While there was a lot of buzz for nearly half a decade before it became popular through simple apps, the AR game app Pokemon Go brought an unprecedented change of perspectives in this regard. That was in 2016, and since then, AR has continued to rise as the most era-defining technology for many apps across diverse niches.
AR can be implemented in apps in various ways, and location-based AR is among them. App developers in India deliver unique user experiences with location-based AR app development to stand out from so many competitive apps by making their utmost efforts with this technology is never easy.
Here in this blog post, we are providing a detailed guide on location-based AR app development that aspiring app developers can find helpful.
Basics of Location-Based AR App Development
Augmented reality needs identifiers or markers to work, and augmented reality doesn’t need any physical markers. The second type of AR is called location-based AR. Here AR works by connecting to the location of objects or places. Location-based AR is also called markerless AR, as it doesn’t require any marker.
Location-Based AR App Development: Key Technologies and Techniques
The app developers of location-based augmented reality apps rely mainly on exact location detection by using real-time location systems or RTLS. Thanks to these systems, it is possible to identify the precise real-time location of an object or user. The sensors transmit the location information of the thing or sensor. Based on the location, it is matched with the point of interest.
Here are the three main pillars of location-based AR.
The sensors in the device are responsible for transmitting the user’s location information. The AR app gets informed about the location of a user or object based on the precise location information these sensors send.
- Points of Interest
This mainly refers to the virtual information displayed on the phone screen that users are interested in. After the system is informed of the point of interest, it finds the location information of the object the user is interested in.
- Technique for Connecting Points
The markerless AR fetches all the details of the user’s location and point of interest and establishes the connection between them.
The Key Industry Areas to Implement Location-based AR Apps
Though it all started with mobile games, over the years, AR made its breakthrough across diverse industries, including retail, real estate, travel, education, healthcare, supply chain, and many others. Below for the app developers, we will discuss some of these niches where location-based AR apps fit in.
- Travel & Tourism
The location-based augmented reality has already proved to be an innovative technology to enhance the travel experience. It is widely used across travel apps, particularly tour guides and sightseeing apps. Location-based AR helps travelers easily discover new destinations and interesting places and utilize their travel time better. By pointing your camera all around, you can quickly spot all the major attractions on your device screen.
In the education sector, location-based AR is widely used for exploring natural phenomena in outdoor surroundings. It has found its use cases particularly in discovering natural phenomena corresponding to geography, botany, astronomy, etc.
Finding the medical devices and equipment for faster response in emergencies often becomes a challenge in many overly populated healthcare facilities. Their location-based AR apps can help find the nearest tools, such as defibrillators, and can save patients from running helter-skelter.
- Hyperlocal ads
Augmented reality coupled with real-time location tracking can open new doors for advertisers to target precise audiences and generate better results. For example, just by pointing the phone camera all over the street, a user can instantly get to see all the lucrative offers and discounts nearby stores and businesses offer.
Wait, you already have seen how a game can give birth to such addictions by using location-based AR. You have seen the phenomenon called Pokémon Go, and now every other day, you have a new game app exploring the technology as much as possible.
A Step-by-step Guide for Location-based AR App Development
Now all the value propositions and use cases of location-based AR apps are in front of you. But you can still be daunted by the technical challenges of an AR app project. Wait, it may not be so daunting if you have a clear idea of all the ready-to-use AR tools and how to use them. Here is a step-by-step guide for app developers for location-based AR development.
- Prepare a requirement document with all details
The first and foremost step is to explain the app idea and how the real-world location data will benefit the target users.
- Selecting the tech stack
Fortunately, for location-based AR development, you have several great tools and technologies for different platforms. Some top options include ARKit from Apple, ARCore from Google, Wikitude, and Maxst. Let’s briefly describe each of these technologies.
ARKit, developed by Apple, allows the building location-based AR apps for all iOS devices. Key ARKits features include motion capture, scene geometry, simultaneous face tracking, people occlusion, instant AR, robust image detection capability, and many others.
Google’s ARCore offers several unique features apart from the standard ones: mapping and motion tracking capability on all kinds of surfaces.
Wikitude is a robust AR development toolset offering a unique set of features, including the ability to track big-sized objects, scene recognition, geolocation tracking, AR glass support, a plugin for the Unity game engine, and many others.
This is another widely popular 3D SDK now used by AR app projects involving location tracking and environment recognition. It offers many top-notch features, including QR code and barcode scanner, SLAM support, support for Unity plugin, tracking capability for multiple targets, cross-platform development support for Android and iOS, and many others. The Mapping function of the tool particularly made it popular for AR projects.
Now the AR app needs to integrate location data, and GPS technology offers the best help. GPS is widely used because of its higher precision level and location and position tracking accuracy.
On the other hand, many tech wizards claim that GPS is highly energy-consuming. Hence, platform-specific location tracking technologies such as Android or iOS location services are better alternatives. This always remains open to debate, and you cannot just write off a globally validated technology like GPS. As of now, GPS offers the base standard for integrating location data in any location-based AR app.
The bottom line
AR has brought a unique opportunity to create a winning app from scratch product for users across niches. Location-based AR, with its precise ability to find your points of interest out of the crowd or blue, offers a never-before value proposition. Over the years, augmented reality (AR) came as a unique tech buzzword that, combined with geolocation, provided our unique results.
Juned Ghanchi is the CEO of IndianAppDevelopers, a top mobile app development company in India with a global presence in the USA. He explores all things in the software industry and oversees company growth as CEO.