Yankee Stadium

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Sydney Airport

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Oxford Street, London

It’s 10:40am, 50 degrees and the city is packed with people and cars. Normally there would be a logjam as roadworkers begin work, however this time there’s barely any obstruction. The workers have located the fault with pinpoint accuracy using Augmented Reality; its accurate overlay making it easy for the crew to “see” where the underground pipes are—and which one needs attention—before starting to dig.

What has made AR navigation a reality is the boom in matching highly-detailed geospatial data to real-world objects with unprecedented accuracy. Instead of jarring approximations of where a virtual object should appear, the new augmented experience delivers perfect overlays for a seamless and useful guide. People can now find places, and objects, with confidence.

Downtown Accra

It’s 5:58pm, 76 degrees and this fast-growing city is buzzing. This is a place that benefited from improvements in consumer maps, more accurate local search and the boom in social media mapping. The changes have, in part, been enabled by the creation of new data sources and access to open source geospatial information.

Free, user-contributed mapping options lowered the barrier to entry for a lot of companies, opening up opportunities for them to enter developing markets that rely on transport and navigation. For everyone, crowd-sourcing data corrections and improvements make for more effective experiences, however validation and quality control still need to be carefully managed.