Augmented Reality: A Point of Interest for the Web

Last month’s Augmented Reality on the Web workshop in Barcelona has sparked a good deal of debate within and around W3C. As the final report shows, the workshop brought together many different companies and organizations working on or with a direct interest in the field of Augmented Reality — but how can W3C help in this area?

One outcome is clear: we need a method for representing data about points of interest and proposals are advancing to achieve this in a new POI Working Group. Quite what data needs to be represented concerning Points of Interest depends on who you ask. For some it’s a question of annotating a given point on the Earth’s surface where the longitude, latitude and altitude are all key identifiers. For others it’s more a question of the point at a given distance and angle from an object that may or may not be static as seen by an observer who may themselves also be moving.

Different communities are involved here: as well as the augmented reality community, the linked data community has a keen interest. There are other facets to the discussion too and this is what will make the POI working group’s work interesting!

The workshop also recommended that a new POI WG should go further and consider the wider picture of how AR does, or might, relate to the Web. Privacy is a major concern; device APIs are critical enablers; do CSS and SVG have sufficient power to support AR functions? Even the use of HTTP as a transport mechanism is questioned by some given the real time nature of AR.

To join the debate about all this, please subscribe to the Point of Interest mailing list and keep an eye out for calls for review of the charter in the near future.