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The Snowdog

Augmented Reality Caches

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It looks like the geo mothership will, at least temporarily, embrace Augmented Reality software for mystery caches.

 

https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=127&pgid=921

 

So I would like to look at a few of these before I try to write one myself and hope that others will add on to this thread with links to AR caches that they have found or written.

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That's quite interesting. I'm going to look into this to see how feasible it is for a geocache.

 

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Interesting.  I would like to learn about these and see how hard they are to set up and what kind of creativity people might have.

 

At the recent GIGA, there were lab caches that used AR, and they worked better than I expected actually.

 

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11 minutes ago, fuzziebear3 said:

At the recent GIGA, there were lab caches that used AR, and they worked better than I expected actually.

 

Yeah, I liked the way those worked but I definitely saw room for them to be improved. How difficult that is to do...well, that's something I'll have to find out.

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Hi Snowdog!

I completed 10 AR Lab caches while at Geo-Woodstock.  On the way home I started to think about ways to use AR in my caches.  First step was finding a free or inexpensive way to do it that didn't involve an app or creating an account because they are usually not allowed.

I found a website called youaugment.com.  The program was easy to use.  Upload a target image, click a button and the program uploaded the files to github and created a website.

Click the link on your phone, enable "allow camera", and point phone at target and see the AR.

Here is my test.  Take a $1bill, aim your camera phone at it.  It should show some AR on George Washington.

I submitted it to reviewer as a simple puzzle cache on Monday.   

Today the reviewer finally responded saying there are guidelines for the AR test.  I recreated the cache on the MetaVerse app.  It works fairly well.  could not get the GPS location part to work correctly.   The HPreveal app didn't work at all, could not log in or create account.

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I just checked out the builders for both the HPReveal and the Metaverse.  Of course, I know nothing yet, but I think I have a better experience with Metaverse.  I watched a video on how to set up the app, and the site was easier to navigate.   I guess the possibilities are endless, now I just need some creative inspiration.  The demo video reminded me of something I might do with Wherigo, although I have never actually built a Wherigo cartridge.

 

 

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1 hour ago, The Snowdog said:

It looks like the geo mothership will, at least temporarily, embrace Augmented Reality software for mystery caches.

 

Great! I was really disappointed when I learned (a few months ago) that this type of mystery was forbidden. I certainly will give it a try. Thank you for pointing that out!

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I read on some Metaverse forum that experiences open up at 40 meters and you don't have the ability reduce (or increase) that range.

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Yeah metaverse seems to have the platform beyond just AR object display which is much closer to what Wherigo provides. They've been improving for some time now. Glad to see I can finally log in to the app and that bug was squashed. :P

 

But seeing the AR in the safari browser and doing really well was certainly something I hadn't expected to see. Just found out a few minutes ago that iOS 11 finally opened up camera access in the mobile browser, which makes web-based AR accessible!

 

Interested in this thread, so following...  I found one "AR_" cache published in Germany, which is disabled because with a DNF and no finds :P

I expect more iwll be popping up over the next while.

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58 minutes ago, Team Christiansen said:

I read on some Metaverse forum that experiences open up at 40 meters and you don't have the ability reduce (or increase) that range.

 

That's too bad.  Any ideas I have would involve much smaller ranges...I'll look into other options.

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4 minutes ago, J Grouchy said:

 

That's too bad.  Any ideas I have would involve much smaller ranges...I'll look into other options.

In Wherigo, you can set any range, but the Wherigo FAQ recommends 70-100 feet (21-30 meters).

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Great, let's encourage even more excuses for having our smartphones out while exploring the outdoors. Big sigh... :(

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This cache has been around for a while but it looks like the AR aspect is currently under review as Aurasma has now apparently become HP Reveal and so it might need to re-worked.

 

I have a feeling that the second method of finding the final coordinates was a pre-requisite of having this cache published.

 

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Does seem a lot of effort to invest to set one of these up though only for Groundspeak to archive it a few months later :(

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2 minutes ago, Spire67 said:

This is the only active Augmented Reality Geocache I have managed to find

 

Use the advanced search with the keyword.

There are 3 active and 1 disabled as of this post.

 

I think this is great, and since you know, we have electronics already out while we are, you know, geocaching, then this is just another great way to enhance the puzzling/exploring benefits of the hobby.

Now if you're just out hiking and enjoying the fresh air, then sure, put the phone away :P but this is for geocaching. And unless you only use your nose to navigate to digital GPS coordinates, this could be a great addition, if it works out well!

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Currently I am not a prem member so cant search by key word.
So any posted links to other acitve listings would be much appreciated.  

Thanks

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Of the 6 published so far, 5 are using Metaverse, and the one that is disabled is using HP Reveal. 

 

Of the 5 Metaverse caches, I am seeing 3 different approaches.

 

1. It seems that Metaverse is limited to using your device's GPS in the opening scene. You can only open the experience when you are within 40 meters of the programmed waypoint. After that, waypoint cannot be programmed into subsequent scenes. An example would be the cache in Arkansas.

 

2. Because of the limitation just described, another approach would be to have the cacher open several experiences (programs) in a related group, rather than multiple locations in a single experience. Example would be the cache in Australia.

 

3. The third approach would be not to program a location into the experience at all such as in the California cache. I can open the California experience on my phone here from Utah, but I can't answer the question that the experience asks because I am not at that building and can't see the object described. Although the third approach is location based, the app doesn't use your device's GPS to help you. I suspect if you answer the question correctly, the final coordinates will be given.

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Quoting Help Center:

Quote

To be allowed in Mystery Cache designs, an AR app must

  • Be available on Android and iPhone (iOS)
  • Be free to download and create account
  • Allow users to upload their own AR overlays
  • Allow location based AR experiences

 

I wonder if Augment would be allowed. What is your opinion? I'm not sure about the last two requirements.

 

(Bakground: I started to develop an AR_ cache with Augment but now I'm afraid it could be rejected, especially because I don't understand what the "Allow users to upload their own AR overlays" really mean).

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Posted (edited)

I had a quick look at MetaVerse and it doesn't seem to do what I want. I don't want characters or questions!

I was trying to do a simple 'extra information appears when phone is pointed at the correct object' style thing.
I did a quick test using YouAugment just overlaying text and it worked fine. When I tried to make a second one it won't load on my phone.

Are there any other options available available which work the same as YouAugment or the GeoWoodstock Lab caches?
For simplicity, I'd rather the end user just have a url rather than having to install an app etc.

Thanks
M

Edited by Delta68

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I'd suggest at this point examining the lab cache code or contacting any creators to find out how they put it together. From my prelim look there are tools and code packages already available that they stitched together to make those work.  Don't know if they used an overall app that set up the whole thing though. They must have used a 3D modeler or existing 3D models to generate the imagery data.

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This morning, I went to a nature trail close to where I live to mark some waypoints in anticipation of placing an AR cache there using Metaverse. During my walk, I was having difficulty with Internet connection because my cell signal was weak. Not wanting cachers to have a bad experience with connectivity, I thought I would just do a similar Wherigo cache that others wouldn't have to fight with connectivity issues.

 

But later this afternoon, I checked to see how many new AR caches have been published world wide and saw that there were 11 total -- 9 with Metaverse, 1 with HP Reveal which has been down for about 3 days, and a new one in San Diego using TailBlazer. I took a quick look at TailBlazer's website and noticed that players can download games on their device, similar to Wherigo cachers downloading cartridges, so they won't have to worry about Internet connections. I think I might give this one a try, but I'll look at their website a little more first.

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Just correcting a small typo, it should be TaleBlazer. Going to check that one out too, MetaVerse is a disappointment so far, it's way, way less advanced than anything Wherigo can do.

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Are they planning on giving the AR caches their own cache type or is the AR in front of it just for testing purposes and ease of deletion later?

 

I'm very excited for this. I've been building several field puzzle caches for a series and a few have a "create your own adventure" style multi, so an AR aspect of that would actually make them that much more fun!

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On 10/06/2018 at 8:16 AM, mimaef said:

Are they planning on giving the AR caches their own cache type or is the AR in front of it just for testing purposes and ease of deletion later?

 

The AR_ is just for ease of identifying them

 

On 10/06/2018 at 8:16 AM, mimaef said:

I'm very excited for this.


So was I for about 24 hours then I realised there aren't actually any tool-sets available yet which do what I want :(

I have a container placed and draft cache page but I suspect I will retrieve the container and archive the cache page before long ... :(

I see absolutely no point in using AR for something which could be done better as a Wherigo.

M
 

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Delta68 said:

I see absolutely no point in using AR for something which could be done better as a Wherigo.

 

I like the idea of blending / overlaying graphics / virtual items with the real world via a smartphone camera / screen but, like you, I'm yet to find a tool that will produce anything I'd be happy with.

 

And to be honest, with the prospect of Groundspeak archving AR caches within a couple of months added to the 'I'll just get the final coordinates off someone else' attitude that seems to have become the standard, I'm not willing to invest the required effort.

 

It's a shame really - it's nice to introduce new things from time to time.

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On 6/9/2018 at 4:09 AM, Vooruit! said:

Just correcting a small typo, it should be TaleBlazer. Going to check that one out too, MetaVerse is a disappointment so far, it's way, way less advanced than anything Wherigo can do.

Of the 29 caches published so far, only one has used TaleBlazer, in San Diego which just happens to be MetaVerse's HQ. I looked at the programming on that cache. TaleBlazer is far more detailed and comprehensive than MetaVerse. That San Diego cache looked really fun and I was about to copy it to make a similar cache here in Utah until I realized that it violates one of the four requirements (even though the reviewer published it) -- it doesn't use AR overlays. That is, it doesn't augment reality with an overlay, such as seeing a ghost or something when looking through your smartphone camera. 

 

Darn. Guess I will use MetaVerse instead.

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I've been lightly toying around with Zapworks. From what little I've done with it, I've liked it. The biggest hurdle is that they give you five free Zapcodes and then I think it was $1.99 for each additional one. I honestly haven't gotten far enough into it to know how far five Zapcodes would stretch in making an AR cache. But, it might be an alternative to look into.

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1 hour ago, Team Christiansen said:

Of the 29 caches published so far, only one has used TaleBlazer, in San Diego which just happens to be MetaVerse's HQ. I looked at the programming on that cache. TaleBlazer is far more detailed and comprehensive than MetaVerse. That San Diego cache looked really fun and I was about to copy it to make a similar cache here in Utah until I realized that it violates one of the four requirements (even though the reviewer published it) -- it doesn't use AR overlays. That is, it doesn't augment reality with an overlay, such as seeing a ghost or something when looking through your smartphone camera. 

 

Darn. Guess I will use MetaVerse instead.

I take back what I said previously, although the cache in San Diego doesn't have it, Tale Blazer does have an AR overlay. The game maker (cache owner) just needs to add a "Heads Up" mobile tab in the Settings tab of the TaleBlazer Editor.

 

Looks like I will use Tale Blazer afterall.

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I didn't see it posted anywhere, what's augmented reality and how would it work with caching?

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I'm working on building an AR cache myself at the moment. This promotion snuck past me, but I noticed it in the help center while checking over the challenge cache guidelines. https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=127&pgid=921

 

You can find a full list of AR caches on that page, or by searching for the keyword "AR_". https://www.geocaching.com/play/search?ot=4&kw=AR_

 

For those of you interested, I'm using a simple tool called ROAR. It doesn't have much flexibility, but it's easy to use, and considering that I've never actually created an AR experience before, I figured it was a good place to start. Only problem with it is that it only allows you to create two experiences, meaning only two scannable items. I think one could get around that by creating multiple accounts though, and it's free unless you want to purchase the ability to create more than 2 scannable items on one account.

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8 hours ago, TheLimeCat said:

For those of you interested, I'm using a simple tool called ROAR.

 

Thanks for finding that!
I've just knocked up a test and it works very well.
It's a pity the app doesn't scan automatically but I think I can live with that for now :)


M

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1 hour ago, Delta68 said:

 

Thanks for finding that!
I've just knocked up a test and it works very well.
It's a pity the app doesn't scan automatically but I think I can live with that for now :)


M

 

App installed in readiness B)

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Posted (edited)


 

2 hours ago, Team Microdot said:

 

App installed in readiness B)


:D:D

This one is very much a proof of concept.

The next one will be more like this: (possibly)  :D
 


 

Edited by Delta68
typo
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On 6/7/2018 at 1:42 AM, Team Microdot said:

Does seem a lot of effort to invest to set one of these up though only for Groundspeak to archive it a few months later :(

My thoughts exactly. I've been considering creating a Wherigo cache, and the AR concept sounds interesting, especially if it's properly supported (unlike the Wherigo platform, unfortunately). But not if the cache is going to be archived a few months later.

 

And if they grandfather them in a few months, then that means you have to do it now. You can't learn about the platform first and then do your AR cache right, because by then all the AR caches will have been archived or grandfathered, and no new AR caches will be accepted.

 

Maybe if it's a wild success and new AR caches are allowed after the trial period. But what are the odds of that, given the structure of the trial period.

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Posted (edited)

Some ways AR can be done.  But I think the first two links are just about a dot on a map, not a 3D thing.

 

Stockholm Mini Social, game for crowds.  Requires players to sign up and log in. Uses GPS for positioning. Pokémon-Go style.

More Stockholm Mini

 

Ikea Might not require you to "sign up" and "log into" a new App.  Might not need a special "marker" placed on the ground.

 

AR Demos A variety of Apps.

 

An "AR cache" may be allowed if the "AR" part is a "stage" of a cache leading to a real-world Geocache.  Yeah, like a Wherigo may be done.  In some other virtual reality, "AR" would be included in the Wherigo system.

 

Edited by kunarion

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4 hours ago, Delta68 said:


 


:D:D

This one is very much a proof of concept.

The next one will be more like this: (possibly)  :D
 


 

 

Now that's a theme with real potential!

 

 

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1 hour ago, niraD said:

And if they grandfather them in a few months, then that means you have to do it now. You can't learn about the platform first and then do your AR cache right, because by then all the AR caches will have been archived or grandfathered, and no new AR caches will be accepted.

 

I wonder how feasible it would be to submit an AR cache now, using a platform that you're "ok with but hope for something better". Then, if you do find a platform that performs the way you wanted in the first place, editing the listing to change over to this new platform. An issue I can think of is if your AR platform uses physical elements...those would be harder to switch out. But, you'd have an active listing to sort of play around with if GS decides to just grandfather AR caches.

 

Like, what I'm looking for is a platform that lets you print off the scannable element and then placing those elements at various locations so that when the person is at the location and scans the code, it would play something that is specific to that location or works with that location. I just haven't had the chance to look at any of the platforms listed already to see how workable this idea is.

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In case anyone wants to see what the TaleBlazer app looks like on the cacher's phone, I have 4 screenshots that include a map view, an AR overlay view, and views of an inventory and character interaction. Note that unlike other AR apps, the AR overlay isn't a cartoon character floating across your camera screen.

AR Overlay.png

Interaction.png

Inventory.png

Map.png

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47 minutes ago, Crow-T-Robot said:

Like, what I'm looking for is a platform that lets you print off the scannable element and then placing those elements at various locations so that when the person is at the location and scans the code, it would play something that is specific to that location or works with that location. I just haven't had the chance to look at any of the platforms listed already to see how workable this idea is.

 

Closest I've seen that I really like and am going to play with is Zappar. I've tested it a bit and it's really nice - doesn't (yet) have location-based elements, but the ability to create AR with image recognition is spot on. I have many ideas. :)

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Not also that (as far as I know) TaleBlazer AR is GPS- and device-orientation-based estimated element positioning on screen. Basically the same thing that the older astronomy apps did for overlaying stars and constellations to the sky.  It's AR, but it's relatively simplistic. That could easily be added to Wherigo with its existing setup were someone to improve the app a bit :)

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4 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

Not also that (as far as I know) TaleBlazer AR is GPS- and device-orientation-based estimated element positioning on screen.

You have the option to use live Google Maps (using data), or a screen-captured custom map. You as creator can select which characters, including the player, show up on the map (and AR overlay) and when. You can also set up whatever proximity you are to a character before it's interaction automatically pops up.

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7 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

 

Closest I've seen that I really like and am going to play with is Zappar. I've tested it a bit and it's really nice - doesn't (yet) have location-based elements, but the ability to create AR with image recognition is spot on. I have many ideas. :)

 

That's the platform I've been looking at as well and was pretty impressed with it. I just haven't gone far enough into building an experience to really know some of the limitations and/or possibilities.

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58 minutes ago, Team Christiansen said:
1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

Not also that (as far as I know) TaleBlazer AR is GPS- and device-orientation-based estimated element positioning on screen.

You have the option to use live Google Maps (using data), or a screen-captured custom map. You as creator can select which characters, including the player, show up on the map (and AR overlay) and when. You can also set up whatever proximity you are to a character before it's interaction automatically pops up.

 

Yes, however I was only referring to the Heads-up AR display:  Elements are positioned on the screen based on estimation of their location in relation to the device GPS location and visual orientation of the camera.

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2 hours ago, Team Christiansen said:

You have the option to use live Google Maps (using data), or a screen-captured custom map. You as creator can select which characters, including the player, show up on the map (and AR overlay) and when. You can also set up whatever proximity you are to a character before it's interaction automatically pops up.

Thank you for the tip on the Overlay! I was playing with the creation software and didn't notice this was available. Taleblazer seems like the better of the two, despite its inability to overlay fun characters. I really like that you can make a "create your own adventure" sort of deal by hiding the Agents until the player does certain things.

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3 hours ago, Team Christiansen said:

In case anyone wants to see what the TaleBlazer app looks like on the cacher's phone, I have 4 screenshots that include a map view, an AR overlay view, and views of an inventory and character interaction. Note that unlike other AR apps, the AR overlay isn't a cartoon character floating across your camera screen.

AR Overlay.png

Interaction.png

Inventory.png

Map.png

 

Kind of looks like a nice direction for a sort of Wherigo 2.0.  Groundspeak, if you're listening, this looks pretty cool.

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Yep, TaleBlazer felt VERY Wherigo-like to me, with the addition of a light AR mode showing waypoint locations on screen.  Potential there.

 

I'm still waiting to find an AR system that has image recognition and location-based content with full AR virtual 3D environmental content!  Just combine a few of the services linked in this thread and hit go plz! :laughing:

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That does look good! Just had my first Metaverse cache published, but this looks like something to try as well! Metaverse is way too restricted compared to Wherigo.

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As of this post, 63 AR caches have been published -- 60 with Metaverse, 2 with HP Reveal, and 1 with TaleBlazer.

 

Has anybody heard of cache submissions with other apps? I submitted with TaleBlazer and was initially rejected because it wasn't one of the only two approved apps, Metaverse and HP Reveal. I pointed out that the Help Center article suggests that any app could be approved if it met the listed requirements, something that TaleBlazer in fact does and that one cache has already been approved with it. He responded that his understanding was that if the app was outside of the two apps on the approved list, that it has to be forwarded up to HQ. He's waiting to hear back from HQ to see if he can publish my cache. Although I am anxious, I will just have to be patient. I was hoping, however, that reviewers could make the individual judgement call on this since the rules seem fairly clear.

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