Augmented Reality (AR) allows recorded and animated images to blend and be viewed in real time. Most of the past augmented reality apps mainly focused on entertainment, such as the Lego Kiosks, futuristic baseball cards and even a virtual tour of the starship Enterprise. More recent apps however, have shifted their focus: providing travelers with useful information and answers to their possible questions.
What does augmented reality mean for tourism?
Augmented reality apps comprise different layers, such as museums, historic sites, dining and real estate to name but a few. The tourism layer, however, is the one most commonly used. This makes sense since tourists need information which will make their travelling experience easier, more informed and more secure, allowing travelers to experience the destination before they arrive.
A few examples of how augmented reality was used in tourism
TripAdvisor launched their Augmented Reality Tours app for iPad this month, using images from Google Street View to create a virtual walk through various destinations. This app might not be as advanced as apps by Layar, Lonely Planet or mTrip, but is still more useful and fun to use than 2D maps.
The Beijing Institute of Technology created a virtual reconstruction of Yuanmingyuan, a local historic site destroyed in 1860 during the Opium War, by using various paintings and sketches. They built a coin-operated viewing platform which tourists can use to see what Yuanmingyuan used to look like.
The Cluny Abbey Museum in France has a giant augmented reality screen, a window to the past if you will, allowing users to travel back in time and view a pre-destruction example of the Abbey. GraffitiGeo launched the first ever augmented reality restaurant recommendations app. Just point your phone towards a restaurant and see immediate reviews.
There are a lot of augmented reality apps, too many to mention in only one blog. Did I miss your favourite? Please share it with us in the comments.