GIS and AR

What can you do with GIS and AR?

"What makes the combination of AR and GIS really exciting is not just the visualization of GIS content, which is very cool, but the integration of that content with the rest of the enterprise,” says Mansour Raad, a senior software architect at Esri. “That's what GIS is all about."

Augmented Reality
I made a sample app that uses pattern recognition to let users point an iPhone camera at a magazine photo of a map, which triggers the loading of a video that shows a rotating globe displaying the same information—Mansour Raad, software architect at Esri.

Imagine that you could use the camera on your phone to see the location and orientation of water pipes and electric cables buried under the ground.  because your AR app is cross-referencing the GIS system with your location and giving you a kind of x-ray vision so that you can visualize the infrastructure that is underneath you. Not only would you be able to see hidden objects, you'd have access to their attributes, you'd be able to pull up engineering diagrams, and even tap into real-time sensor networks to view water pressure or amperage.

You might use your phone's camera to email a photo of the augmented display to your project team or sync it with the GIS-enabled work order system so that it can be accessed by the project manager and the work crew.

Esri partner, Azavea, has researched AR as part of a NEH Digital Humanities Start-up Grant with the Philadelphia Department of Records.  They created a prototype smartphone application for iPhone and Android that enables users to view historic images as overlays on the current landscape. They’ve written a white paper about their research, which you can download here.

Augmented Reality
Azavea, an Esri partner, created a prototype AR app for smartphones that provides a more immersive way for users to access the over 93,000 images and maps available in the PhillyHistory.org database.

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