Google recently held its Immersive Geospatial Challenge, letting developers compete for the best application of its Geospatial API. This is Google’s toolset for building immersive mapping and location products that tap into the same underlying tech that powers its Live View feature.

As background, Live View lets users navigate using AR arrows that guide them from a first-person perspective. It’s especially useful to orient oneself when emerging from underground transit. And more recently, Google has added identifying info along the routes, such as storefronts.

To do this, Google taps into its knowledge graph including Street View data and Google Business Profiles. The former lets devices localize by matching what the camera sees with Street View imagery. And the latter does similar in identifying storefronts and points of interest.

With that underlying data set, Google decided that the technology deserves more mileage than its own apps and features like Live View. So the Geospatial API was born. It essentially crowdsources innovation to developers everywhere… and they’re starting to get creative with it.

“We were impressed by the innovation and creativity of the projects submitted,” said Google VP of AR, Shahram Izadi, of the IG challenge. “Over 2,700 participants across 100+ countries joined to build something they were truly passionate about and to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”

In that spirit, here are this year’s winners…

Category: Entertainment & Events

World Ensemble

World Ensemble is an audio-visual app that positions sound objects in 3D, creating an immersive audio-visual experience.

Realistic Event Showcaser

Realistic Event Showcaser is a fully configurable and immersive platform to customize your event experience and showcase its unique location stories and charm.


navigAtoR is an augmented reality app that is changing the way you navigate through cities by providing a 3-dimensional map of your surroundings.

Category: Commerce

love ya

love ya showcases three user scenarios for a special time of year that connect local businesses with users.

Category: Travel and Local Discovery

Sutro Baths AR Tour

This guided tour through the Sutro Baths historical landmark using an illuminated walking path, information panels with text and images, and a 3D rendering of how the Sutro Baths swimming pool complex would appear to those attending.

Hyper Immersive Panorama

Hyper Immersive Panorama uses real time facial detection to allow the user to look left, right, up or down, in the virtual 3D environment.

The World is Flooding!

The World is Flooding! allows you to visualize a 3D, realistic flooding view of your neighborhood.

Category: Productivity and Business


GeoViz revolutionizes architectural design, allowing users to create, modify, and visualize architectural designs in their intended context. The platform facilitates real-time collaboration, letting multiple users contribute to designs and view them in AR on location.


Geospatial Solar

Geospatial Solar combines the Google Geospatial API with the Google Solar API for instant analysis of a building’s solar potential by simply tapping it.

EarthLink – Geospatial Social Media

EarthLink is the first geospatial social media platform that uses 3D photorealistic tiles to enable users to create and share immersive experiences with their friends.

Honorable Mentions

Congrats to all the winners and everyone who submitted. You can see the full lot of submissions here. As noted, there were more than 2,700 participants from 100+ countries. And for additional context, the judging criteria involved the following five areas…

Functionality: How are the APIs used in the application?
Purpose: What problem is the application solving?
Content: How creative is the application?
User Experience: How easy is the application to use?
Technical Execution: How well are you showcasing Geospatial Creator and/or Photorealistic 3D Tiles?

More from AR Insider…