Augmented reality

Augmented reality: The integration of digital information with live video or the user's environment in real time

Credit: Image by Francis Storr. Some rights reserved.
Community media project Talk About Local is working to bring public service content from hyperlocals to augmented reality (AR) mobile phone apps.

Announcing the hypARlocal "experiment" on the Talk About Local blog, the organisation's founder William Perrin says he wants to make it easy for hyperlocals "to consistently put their work into an augmented reality environment" and explains how the mobile phone apps will work.

"When you hold your phone’s camera up to see the street in front of you augmented reality apps arrange information from the blog in say speech bubbles on screen hovering over the thing that they relate to. Two factors combine to label things you can see through the camera:
  • the hyperlocal blog post has a 'geo-tag' with the latitude and longitude of the place that the post relates to within its HTML, and;
  • the smart phone has a GPS receiver and inertial compass so that the phone knows where it is an in which direction it is facing."
Perrin says that hyperlocals lend themselves to the project as they utilise geotagging.

"We are convinced that geotagging of the great public service stuff people write or photograph for hyperlocal sites is important as people use their mobiles more and more. And AR is a fascinating demonstration of what geotagging can do."

Perrin also states that they hope to improve on some of the existing augmented reality offerings.

"Most stuff published in augmented reality environments right now is commercially-driven and often uninspiring.

"We wanted to bring some of the public service ethos of hyperlocal sites into AR and in so doing start a conversation about geotagging with hyperlocal publishers."

The project is being funded by the Nominet Trust and Nesta.

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