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Using Augmented Reality Directions in Apple Maps

3rd April 2022

Jacob Woolcock


| Maps

I recently had the chance to go to London and experience Augmented Reality (AR) Walking Directions in Apple Maps for the first time. Here’s how (and where) it works…

In certain cities you can activate a new mode for walking directions, which will overlay large arrows and street names into the world around you. People can walk around (and even behind) them, they cast a shadow, they glow and direct you. But they’re just in certain places. Whilst this is certainly a great concept, it needs to be in far more towns and cities for it to be truly useful. Still, this #QuickTip will show you how to use these AR guides and what they look like.

If you’re going for a walk using Maps in a big city you can use Augmented Reality directions.

Here’s how they work.

Before we get started you need to know that these Augmented Reality directions (which Apple calls Immersive Walking Directions) are only available in a few cities worldwide.

Places like London, New York, San Francisco and a few others as the list grows.

Now I recently had the chance to visit London and I thought it’s the perfect opportunity to try Augmented Reality directions and show you what they look like.

So to get started in the Maps App you’re just going to search for a destination and get a route as normal.

Make sure you’re on a walking route as these directions only work for walking, and then press Go.

Now, as you’re probably used to, you get that map on the screen with the blue line and the arrows and directions telling you where to go.

But if you’re in one of those cities you can use the Augmented Reality button on the right hand side.

Now when you do this your iPhone camera is going to use some really clever technology to work out exactly what street you’re on and what you’re looking at right now.

And you do that by simply panning your phone around at the street opposite you.

Apple Maps will work out the buildings that are there and it will start bringing directions into the world for you.

That means as soon as it’s calibrated, as I move my iPhone around, these massive street signs and arrows will appear in the world around me.

As you start walking towards your destination those signs will stay in place as if they were street signs, and then as you walk past them new ones will emerge as you get nearer your destination.

I really liked using this experience in landscape.

So when I turn my iPhone I get a much more immersive view of the world around me and those navigation directions as well.

Of course I can’t help but think this would be absolutely brilliant on some sort of ‘AR Headset’ in the future so you’re not walking around holding your phone.

Perhaps it just shows up in your glasses or something…?

Maybe that’s a #QuickTip for a few years time!

As I come around the corner and start going along the Queen’s Walk I can see Tower Bridge up ahead of me.

I don’t need that giant arrow anymore – I can use my own eyes to work out I’ve got to my destination!

And that is Augmented Reality directions on Maps.

Can you use it in your city yet?

Let me know in the comments down below if you have tried it and what you think – and I’ll see you in the next #QuickTip.

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