I Tried Google Maps’ Experimental Walking Directions of the Future – Gizmodo

I Tried Google Maps’ Experimental Walking Directions of the Future – Gizmodo

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Augmented reality is coming to Google Maps.Image: GoogleThe perfect scenario for Google’s new Visual Position System, or VPS, is one you’ve probably been in already: Emerging from a subway station in a strange city. You’ve got your route planned out on your phone, but you don’t know which way is which, or the names of the roads—if you set off in the wrong direction initially, you can lose a lot of time retracing your steps.Way back at last year’s Google I/O conference we caught a glimpse of this new augmented reality layer coming to Google Maps. It’s designed to overcome the limitations of GPS in heavily built-up areas and remove confusion when you’re following walking directions. It’s not publicly available yet, but we’ve been able to try it, and here’s what’s coming. Advertisement Meet the Visual Positioning System, or VPS.Image: GoogleVPS pulls its data from the buildings and landmarks around you rather than relying on satellite location alone.
By combining VPS with Street View data and some machine learning, Google Maps can work out where you are (and where you should be headed) even if your GPS lock has you placed three blocks north.It does have some quirks in it that ....


It’s also worth pointing out that it’s still labeled as an Alpha release—you should expect plenty of bugs at this stage, and plenty of improvements to come down the line.Advertisement If you’ve got access, the AR mode is built right into Google Maps.Screenshot: GizmodoFor access on Android or iOS at the moment, you need to be one of Google’s Local Guides at level 5 or above (that’s someone who leaves a lot of reviews and feedback on Google Maps). As yet, there’s no word on when it’s going to go live for everyone, but here’s how it works from our testing.Fire up some walking directions as normal, and alongside the usual Start button you’ll also see a Start AR option—choose this to jump straight into augmented reality mode. You can also switch to AR later on your journey by tapping the little cube icon (bottom left) when you’re navigating normally.Advertisement The AR prompts are hard to miss as you wander around.Screenshot: GizmodoOpen up the AR interface, hold your phone in front of you, and Google Maps asks you to point your phone’s camera at the buildings opposite. This works separately to the GPS lock, and helps the app get its ....

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