Are you one of those Pokémon trainers, who wander around city in a hunt for Pikachu? If yes, do you know that it can help in 3D mapping the world?
Niantic, Inc., the startup incubated and funded by Google, developed a sensational game Pokémon Go in 2016. Now, the game makers want to explore the territories of augmented reality (AR). John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic, recently announced that they want to establish a startup as a frontrunner in digital mapping, and he has asked for users’ assistance to do so.
Google, Apple, and countless other startups want to developed AR-based apps. However, harnessing the required data and effectively processing it have been the vexing problem for these tech giants. It seems clear that Niantic always had a hidden intention of harnessing the data collected by Pokémon Go. After completing almost two years, the company wants to take a new step in AR world to build large-scale AR maps by tapping into its huge user base. The plan was revealed by Reuters, an international news agency, as they had a talk with Hanke about the company’s future. John Hanke explained, “We want gamers to develop the game board that they would love to play, and 3D world mapping would foster new kind of social activity.”
It is no secret that AR has unlimited potential in the digital world. In addition, with the use of advanced technology and AR as a bedrock, an AR-based apps can raze the entire playground in the augmented reality and anyone can create new virtual structures and layouts. Furthermore, these virtual worlds can be shared with other users.
The technology sector has been keeping an eye on Niantic’s strategy since they launched an AR-based game that enabled user to collect virtual Pokémon on their smartphones. According to Niantic, the game has been downloaded more than 800 times, and its followers have not decreased since the announcement of another AR-based game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which may release in 2018. The company has not disclosed whether it will use the data of Pokémon Go or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite to map the world in 3D. Moreover, the timeline for this AR mapping is also unclear. However, one thing is certain that the company will start mapping the public spaces such as parks and plazas with the help of AR technology developed by Niantic’s new acquisition, Escher Reality.
Hanke stated that Niantic will allow third party developers to use its AR maps. In the recent Google I/O developer conference, Google unveiled an update of Google Maps that uses AR to enhance user experience. Just by pointing a camera at a street sign, Google Maps will be able to provide turn-by-turn navigation. Clearly, Google, the company that supported Niantic from the start will likely to get some benefits from Niantic’s AR maps. Even though, Niantic is ready to share AR maps with third-parties, it has not made clear about the possible limitations on the data sharing. However, after the Pokémon Go Summer Tour 2018, the company will clarify such queries in detail. Till then, just hope that Niantic’s AR mapping is not just a side project, but a striking entry to the magical lands of augmented reality.