I’ve been experimenting with creating augmented reality layers in my free time, what little there is, and in the past few days I’ve finally been able to pull something together fairly quickly thanks to Hoppala. Hoppala makes the process of building an AR layer for any or all of the Layar, Juniao, and Wikitude mobile apps amazingly easy. Think of it as a CMS for AR browsers.
So how does it work? First you have to have an idea for a layer. Tours, exhibits, and some games lend themselves to the types of layers Hoppala can help build, and within these general types of layers there are lots of interesting possibilities for discovering an visualizing geolocated data. For my layer I started with a very simple idea that would be easy and quick to execute – to map and make available information about the Birch Hill Trail system here in Fairbanks. A proof of concept of this local information layer is already available if your running any of the AR browsers mentioned above if you’d like to skip ahead and see what the final product looks like. Note that I’ll continue to add information to the layer over the summer as I have more time to mark the tails. If you have an idea and some data to start inputting into Hoppala, you’re ready to begin.
- Create an account at http://augmentation.hoppala.eu. Once your account is created, you can begin creating your first overlay. The overlay will contain all of the information you want to include in your layer.
- Save your overlay a title and provide your name as the developer.
- Build your overlay. If you have ever built a Google Earth layer of worked with Google maps the process will be similar. Add augments to your overlay map and provide information about each of the locations you mark. For each augment you can add a title and 3 lines of description, a thumbnail image, and actions. Actions can add additional interactivity to your overlay. You can send your viewer to a web site, play audio, video, tweet, call and phone, SMS, or send an email. Triggers can be manual or automatic.
- Share your overlay. Hoppala is compatible with Layar, Junaio, and Wikitude browsers. For each browser you want to make your overlay available on you must create a developer account. This is a straight forward process. Copy your overlay URL from Hoppala and login into the developer areas of each of the services you want to connect to:
– Create a new layer in Layar and paste the overlay URL
– Create a new channel in Junaio and paste the overlay URL
– Click the Register Hoppala Web Service button ans paste the overlay URL
- Wait for all systems to update. Some of the services are faster then others to update new overlays. With the same day you should be able to log into any of the AR browsers on your mobile device and test your overlay. Your overlay will not be available to the public on all platforms. Layar, for instance asks you to Request Approval for your layer. Regardless, you will still be able to see ALL overlays you create and test them through your account.
Below are a couple of screen shots taken testing the overlay as it displays in Layar.
You can easily see there is potential here for lots of really great activities, not just for discovery and visualization, but also for collaborative creation by gathering and sharing on an overlay. I’ll continue to post more on different types of applications as I experiment with them. This initial effort was to determine the capabilities and ease of use of the Hoppola service.