February 4, 2021

How do we create engaging city tours with augmented reality?

People are increasingly seeking for new and meaningful experiences.

How do we create engaging city tours with augmented reality?

However, most tours still maintain a conventional form that is static, outdated and not attractive, especially for the youth. We want to create greater value and interest in our cultural assets. Additionally, reflecting new needs: the desire to experience, learn and explore on your own. So how do we tackle this problem?

Lifelike took on this challenge and created a mobile AR application that gives users the ability  to deeper explore a city  or company by presenting them augmented visual content whenever they arrive at specific points of interests. Hereby offering cities innovative ways to deliver history and culture, while enhancing people’s experience when exploring a city to create a more impactful connection.

To start off we began by listing the most important cultural hotspots and buildings in the city (Antwerp). We will offer an AR experience for each of these. We can divide these experiences in 2 categories, 'Areas' and 'Overlays'.

AR Area:

We will make GPS hotspots which marks a user as present on location whenever he/she is within an indicated range from the specific point of interest. Thereby activating the possibility for the user to manually place designated AR content.. We will start by choosing 10 areas of interest in the city and collecting their longitude and latitude data. Additionally, we find and connect the right story with the area. This could be text, audio, pictures, video, newspapers articles, 3D animated characters and AR portals.

AR Overlay:

Here we will create point clouds of 3 well known prominent buildings/statues by taking pictures from different angles. We can use this data to make a reliable scene tracker. Lastly, we make unique 3D animations that are specifically designed for each building or statue. These Animations will accurately track the subject in a way that the overlay will always be correct from all angles.

Creating point clouds and 3D animations

The first point cloud we made was for the building next to the entrance of the Zoo of Antwerp. To accomplish this we needed to go to the location and take pictures of the building from all different angles. After doing so, we fed these pictures into a dedicated program to make up our Point Cloud. Then comes the big work: making a unique 3D animation. It is worth noting that we try to make animations that tells something about the building or statue.

Creating GPS Hotspots

We collect the longitude and latitude of each location and use this position as the center of our hotspot. Now we can attach media files, such as pictures to these locations. Only when the user is in a specific proximity of the hotspot, will he/she be able to start the experience. This will prompt a start button which will activate the corresponding scene and his rear camera. Therefore activating the ability to scan the floor and place the augmented reality media.

Creating a map

The last missing piece of our mobile application is a map. This will be the foundation of the app. The user will use the map to locate not only himself, but all the different experiences as well. Furthermore using it to get directions to the experience itself by clicking on the cards.

Previews of Likelike 's Augmented Reality Tour

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