Google ARCore Geospatial API expected to power new apps

June 4, 2022  - By
Bird uses the ARCore Geospatial API to enable a scooter parking app. (Image: Bird)

Bird uses the ARCore Geospatial API to enable a scooter parking app. (Image: Bird)

Google has launched the ARCore Geospatial API in ARCore software development kits (SDKs) for Android and iOS across all compatible ARCore-enabled devices.

The application programming interface (API) is available at no cost to download and opens up nearly 15 years of Google Maps data to help developers build more useful and immersive augmented reality (AR) experiences.

“The Geospatial API provides access to global localization — the same technology that has been powering Live View in Google Maps since 2019, providing people with helpful AR-powered arrows and turn-by-turn directions,” explains a Google blog.

“Based on the Visual Positioning Service (VPS) with tens of billions of images in Street View, developers can now anchor content by latitude, longitude and altitude in more than 87 countries, without being there or having to scan the physical space, saving significant time and resources.

“For end users, discovering and interacting with AR is faster and more accurate as images from the scanned environment are instantaneously matched against our model of the world,” the blog states. “This model is built using advanced machine-learning techniques, which extract trillions of 3D points from Street View images that are then used to compute a device’s position and orientation in less than a second.

“In other words, users can be anywhere Street View is available, and just by pointing their camera, their device understands exactly where it is, which way it is pointed and where the AR content should appear, almost immediately.”

Early-access partners include the NBA, Snap and Lyft, who are exploring and building applications in areas such as education, entertainment and utilities. For example, micromobility companies Bird, Lime and WeMo are using the API to remove friction from parking e-scooters and e-bikes, adding pinpoint accuracy so that riders know exactly when their vehicle is in a valid parking spot. Lime has been piloting its app in London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Bordeaux, Madrid and San Diego.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.