AR Goes Underground

That is, to London's subway system. Most tourist facing augmented reality applications are focused on landmarks. But, there's an even more important issue affecting a tourist's visit to an unknown city - how to get around. The city's residents know perfectly well where's the closest subway station that will serve their needs, but a tourist needs to constantly look at maps and look around herself.
To the rescue comes AcrossAir, a British mobile application development company. They have created a simple, yet useful, iPhone application, that shows you where's the nearest tube station. When held horizontally, the application behaves quite like a map, but when the phone is tilted upwards, bubbles signifying stations' presence are overlayed on the video feed. Obviously, this only works on the new iPhone 3GS, since it requires a compass reading.

Here's some obvious further directions from the top of my head, this kind of app could follow:
  • Add more cities around the world, New York should probably be the first.
  • Add more public transportation options, such as buses and regular overground trains.
  • Add route planning, so the application will also recommend which station best suits your needs.
  • Some real time info will be great, like knowing when the next train is due.
  • Make it work underground (using cellular tower triangulation in lieu of GPS read), so commuters can be advised where to get off a train, and which line should they take next.
So there's much room to innovate, even in such a niche application.


Ben said...

Looks cool, wonder if Apple will approve it.

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