Tuesday, December 01, 2009

BusinessWeek on Augmented Reality - "GPS technology is not yet good enough for AR to be useful"

My first post for Tnooz was on Augmented reality and mobile. In it I have a couple of videos of some great looking AR travel apps. However since I am trapped in the Blackberry world (my company uses blackberry) I have not had a chance to try out any of these for myself. That has left open the question as to whether or not the hype of Augmented Reality matches...well.. the reality of Augmented Reality.

Steve Wildstorm (personal tech columnist at BusinessWeek) believes that AR is "Not that Real Yet". There is an interesting podcast interview with him here (part of his regularly weekly series) where he says that the GPS technology that is critical for AR to work is simply not accurate enough. At its best GPS provides accuracy to 20 meters. Wildstorm argues that a 20 meter radius error margin is not good enough to give the accuracy you need for AR to work. It is worth noting that "at its best" means all the satellites are in the right place and there are no buildings in the way. In other words it is likely that accuracy will be worse than 20 meters. Also thinks that the apps that are out there are "just modified browsers" and need to be better thought through - sometimes the apps are giving too much information or a level of GPS accuracy that is not available.

If you are interested in AR for online travel then I recommend listening to the podcast (here). BOOT recommended read/listen of the week.


Carl Jackson said...

Thanks for the link to the Podcast will check it out.

We're in development on a number of mobile apps for both the LiveOnTour live blogging tool we briefly demo'd at PhoCusWright and another one that might include an AR component.

In testing we've done so far to evaluate GPS accuracy the results would agree with the 20m. We sometimes get down to across the road or building next door (10metres) but haven't yet got in the 3-5 metre range.

Claude said...


For your info:

Galileo is a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) currently being built by the European Union (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA)



Tim Hughes said...

@Carl and @Claude - thanks for passing on