I am a long-time Futurist, and technologist. In my career, I have spanned the birth of personal computers, to the rise of Cloud Computing.
AR City Tours offer a chance to show off your city!
As a futurist, I often look way over the edge of the art of the possible. It's not that I'm Pollyanna seeing only good things. I often see and talk about technologies that do or soon will have a negative impact. Based on that, I am constantly on the far edge of what people consider important. Today I wanted to talk about the replacement of paper maps. I went on a city tour in Frederick, Maryland, the other day and realized that, honestly, technology could fix the city walking tour very quickly. So what I am going to give you is a free design copyrighted, so do credit me if you decide to build a, but it is a concept that I have published before. I described this application in my book SyncVerse more than ten years ago. The idea is to use augmented reality (AR) to provide virtual city tours.
Once you create a virtual city tour, you have a few unique things you can do. First, you can integrate the cell phone GPS with your AR solution. Combining the GPS will allow people to conduct walking tours without getting lost. This way, they can walk their version of the city tour! There are several reasons why City AR Tours don't exist, or the few that do are very limited. The first issue is cost. People always say well; the cost is high. I do agree that the cost of production of one good AR tour is expensive. However, the paper map is extremely expensive when you factor in the destruction of trees, the cost of printing, paper storage, trash removal, and so on. The AR map is a renewable resource. You can publish it and then, within the application, automatically incorporate all changes. You can even put it in the iTunes app store or Google Play. Anytime you want the app to be updated, you upload the new version of the application. Now anyone can take a virtual tour anytime.
People can take a walking tour at their pace. You're not bound to a guide leading 20 other tourists on a walking tour of Washington DC. You can do it anytime you want. If you are more comfortable getting up as the sun rises, then, by all means, take the sunrise AR Tour. If you want to take the same tour as the sun is setting at 7:30 at night, then take the sunset tour! It is the same AR application the time you consume it is the only variable.
Over the years since I first came up with this idea, I've talked to museum curators, who say this is way too expensive. But they are only thinking of you of the cost of production. Yes, building an AR experience can be costly. But what you can do is you can subsidize your augmented reality application. You can allow businesses in your city to chip money in the paper application. They're going to make money because people will know about their store. After all, it's GPS-based. They will learn about their store when they are by their store. So the value for the business is increased foot traffic. Many companies don't need traffic, so that wouldn't help them. But some do, and it would help them greatly.
As I said, I designed this and laid this out in my book, the Syncverse. However, now, with the world of automation here, we can begin to use AI to make the solution even better. For example, I mentioned that I went on a walking tour. We followed the paper map. I can do much more with augmented reality and machine intelligence-driven AR tours. For example, the AI system can use the clock on your phone to determine how long you stand at specific markers and modify the rest of the tour to focus more on your interests. In fairness, I stood in front of several Civil War markers longer than I did the other more generic features. It wasn't that I wasn't interested, just that I was more interested in the Civil War markers. So while the machine intelligence-driven system could note that I stopped in front of certain types of information bits, it could tailor the rest of the AR-driven walk to what interests me. The other thing you can do is you can embed objects with the plaques if someone is interested. If you want more information about this particular person, building or event, take a picture of this QR code which will take you to our website. Where of course, we have enough room to include all the information. The other thing you can do, which I think would be interesting, is creating a mobile application, allowing you to superimpose historical images over the now, just like some of the big AR applications a couple of years ago. But now, you have historical information laid over the streets of a modern city! An AR application can tell you to lift your cell phone and will show you what that street looked like in 1820. Or if you're interested before humans were in this particular place. Not only an augmented iteration of the reality you're in but an educational opportunity to show you things you might never have had a chance to learn about otherwise.
You can also have embedded QR codes around your city to share even more information!
As I said, there is a cost to integrating an AR application across the GPS, a city map, and all the things you want to share with people. You can offset that cost by engaging local businesses that drive put traffic. But the other side of this is that by using augmented reality technology, you can build a great picture of your city. While videotaping and building the AR application, you can also build a virtual reality presentation in your town. I know tourists are big business for most cities. A VR presentation of your town in the library where people get to it would generally allow you to increase the tourism of your location. Like the AR application, you can also easily update the VR application. You can even update both while someone is on tour. You can allow people to design the walking tour of your city they want to take.
AR and VR tours of cities may be expensive to build initially, but the opportunity for new revenue, tourists, and more people engaged in learning about your city are priceless.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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