We’ve just launched the new augmented reality (AR) layer in our OS Maps app which uses your phone’s camera view to display over 200,000 locations across Great Britain. You can identify hills, lakes, settlements, transport hubs and woodland around you and on the horizon. It’s the first time we’ve made AR widely available, but not the first time we’ve used AR. Our Computer Scientist, Layla Gordon, leads the team that experiments with geospatial data and new technologies to create proof of concepts that are shared with partners. Find out about Layla’s work on OS Maps, and the AR projects that came before it.
It’s fantastic to see the OS Maps app AR layer released and being used. You simply point the camera of your Android or iOS device at the landscape and, using GPS and the compass, accurate points of interest that sit in that view will be highlighted.
Taking a look behind the scenes, I created it using Apple iOS Core Location and Core Motion framework. The app accesses the readings from Gyroscope and Accelorometer, to give the accuracy we need. It calls on the OS Placenames API to retrieve the OS populated places, which delivers points of interest within a set radius based on position and orientation. We’ve then set rules within the app to identify which points of interest to prioritise – as the screen could get cluttered with too many points.
If you haven’t tried it yet, take a look at https://www.os.uk/getoutside/AR. But while this is the first AR experience I’ve created which made it to public release, I’ve been working on AR projects for a couple of years.
By Tim Newman, Consumer Product Manager
For over a decade, OS has been active in the field of augmented reality – proving the concept back in 2006 with a thought-leading paper on Mobile Augmented Reality, and more recently prototyping 3D maps of Mars, and creating a navigation app for a Shoreditch basement. We’re now really excited to be using this augmented reality technology to introduce a new feature for OS Maps.
The recently released AR feature will help users learn about their surroundings by labelling and categorising the features around them, finally overcoming the big limitation of maps on mobile: the small screen. Have you ever looked out over a stunning vista and found yourself struggling to identify a hill or work out how far it was to the town below you? Now you can simply hold up your smartphone to find out what you’re looking at and how far away it is. If a place catches your interest, just tap on the label to find out more about it.
This fun and informative new feature was made possible by combining sensor data from the phone with OS data of over 200,000 hills, mountains, coastal features, lakes, settlements, transport hubs and areas of woodland. As a company of data experts, it’s fantastically rewarding to make use of our data to help make the outdoors more enjoyable, accessible and safe. This is what motivates the team and, combined with the great feedback we get from users, drives us to continue improving OS Maps – so keep your eyes peeled for the next bunch of features we’re working on to make it easier than ever to plan your time outdoors. There’s never been a better time to open up OS Maps and GetOutside!
To find out more about AR head to https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/getoutside/ar/.
Stay tuned to the blog to learn from Layla Gordon in the tech labs team about how it works and the exciting projects that she’s developing with augmented reality.
At our recent GeoTech Meetup at the Geovation Hub the hot topic of conversation was augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), and how mashing these with geospatial data unlocks the potential for some pretty exciting innovations in the near future.
OS Labs engineer, Layla Gordon, led the event at the Hub, and here she explains some of her adventures with AR…
Our first foray into the virtual spaces goes back to May 2015 where OS was the platinum sponsor of an event called Digital Shoreditch in London. The venue is a Victorian basement with lots of corridors and rooms and in previous years visitors had trouble navigating within the building and finding the exhibitions they wanted to see.
Have you heard of Microsoft HoloLens? No, nor me. However, I was lucky enough to spend some time with one of our technology lab engineers Layla Gordon to find out more.
While VR (virtual reality) headsets and AR (augmented reality) apps were once pioneering, Microsoft HoloLens utilises an even more cutting-edge mixed reality technology.
VR headsets have been the latest visualisation trend and are mostly well known for their popularity in the gaming industry. As I am sure many of you know, VR headsets simulate entirely virtual worlds and require both a console and controller. The product has no association with reality and as such, creates an immersive experience for the user.
Guest blog by the GEO Business team
Are you working at the cutting edge of geospatial developments? Are geospatial solutions having a major impact on the way you work now and in the future? If so, we would love to hear from you…
The GEO Business team, who organise the annual geospatial show held in London, UK are seeking revolutionary and thought provoking abstracts for a newly launched seminar programme that truly demonstrates the remarkable impact geospatial technologies and solutions are having on our global environment. The deadline to submit an abstract is 29 January 2018.
The brand new seminar programme will run alongside an exhibition of 200+ international exhibitors, a programme of commercial workshops, a strategic senior level conference and a variety of networking opportunities. The next show will take place from 22 – 23 May 2018 at the Business Design Centre in London, UK.
With 13 exhibition halls in 8 venues across Las Vegas, CES provides a showcase for 6,000+ companies and 1,000 start-ups to demonstrate their future product lines and technology. It is the biggest consumer electronics show in the US, attracting more than 180,000 business visitors from around the world over four days. It is a place to generate new business, partnerships and funding, and OS’ John Cartledge was there to look at location opportunities in tech.
This year’s show seemingly covered everything in technology. From phones and accessories, as you’d expect, to augmented and virtual reality, to amazing glimpses of the future with brain to machine interfaces and driverless car technologies, smart city services, sensor tech, robotics and personal assistants, internet of things devices and everything else you could possibly imagine.
5G and the various broadband technologies that connect everything also played a major role, but it was the artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics that cut across everything.
Over the past months, the OS Labs team has been busy developing a GIS based educational game experience using the Oculus Rift virtual reality system. The project is one element in a wider project that is exploring how both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can be used to present geospatial data in new and stimulating ways. Read on for a little background on the project…
Virtual reality, as a concept, has existed for many years. The first functional VR headset was built in the sixties, yet long before that, science fiction authors had already been daring to imagine such worlds. The early 90s saw consumer-orientated VR products being developed, marketed and, in some cases, actually released for sale. However, that technology couldn’t meet people’s expectations, leaving many disillusioned. More recent advancements in technology have put it back on the agenda. There is already a broad range of VR kit available for purchase, with more lined up for release in 2018. So, how might this relate to Ordnance Survey? With a sense of ‘place’ being a key component in VR, it seems that there is some common ground to explore.
The GeoDataViz Toolkit is a set of resources that will help you communicate your data effectively through the design of compelling visuals.
What is in the toolkit?
Basemaps – Often referred to as a contextual or backdrop map, a basemap contains reference information used to both orient the map and add context to any data that is overlaid. We are providing information about the OS range of basemap styles, the colour values for each and some best practice guidance.
Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the work of our Cartographic Designers. The team have been posting a variety of articles here since 2013 from reviews of events to sharing helpful resources. The team recently made some changes to the way in which they work and the work that they undertake, including a name change; from Cartographic Design to GeoDataViz.
In this post the team will consider some of the reasons why, and what the changes mean for them, their work and our customers.
This visualisation, which we created in June 2016, was the trigger for us to review our team and led to the changes that we have made subsequently. It was the first time that we had published a geographic visualisation that doesn’t contain any topographic data. We simply plotted the GPS data using colour techniques that help represent the density. This method is much more abstract (possibly considered as more art than science) than our traditional topographic maps but we felt it gave us a more engaging and visually stunning visualisation.
We’re excited to be taking part in an evening event at the British Library with our London Geovation Hub colleagues. On Friday 10 February from 7.30 pm, the Library is hosting an eclectic evening dedicated to maps, atlases and all things curiously cartographic, set to a live soundtrack by special guest DJ Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne.
We’re part of a digital and analogue showcase of all things maps. Come along to see the team demo our work in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) mapping and see how indoor mapping can benefit us all.
Our cartography team will be talking about crowdsourcing and giving you a hands-on chance to show us what you would like to see on the London map. How would you draw a map to direct a friend? What landmarks or buildings do you navigate by? What names (or nicknames) for areas or buildings would form part of your directions? Come along to share your views about maps of the future.