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Augmented Reality#3: Using the Geo AR (Augmented Reality) Toolkit

Now if you have been following along on some of my previous posts about Augmented Reality (AR), you’ll know that the Mango release of Windows Phone offers some great support for developers. So far we have looked at displaying the live video feed from the VideoBrush and also added some Accelerometer features to create a see-through spirit level.

With the release of the Geo Augmented Reality Toolkit (GART), many of the operations required to show geographical points in relation to the user’s current position have been greatly simplified.

First things first, you’ll need to download the GART binary from Codeplex. There are also a number of samples available for download which will help you on your way. Once you’ve downloaded and extracted the dll, you can add a reference to GART into your existing projects and be on your way to easier Augmented Reality apps.

Start a new Silverlight for Windows Phone – Windows Phone Application project in Visual Studio.  Make sure to select Windows Phone 7.1 for the OS when you are offered the choice.
Add a reference to GART to your project and add a the following to you MainPage.xaml


You will also need to add a reference to System.Device to be able to include Location functionality, such as the GeoCoordinate class.

At the heart of GART is the ARDisplay control, which packages together a number of UI elements, as well as lots of complex calculations to make working with AR apps very easy.  The first UI elements we will look at are the OverheadMap and WorldView components.

The OverheadMap element renders just like the regular Map control and displays a Bing map. The WorldView element displays the geographical points in three dimensional space and lies at the heart of any good AR app.

The simplest way to get started with GART is to start by adding a few GeoCoordinate points to the ARDisplay control and checking the results using the OverheadMap UI element. To achieve this, add the ARDisplay control to your MainPage.xaml.

<Grid x:Name="ContentPanel" Grid.Row="1" Margin="12,0,12,0">
    <ARControls:ARDisplay x:Name="ARDisplay" d:LayoutOverrides="Width">
        <ARControls:OverheadMap x:Name="OverheadMap" />
        <ARControls:WorldView x:Name="WorldView" />

In the code behind, add a few points that you want to show as labels on your new AR app. If you are using the emulator your “current” location will be set to the Microsoft campus in Redmond, so make sure the points you select are located nearby. Currently the Worldview only shows points within 100 meters of your current location.

You can use the AddLabel code from the GART samples to display the GeoCoordinate points you create using this sort of code;

GeoCoordinate pt4 = new GeoCoordinate(47.64523, -122.14090);

AddLabel(pt4, "Studio E");

Now that we have some geographical points we want to display and have set the current location to use for the centre of the ARDisplay, all that is left is to tell the ARDisplay to start running - you can add this code the OnNavigateTo event if you always want to start the control.

protected override void OnNavigatedTo(System.Windows.Navigation.NavigationEventArgs e)


    // Start AR services





Run the project, but be warned, AR functionality is really only useful when testing on a real device. If you are using the emulator you will get the great map shown below, complete with some strange text that overlaps each other.

Posted: Nov 10 2011, 06:23 by CameronM | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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Filed under: Windows Phone 7 | WP7