04 Sep 2012 to 04 Sep 2012
In this paper we describe how mobile outdoor Augmented Reality (AR) can be used to provide information visualization on a city scale, and assist with urban design. We have developed a mobile AR application, CityViewAR, that uses smart phones to show virtual information superimposed over real city locations. Originally the application was developed to provide information about earthquake damaged buildings and historical sites in Christchurch city. The smart phone GPS and compass sensors can be used to retrieve geo-located content at the location of the user, which is then shown superimposed over live camera views of the real world. This content was provided in a number of formats including 2D map views, AR visualization of 3D models of buildings on-site, immersive panorama photographs, and list views.
Most recently the technology has been enhanced to show an additional virtual reality view of future city plans and mock-ups of proposed buildings on site. A client/server architecture has been developed to enable easy updating of the buildings shown and collection of user feedback about the building designs. In this way the technology can be used to view urban design scenarios at the location of where the designs will be build and collect feedback from the interested stakeholders.
The paper describes the iterative design and implementation details of the application, the urban design potential of the technology and feedback from users about the system usability. Results show that making such information easily accessible to the public in a number of formats could help people to have richer experience about cities, and participate in the urban design process. We provide guidelines that will be useful for people developing mobile AR applications for city-scale visualization, and discuss how the underlying technology could be used for applications in other areas. Finally, we present future technologies for mobile AR that could provide an enhanced urban design experience.
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