-lapse work around my home, but ultimately I wasn't able to use it for all the reasons you'd expect -- it's a pain to mount, the resolution isn't as high as other options, there is no wifi connection, the software controls are limited, etc. I ended up using a $20 wyze cam (any brand would work) and it's been doing the job fine.

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