Niantic Plans To Create an AR Map With Help From Users

Niantic plans to utilise data from user smartphone cameras to compile an AR Map.

It seems the company behind Pokemon Go have no intention of abandoning augmented reality (AR), as shown by news that Niantic is planning to build a 3D map with the help of players and their smartphone cameras.

Niantic CEO John Hanke told Reuters that the company was engaged in an effort to create a ‘AR Map’ by collecting data captured by the smartphone cameras of users.

Pokémon Go Eggstravaganza 2018

“We want players to build out the game board they want to play on,” said Hanke. The mapping effort is expected to begin with public spaces such as parks and plazas in order to create and enrich a ‘New kind of social activity’ according to Hanke, though the CEO remained cagey about how the AR maps could be used in Niantic’s videogames.

Experts have speculated based upon existing technology used by Niantic that players would be able to turn on cameras to view animated characters in the surroundings as software mapped the area by identifying contours, surfaces and objects in the scene as a user players, most likely relying on AR toolkits such as ARCore or ARKit.

The data gathered could be compiled into a new game board, which could then be shared with nearby users, who could also contribute additional data, thus extending the game board further as more players join in the app.

The AR Map effort appears to be more than just a side project, despite the lack of indication as to how Niantic will integrate it into their core products. Hanke mentioned that third-party developers could obtain a license to use its AR map, which could become a key source of income for the company.

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AR mapping features are becoming an area to watch, with Google revealing its intention to add AR navigation to its Google Maps app in the near future by utilising a visual positioning system that also utilised smartphone cameras for positional mapping. Further news on these developments will be covered here on VRFocus.

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