Augmented Reality Maps

Augmented Reality Maps

We completed a mobile app for Concentrix to help employee’s relocate to Belfast a while back, and it was the first time we tested the concept of pulling GPS data form a CMS to create a projection system that could overlay onto a phones camera, so anyone could point their camera in a direction and see a location’s distance, direction, estimated walking time etc.

The app was something I designed and programmed which was a concept at the time, but now we have integrated a Cordova plugin to show data in this form, which is really suited to urban street landscapes. The system is also ideal for outdoor locations that have no roads, tracks or paths marked, e.g. forest parks, rural attractions etc.

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We tested users with traditional maps and others with the augmented reality version and the vast majority of people preferred using the camera based system. Augmented Reality glasses  are a few years away yet… but we think leveraging the current tech on mobile devices (namely digital compass, gyro and accelerometer) can create basic visual interpretations of the hidden digital landscape around us and gives us a good indication of future possibilities. Also there is the ability to add in non-static data, such as a friends location, so you can find someone at a busy festival, or track someone on an outdoor excursion for health and safety monitoring. From a gamification perspective you could add killer zombies chasing you!

Mixed reality for us is much more tangible and useful compared to virtual reality, as we can experience multiple realities simultaneously and use concepts like these in the real world to solve real problems.

We also developed a Unity plugin and tested out the overlay on a Meta One headset while we attended their workshop in Beacon Hill, Boston, home of the famous Cheers bar.

 

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The headset had no digital compass (although we had been told it had! Digital magnetometers are fundamental to augmented reality maps) but we were able to use the gyroscope to prototype the concept. The Field if View (FOV) was quite disappointing (about 45%) and the headset was tethered to a PC, but it did give us a glimpse into what was possible in the future if we hooked into a holographic projection system.

 

 

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