An augmented reality tool for walkers

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is an international project to produce free and open, liberally licensed maps from copyright-free data sources. These include GPS satellite surveys and out-of-copyright maps. Dr Nick Whitelegg is investigating OSM and developing a new augmented reality application for smartphones.

In the past five years, OSM coverage has grown from virtually nothing to extensive, near-complete coverage of many parts of the world. Nick’s project is particularly focused on the use of OSM data for countryside users, such as walkers.

The project, ‘Applications of OpenStreetMap Data for Countryside Users’, is aiming to develop an in-the-field augmented reality tool for walkers, in which a user can view OSM data superimposed on the live feed from their smartphone camera. Nick hopes that the work he is doing will be of benefit to both the University and interested businesses.

“This project will benefit the curriculum as the techniques employed are directly relevant to current Level 6 Maritime and Technology Faculty units such as Emerging Web Technologies and Mobile Software Applications and Architecture,” says Nick. “In addition, the combination of computing and geography exhibited by this work potentially opens the door to collaborative research between different departments within the Faculty. Perhaps more importantly, the open nature of OSM data could benefit businesses with an interest in geodata, due to its liberal licensing and lack of cost.”

“Feedback from students has been very positive too,” Nick adds. “They have gained a real appreciation of the ins and outs of web-mapping, and first-hand experience of how to use it for websites and mobile applications.”

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