Pokemon Go Data Might Help Build a 3D World Map

Pokemon Go Data Might Help Build a 3D World Map

Niantic has plans to evolve Augmented Reality into Augmented Reality squared.

Augmented Reality (AR) is a fun addition to a game like Pokémon GO, but it honestly doesn't enhance the experience much beyond getting a laugh out of making an Abra sit on a toilet. Niantic wants to map the world in AR, which will presumably make for a much richer and more immersive AR experience in Pokemon Go and other Niantic games.

Niantic CEO John Hanke talked to Reuters last week about the company's plans for AR mapping. "We want players to build out the game board they want to play on," he said. Currently, AR tech can insert a digital Pokemon onto a landscape, but the Pokemon can't interact with that landscape in a meaningful way. AR mapping might change that because it'd theoretically let Niantic use a mapped-out park or field or whatever as a foundation. From there, the company could build virtual structures for Pokemon to interact with.

You've caught Aerodactyl, now try ARodactyl!

Hanke said mapping will start with some public spaces like parks and plazas, but he didn't specify when. Niantic bought AR start-up Escher Reality this year, which indicates the developer is serious about cooking up ways to better implement augmented reality in its games.

Speaking of Niantic and games, the warm weather is here. There's no excuse not to get off your butt and resume Catching 'em All. Visit our hints, tips, and guides for everything you need to master Pokemon Go.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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