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mtrip Augmented Reality City Guides

Posted by augmentedplanet under Augmented Reality

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Over the last month, mtrip augmented reality city guides have been appearing in the iPhone appstore. So last week was a good a time as ever to take the London guide out on a road trip.

Firstly, the mtrip applications are packed with functionality, they are not simple augmented reality browsers but have a variety of useful features. Rather nifty is the itinerary feature which will plan your day by giving you nearby sights that you should see. The itinerary takes into account the length of your stay and breaks down the important sights into days and mornings / afternoons. Ideal if you are a real travel looking to explore the city. Even better, at the click of a button you can send a virtual postcard from the sights either by email or by posting to Facebook. I’m not really the postcard kind of guy but even I would use that feature.

Of course being a city guide you’ll expect the application to come with a list of attractions, shops, bars, restaurants and you wont be disappointed because they are all present, but a rather nice feature is the fact that they all have pictures and ratings so you’ll know if they are worth the effort. If you do decide to visit you can see the entry fee and the local train station so you’ll have no difficultly in finding it.

You can’t doubt the applications pedigree as a travel guide as it does everything you’ll need and more. But since this is a blog about augmented reality, let’s talk about the augmented reality functionality.

The augmented reality view does everything you’d expect but one huge positive is it just works. Press the AR button and your POIs are shown immediately, no messing around wondering what database to select. To give you an example, I got to Downing Street in London, apart from being the address where the British Prime Minister lives; it’s a tiny little street. I used mtrip to see what was around me and I was impressed that the application not only found it in a few seconds, but pin pointed it. I tried several other augmented reality browsers but I needed to select which databases I wanted to use, after 10 minutes I still had no luck.

One thing drove me crazy about the AR functionality however. The AR view is designed to work in landscape which is fine, but hold it the wrong way in landscape and all the POIs disappear, rotate it 180 degrees and they all come back. It took me 20 minutes to figure that out and when I did my finger was constantly over the camera. I’m sure it’s a relatively simple bug to address but it annoyed the hell out of me.

mtrip will set you back $5.99 (about £3.50), which when compared to a free augmented reality browser is a sizeable investment, however compare it to the cost of a guide book and it’s amazingly cheap . The question is, if I was travelling to a new city would I buy an mtrip guide? I think the answer is yes I would.

Even if you are not in the slightest bit interested in augmented reality there is enough functionality to the application to make it extremely useful, it’s a city guide that happens to have augmented reality functionality not the other way around. Coupled with the fact that the augmented reality functionality just works and the application doesn’t rely on network connectivity so you’ll save yourself expensive roaming charges it can only be a winner.

New mtrip city guides are being added so keep an eye on their website for the latest support.

mtrip augmented reality in action

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