Niantic is working on the world’s most dynamic augmented reality 3D map of the Earth with help from users of the company’s games and apps. The market for AR and virtual reality experiences is growing, with more businesses investing in the metaverse. For example, Walmart has entered the metaverse market with two new virtual worlds in collaboration with Roblox.
As more AR and VR experiences become available to consumers, developers are working on new ways for users to engage with these interactions. Each new product brings its own innovative features and new possibilities for creators. Platforms such as BlippAR and TikTok’s Effect House are available for users interested in creating their own virtual experiences with a free entry-level AR creation tool.
The creators of Pokémon Go, Niantic, are working on a precise, dynamic 3D map of the world that can be used to anchor virtual content for AR. Starting from the foundation of the company’s popular AR games, Niantic is enlisting the help of Pokémon Go players to scan the world around them. After reaching a certain level, users are given access to ‘AR Mapping Field Research’ tasks, where they can earn rewards for submitting AR scans. Pokémon Go trainers who have reached level 20 and do not have a child account can access the tasks at eligible PokéStops. Users can tap the three dots in the upper right corner, select ‘Scan PokéStop’ and start recording while slowly walking around the object, then uploading the scan to receive in-game rewards.
Niantic’s metaverse world-mapping project is ambitious and will require a massive amount of data and coordination. Capturing that quantity of real-world imagery brings up several privacy concerns, which can be challenging to navigate. Niantic has addressed several of these issues by outlining best practices and obscuring identifying information such as license plates and faces.
AR and VR are slowly becoming mainstream as technology advances and more immersive entry-level devices become available. With developers such as HaptX working on full-body haptic VR suits, consumers will soon have a variety of ways to experience the metaverse. As the real world and the metaverse become more intertwined, features like world mapping will make augmented reality more impressive than ever.