2-Dimensional vs Augmented Reality: What's Next for the Digital Map

Ptolemy to Anaximander. Roman expansion to the 1300s. The Frau Mauro map to the Industrial Revolution, to finally Google Earth: all are significant periods of cartography growth and expansion. The newest member of the list? ArcGIS!

GIS technology has come a long way. What started out as digital maps on computers has rapidly developed into digital maps on websites and mobile devices. We are used to having immediate information about our surroundings through mapping technology in our work and personal lives.

Just a few short years have produced the ability for anyone with an internet connection to view the world in astoundingly specific detail, but 2-dimensional maps still have their drawbacks, even techie ones: they profoundly lack context in the 3-dimensional world.

Take driving apps for instance. How often has a driver missed a turn due to a lag in data updating?

What is Next for Digital Maps

ArcGIS is the obvious choice when it comes to providing global spatial data. As a global leader in GIS, Esri provides solid solutions for field mobility. The Argis Lens takes advantage of that solid platform and extends ArcGIS into the realm of AR.  

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. 

Public data in ArcGIS Online

Public data in ArcGIS Online

The same data set in the Argis Lens.

The same data set in the Argis Lens.

The composite view of AR brings that necessary connection between maps and the real world. It is the missing link to a seamless user experience. Users can make better decisions faster because they can immediately interpret their data in context with the world. 

The importance of quickly interpreting data sets is even more evident in the world of business.  Many field technicians and field managers, once they have the Lens in their hands, are blown away by this new method of interacting with their maps. It opens their eyes to all the possibilities of use such as training, locating, and inspecting.

This excitement leads to buy-in at all levels. The AR Lens allows a GIS department to hand a map to field technicians, which they can intuitively use, wherever they need to go. Truly, AR is improving the user experience while not compromising the quality of GIS data provided through ArcGIS.

If you'd like to learn more about how you can get started implementing either ArcGIS or integrating the Argis Lens in your organization, please schedule a call or read more about how the Lens is improving how we do business.