The Ordnance Survey augmented reality (OS) Maps app will allow users to see signs identifying UK landmarks in the area they’re looking at through their phone or tablet’s camera view.
Augmented Reality Maps
The new version of the OS Maps app uses ‘augmented reality’ which is the technology that can allow the real-world view to have other computer-generated or extracted real-world sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data superimposed on it.
The augmented reality aspect is an update to the current app which uses GPS to show users exactly where they are, records their route, and offers them the option to choose a map type from standard overview map, 1: 50k (Landranger), 1: 25k (Explorer) or aerial imagery.
No Phone Signal Needed
Even though the new augmented reality app works on smart phones, it does not need a phone signal, and is, therefore, practical for use in remote places. If users do operate with a data connection, pressing on a label gives the users additional local area information with routes, places to stay and local images from GetOutside.
Using Phones For Navigation
The app is thought to be particularly useful and convenient because many people now use their smart-phones for navigation, and it is part of an app that operates on the user’s existing mobile device.
Where Can You Use It?
The new app is able to operate in 200,000 locations throughout the UK.
The kinds of geographical features that the app displays labels and useful text information about include hills and mountains, lakes, coastal features, woodland, and transport hubs.
The app addresses the challenge posed by small phone screen sizes by showing what is on the horizon.
Safer With Paper?
Despite the convenience and practicality of the app, the Digital Product Manager at Ordnance Survey has been quick to point out that, for safety reasons, it is still recommended that people carry a paper map when outside (because they don’t rely on batteries).
Where To Buy?
The app is free to subscribers of OS Maps (exclusively for Premium Users). For non-subscribers, it can be purchased from the OS online shop for £19.99 and then downloaded from Apple iTunes or Google Play.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Augmented reality ideas such as this could provide all kinds of opportunities for businesses involved in tourism and tours e.g. cities, holiday / historic / tourist locations, travel and tour companies, galleries). Other opportunities could be in design e.g. allowing consumers to view how a retailer's virtual furniture looks in their room before they buy.
Augmented reality could also provide business opportunities in education and teaching and anywhere that information about culture and the environment is needed in a fast, convenient and portable form (handheld AR equipment).
There are also military applications for AR such as the Heads-Up Display (HUD) used by ground troops, and there are medical uses e.g. to practice surgery in a controlled environment.
Businesses may also be able to use AR for advertising and promotional purposes e.g. apps designed to display information about (and offers relating to) restaurants, shops, and other businesses in the local area of a user.
In short, we are still at the beginning of the AR revolution, and the technology offers businesses and other organisations opportunities that are limited only by the imagination.