Windows Phone and Geo Augmented Reality Toolkit (GART)

This year, it was my first time ever to experience what it means to speak at a conference. I had a session at the Microsoft WinDays technology conference in Croatia, and I talked about Windows Phone multimedia and sensors. It was (and still is) an interesting combination of two topics that have much in common. Therefor it made sense to cover those in one session, which ended with augmented reality and a demo of a small augmented reality app (it was actually a video, because it's difficult to demo augmented reality during the session because it's necessary to move around). I will write more about multimedia and sensors in my next few blog posts, but for now I'll just show you the video and how I created the app using Geo Augmented Reality Toolkit.

Geo Augmented Reality Toolkit (or GART) is an open source toolkit for creating augmented reality applications which rely on geographical locations. You can download it here:

http://gart.codeplex.com/

It's really VERY simple to use. I will write more about how I used it and what the code is, but the steps are basically these:

  • Add an ARDisplay control to your Windows Phone page
  • Add the views you want as children of the ARDisplay control
  • Start and stop services when navigating to and from the page
  • Create a collection of ARItem objects (or your own custom type that inherits from ARItem) and include real geolocation
  • Set ARDisplay.Items equal to your new collection
  • Optionally, style the elements

I created the augmented reality application in an hour or so. I would have it even faster if I didn't have to get the locations of places (plus the descriptions) myself and hardcode them in the app. The ideal scenario would be to have a service that would give me locations of places, their names and descriptions so I could just consume it on my Windows Phone.

Anyway, I'm really in love with the toolkit. It takes care of Motion API, Bing map, overlay of digital elements on the frames that come from PhotoCamera, your geolocation etc. You just start and stop the services. It doesn't get simpler than this. Trust me. :)

And here's the video of what I developed. If I had a service that exposed location information to me, the possibilities would truly be endless.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mKlYz5wraY&w=560&h=315] Enjoy and let me know what you think? Have you used GART in your apps? Are you satisfied with what it can do for you?

Let me know.

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