Niantic’s 3D Shared Worlds Map was launched in May

Photo: Niantic

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With Niantic’s “Visual Positioning System” many AR users navigate through a shared digital space. The feature will appear as a development version at the end of May.

Since 2016, Pokémon Go has been standing almost exclusively in augmented reality games with smartphones. However, the weak point from a technical perspective is the sometimes inaccurate GPS data, which does not pinpoint the exact location of the real player on the virtual map.

Niantic wants to eliminate this vulnerability in the future by using a “Visual Positioning System” (VPS) for its Lightship AR interface. Thanks to the combined 3D map, the VPS is said to be so accurate and continuous that players can view the same digital objects in the same place from different viewpoints at the same time. For example, a Pokémon hunter can stand in front of a digital monster and another behind it. Prepare Niantic with an accuracy of a few centimeters.

Niantic prepares for AR Metaverse

For example, if there are two monsters fighting in a meadow, several participants can position themselves around the brawlers in order to observe the stampede from their own perspective. Or huddle in front of a statue around a spatial AR puzzle to collaboratively reveal gears and mechanisms from all angles.

AR developers will soon be able to implement their own ideas of this type once Niantic delivers the VPS update. It will roll out in late May 2022 along with the Lightship Summit developer event taking place May 24-25 in San Francisco.

Niantic is already teasing the concept as a “global” solution that syncs multiple AR-enabled systems with each other. As reported by RoadtoVR, the company is initially focusing on “set waypoints” in a few cities.

At a later time, spatial map data will be expanded, including users’ smartphone recordings. As early as July 2021, Niantic researchers introduced technology that turns smartphones into capable 3D mapping tools.


The project started in 2020 with potential in Pokémon GO from Scan the surroundings. One day, gamers of augmented reality will be able to practically create a 3D map of the world in passing, which, in turn, will be the basis for new applications.

In addition to Niantic, other companies want to create our real environment as a digital twin. The target is the so-called AR cloud, a 3D coordinate system for the real world. For example, the Snapchat operator Snap acquired 3D mapping startups StreetCred and Pixel8Earth in 2021. On the other hand, Google expanded its Live View augmented reality navigation feature to indoor spaces a year ago. The artificial intelligence used in Live View can determine your location and line of sight more accurately than GPS, even outdoors. So you can find elevators, stairs or the right gate faster.

Greenfield Cooperative Augmented Reality Games

How did Niantic change a file The joint hunting of monsters in the future It presents the trailer for “Codename: Urban Legends,” created with partners like Deutsche Telekom and Verizon, that premiered a year ago. The video shows how an AR game can benefit from extremely low latency in a shared digital space over a 5G connection.

The data collected with the upcoming “Visual Positioning System” could also become an important basis for augmented reality glasses with video display. Meta with Cambria, Apple and Google with Iris believed to be working on VR headsets with the ability to add AR video

Niantic’s AR Peridot isn’t using the new virtual private servers just yet: the virtual pets must at least be able to reliably recognize and maneuver around real objects and obstacles correctly or hide behind them.

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