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For anyone that likes to explore cities and spaces on their own, Google Maps has developed an augmented reality mode  that makes it easy to ascertain what direction a pedestrian should be headed in~there is a large animated type of arrow to guide your direction.

You know those moments where there are no references to help you figure out which direction north is, and no way to determine exactly where you are. Using global localization which brings together Visual Positioning Services (VPS) and Street View, the smartphone camera becomes a “sensor” making wayfinding so much easier.

With a limited release in February for people who will augment the app with new locations and take photos, it is in the feedback stage. And here is the best part~the new feature is solely for walking directions, not for vehicular drivers.

In those pesky locations where GPS does not work because it is bouncing off buildings and cell towers, the Augmented Reality (AR) application uses the camera to suss surrounding buildings and street grids to pinpoint a walker’s location.

This application is not meant to be used consistently and as Sasha Lekach in Mashable.com observes “It’s meant for moments of usefulness” and the phone does have a warning message if it perceives you have held the phone up too long,  asking for the phone to be put down as you walk for safety reasons.

Here is a YouTube video showing the use of the Augmented Reality application in San Francisco as well as the wayfinding guiding fox which is still in the prototype stage.

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