Google Collaborative Maps and Wikitude Augmented Reality

Is it me or it it getting easier to create location-based augmented reality resources? These days you certainly don’t have to be a developer to start building your own projects. As another exploration into collaborative location-based augmented reality, I did some experimentation with Google My Places and it’s new features, and transferring a custom map into Wikitude for display as an AR world. The process is fairly straightforward:

Build Your Map

  1. Sign into Google and go to
  2. Click the My Places button on the left, in the sidebar.

    My Places -> Maps

  3. Select the My Maps tab, again in the left sidebar.
  4. If you’ve never created your own map before, there’s a giant red button titled, “Create Map” that will get you started.
  5. Add a Title and Description to your map and you’re ready.
  6. From here you can drop pins, add descriptions to the locations you are pinning (go ahead, be fancy and add a little HTML formatting to that description – even include an image).

    Adding Map Markers

  7. As you’re going along, building out your map, be sure to occasionally save it to ensure you don’t lose anything.
  8. When you’re finished editing, clicking the “Done” button takes you back to a view of you map with a list of places you created points of interest for.

    A Saved Map

  9. If you’re not finished editing, but would like to have others help you finish the map, the “Collaborate” link allows you to invite others to build your map with you. (You can see that “Collaborate” link in the screenshot above.)


Import to Wikitude

  1. When you’re ready to create an AR overlay from the points of interest you’ve marked on your map, download the linked KML file available under the description of your map (left+click and select Save Link As).
  2. Go to and log in (or create an account if you don’t already have one).
  3. Once logged in, Use the “Create World” button to add your KML file as AR information.

    Upload KML

  4. Upload your KML file. You will see that Wikitude also accepts ARML and ARchitect Engine content, but Google Maps doesn’t generate those formats automatically.

    Wikitude File Type Explanations

  5. Continue filling out the information for your new world in Wikitude. The instructions on their site are quite detailed. Fill out all fields and upload the thumbnails for your world.

    Wikitude World Description Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 10.13.00 AM Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 10.13.10 AM

  6. Once you publish your layer it will take anywhere from 30 minutes to a day for your information to be visible in the Wikitude mobile app. When in Wikitude, search for any keywords you included or look for local worlds until you see yours. Click on it to view your points of interest as AR.

One important detail to note about publishing to Wikitude is that once you have uploaded and published your KML file, you are able to update it whenever you like by re-uploading a new file. Your changes are reflected in the mobile app in less than a couple of hours (and usually much quicker). If you have a map you are collaborating on with others, simply download the latest KML file and upload it to your Wikitude world as necessary.


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