AR – Life Saving Technology

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. It has many uses, which can be read here. In this blog, we will be discussing how Esri is implementing the public safety use of AR.

Geospatial data company Esri, is taking AR to the next level. Although they have been around since 1969, Esri continues to fund their research and development teams in order to stay up to date with the newest technologies. Currently, that means using augmented reality for spatial analysis and visualization.

Esri created an app in 2017 called AuGeo. This app allows users to see data (that has been previously recorded) in an augmented reality form.

Example of what it looks like inside of the AuGeo app

But what does that mean to us?

Forbes released an article in late March of 2019 explaining how AuGeo can start aiding search and rescue situations. Essentially, the app is able to create an overlay of the geographic terrain that was there before a natural disaster. Most recently, it was used in the flood in January of 2019, created by a dam break in Brazil. By giving first responders the ability to see what is beneath the disaster, search and rescue can move much more quickly and efficiently. B

How does the app work?

The app, AuGeo, is relatively simple to use. I have attached a fantastic, easy to understand video below to show how to get it working.

Quick AuGeo Tutorial

Where does the data come from?

Esri has created a system software called ArcGIS, which is a geographic information system. According to Esri, it is used for ‘creating and using maps, compiling geographic data, analyzing mapped information, sharing and discovering geographic information, using maps and geographic information in a range of applications, and managing geographic information in a database’. Ultimately, it provides an infrastructure for creating maps.

ArcGIS Mapping

Esri uses this software inside of AuGeo by making the maps and geographic information the augmented reality. For instance, in big cities, most underground infrastructure is documented in a 3D CAD file format, which makes for a simple transition into augmented reality on the app.

3D CAD Model Example of Infrastructure

Can it be used for anything other than search and rescue?

Absolutely. Although search and rescue teams benefit highly from applications such as this, there are other possible uses for those of us not involved with emergency situations. For example, the data found in the app can be used as historical data. If you were to find yourself walking around a new town and had questions about certain landmarks or areas, the app (given the information has been uploaded) can aid as a tour guide of sorts. It can provide answers to those questions you might have. This is an exciting start of what AR can offer to society. However, there is an infinite number of new possibilities and it’s even more exciting to see where AR will take us in the next 5, 10, 50 years.

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