Niantic, the software development company that popularized the concept of augmented reality with Pokemon Go, doesn’t seem to stop with just gaming. The company has further ambitions to develop a large-scale three-dimensional map of the world with the help of its huge user base.
The 3D augmented reality maps are supposed to be created by the Pokemon Go players’ cameras, where the players can help map public spaces thus extending the AR experience to the whole surrounding. The maps generated will be available on the devices of other players, while nearby players can capture new contours and objects and refresh the data. Niantic also plans to offer the AR maps to third-party developers that might let them bring AR features to other apps too. In a statement, CEO John Hanke said, “We want players to build out the game board they want to play on.”
It is still unclear when the mapping would begin, or if it would incorporate data from the upcoming AR game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Users might worry about their creating public AR maps of their homes, but Niantic assures them that their private data will be safe with the use of its technology. To support its AR mapping effort, the company has recently acquired the Escher Reality startup.
Earlier this week, Google announced that some Google Maps users might be able to use the AR features while looking for directions on their phones. The phone can compare the image captured by the camera with Street View imagery. This could be helpful in locating a person in areas with insufficient GPS data.