AR Goes Underground

That is, to London’s subway system. Most tourist facing augmented reality applications are focused on landmarks. But, there’s an even more important issue affecting a tourist’s visit to an unknown city – how to get around. The city’s residents know perfectly well where’s the closest subway station that will serve their needs, but a tourist needs to constantly look at maps and look around herself.
To the rescue comes AcrossAir, a British mobile application development company. They have created a simple, yet useful, iPhone application, that shows you where’s the nearest tube station. When held horizontally, the application behaves quite like a map, but when the phone is tilted upwards, bubbles signifying stations’ presence are overlayed on the video feed. Obviously, this only works on the new iPhone 3GS, since it requires a compass reading.

Here’s some obvious further directions from the top of my head, this kind of app could follow:

  • Add more cities around the world, New York should probably be the first.
  • Add more public transportation options, such as buses and regular overground trains.
  • Add route planning, so the application will also recommend which station best suits your needs.
  • Some real time info will be great, like knowing when the next train is due.
  • Make it work underground (using cellular tower triangulation in lieu of GPS read), so commuters can be advised where to get off a train, and which line should they take next.

So there’s much room to innovate, even in such a niche application.

2 Responses

  1. I can’t find this application on the company’s website. Are you sure it actually exists?

  2. Yes, I was wondering about it myself. It’s definitely not on iTunes, but I’m guessing it’s out yet (the application itself seems real to me). I’m sorry if my post suggests that it’s available right now.

    Oh wait – according to AcrossAir, “It was submitted to Apple for approval yesterday. We will make it available as soon as we are able. “

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