Google has launched the ARCore Geospatial API in ARCore SDKs for Android and iOS across all compatible ARCore-enabled devices. ARCore is Google’s AR developer platform that provides developer tools for creating augmented reality applications that blend the digital and physical worlds.
Using different APIs, ARCore works on smartphones and uses their facilities to sense the surrounding environment, understand the world and interact with information.
ARCore uses three main features of the phone to integrate virtual content with the real world as seen through your phone’s camera. Firstly, motion tracking allows the phone to understand and track its position relative to the world.
Next is “environmental understanding”, meaning the phone can detect the size and location of all type of surfaces: horizontal, vertical and angled surfaces like the ground, a coffee table or walls.
The third element is using the quality and amount of light to estimate the environment’s current lighting conditions.
In 2019, Google launched the ARCore Cloud Anchors API that gives developers ways to anchor content to specific locations. The examples given by Google of potential uses include creating virtual signs that help users find their way around train stations, or leaving virtual notes on on a kitchen countertop for your friends. Cloud Anchors also enable real-time collaboration between users, such as enabling users to play a virtual game of ping-pong on the coffee table.
The latest release is the ARCore Geospatial API in ARCore SDKs for Android and iOS. The API uses the same technology that is used in Live View in Google Maps to show AR powered arrows and turn-by-turn directions. In the new API this is used to add content based on location. Google says that:
Based on the Visual Positioning Service (VPS) with tens of billions of images in Street View, developers can now anchor content by latitude, longitude and altitude in over 87 countries, without being there or having to scan the physical space, saving significant time and resources.
In other words, if the users of your app is anywhere Street View is available, then just by pointing their camera, their device understands exactly where it is, which way it is pointed and where the AR content should appear.
To help developers get started, Google has released two open source demo apps to clone and extend into your own applications. Balloon Pop lets people place and use balloons as targets around the world, together and at the same time. Pocket Garden lets add a “colorful AR community garden” to your neighborhood.
ARCore Geospatial API is available now.
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