In times of innovation and development across industries, Augmented Reality has proved itself to be an important technology to reshape and redesign our approach across design, manufacturing, and marketing. Location-based AR is one such technology that has pivoted itself and is essential in the growth of domains like Automotive, Entertainment, and even gaming. It augments a specific coordinate with digital content. It, thus, aids users’ experience and can be a handy technology for both utility applications and entertainment-based campaigns.

This blog is a complete guide on what location-tracking AR is all about in 2024 and how it is transforming the various aspects of businesses across their workflow.

What is Location-based Augmented Reality?

Location-based augmented reality utilizes GPS to overlay digitally created and modeled information onto the real world without physical markers. It is also known as markerless or geo-based AR. With the help of the user’s smartphone location services, rather than depending on the visual identification of logos, products, or QR codes, it produces the experience in the camera’s field of view. You can seamlessly produce it directly into the surroundings.

How does it work?

It relies on real-time location systems (RTLS). The role of these RTLS technologies is to get location data from sensors in smartphones and other devices to pinpoint the user’s current location. This position information is then communicated to the platform. By comparing the user’s coordinates against points of interest in the database, the technology can accurately overlay the virtual elements at relevant real-world positions, which helps in overlaying the digital models onto the physical world.

How location-based AR achieves accurate overlays

Let’s look at the various things that location-based tracking must take care of to produce a stable, good-quality experience:

Achieving Precision

The key challenge is aligning virtual content with the physical world. It requires efficient and reliable calculations to ensure that the digital models can be accurately pinpointed to the projected location.

Managing Sensor Inputs

It relies on a huge network of sensors providing position and motion data to the system. Smart devices contain multiple inputs such as GPS, digital compasses, accelerometers, and gyroscopes. The data from all these sensors then combines to find the accurate location.

Accounting for GPS Limitations 

While GPS delivers location coordinates for the user, factors like signal blockage and multi-path errors can lead to serious inaccuracies. Advanced applications use supplemental techniques to fish out these flaws in GPS data, including WiFi-based positioning, visual localization algorithms, and inertial navigation.

Anchoring Virtual Elements

It can convincingly anchor virtual elements like wayfinding guides, architectural models, and information overlays to real-world locations. It does so by combining optimized sensor data with fast, accurate coordinate calculations tied to mapped points of interest. The continued advancements in mobile sensors, computer vision, and positioning intelligence will also help augmented reality interactions with increasing sophistication over time.

Application of Location-based AR for different brands 

Some of the current applications implemented by different brands are:

Navigation and Wayfinding

Major tech players like Google and Apple are using augmented reality to evolve their navigation capabilities beyond traditional maps. It includes but is not limited to Integrating real-time camera views. Overlaid turn-by-turn directions, points of interest, and spatial guidance cues allow for more seamless navigation for pedestrians and drivers. As autonomous vehicles and intelligent transportation systems continue developing, they will likely incorporate similar AR mapping to help vehicles navigate and communicate with other passersby. 

New-age gaming and entertainment 

Location-based multiplayer games are very popular nowadays. They allow players to come together in parks and cities to cooperatively battle virtual creatures, capture territory, or solve clues in digitally enhanced spaces. Even shared movie nights can be organized with all the different community members.

Urban planning and modern architecture

By overlaying interactive 3D design models directly onto real-world physical environments through precise location-mapping technologies, architects, urban planners, and communities are in a winning position. They are using augmented reality to completely transform how cities are visualized, planned, and created. This real-time spatial computing uses location tracking to help us design and reimagine our cities and architectures in AR.

Social media events and communication

Location-based augmented reality for Android and iOS opens up innovative ways for people to interact. It helps innovate our presence on social platforms. By overlaying digital content and connections onto the physical world, geo-located AR enables more immersive event participation and real-life social networking. 

Best Examples of location-based AR

There are many good examples of how cutting-edge businesses are leveraging technology to their advantage. Some of the best apps to look up to include:

Pokémon GO

Pokemon Go is a location-based AR app that took the world by storm. It used Augmented Reality location tracking to design a game that people loved. Players were able to explore neighborhoods and parks to catch virtual Pokémon tied to GPS coordinates via smartphone cameras. It popularized the concept of geo-located gaming, and later, many more games following the same concept came up.

Snapchat Geofilters

Fun, creative AR lenses, and overlays unlock when users access Snapchat from specific venues or regions. These specialized Geofilters encourage social sharing from concerts, festivals, stadiums, and tourist destinations.  

Urban Planning Initiatives

Cities like Hamburg, New York, and Boston have launched augmented reality platforms. They have created interactive visualizations of architectural models, flood resilience infrastructure, and transportation. It increases the participation of the common masses in city planning and various programs around it.

Way Ahead

Location-based AR is the next big thing that precisely uses GPS and other technologies to build applications beyond imagination. While it is still in its initial development stage, with a lot of potential left, its inventive applications are nothing short of extraordinary. Brands that have started to add AR into their services are first movers. They will reap enormous returns on their investment. From modern-day car brands, integrating it to ease navigation to tourism brands elevating visitors’ traveling experience and more. If you are a forward-looking brand and want to innovate your initiatives in design, manufacturing, marketing, and whatnot, consider PlugXR’s no-code platform for all things Augmented Reality. Book a demo now to learn more! 


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