Mapping the Future

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“People are familiar with these areas,” confirms Kelly Malone, vice president of product management and business development at Taqtile, another outfit working with real city data.

Taqtile is not a game developer, Malone is keen to point out. Its team builds applications of many kinds, having made a decision some 20 months ago to focus new attention on VR and AR. But Taqtile has acquired a game studio, Kihon Games, to help it better understand how game technologies are increasingly used to serve many different sectors currently embracing what VR and AR have to offer.

Taqtile’s apps have historically been about places and events. Now, in building HoloMaps, the team is working on a project for HoloLens that lets users stand over, interact with and in some cases upload 3D models of real cities, inspired by the ‘projected strategic maps’ seen in films like The Hunger Games and Prometheus.

“Cities can be iconic and add a sense of reality to a game when it takes place somewhere familiar,” Malone says. “The second thing is that, from a developer’s perspective, building content is time consuming and expensive. If you can access content that has already been built and is available, then that can really cut down on development time, letting you focus on things that are more important. In our case, instead of worrying about the geometry of buildings, we can now focus on the more important data overlays and the context we want to put around those buildings and places. That’s true whether using existing real-world locations, or if they’re dynamically generating those locations with tools like Esri’s City Engine.”