A picture is worth a thousand words – we have all heard it. But there is evidence that students learn quicker and better through augmented reality. As Jose Dolz of the ARLAB explains, “…For instance, in mathematics and geometry the main advantage of using an AR system is that students actually see three dimensional objects which previously they had to calculate and construct with traditional methods, like pen and paper. Instead of working with such old methods, it is better working working directly in 3D space. As a result, complex spatial problems may be comprehended better and faster, as well as spatial relations.”
Many of us have backgrounds in working with maps, design software and other technologies that include graphic representations. We know from our own experiences that images improve the ability to communicate and therefore to understand. Augmented reality brings with it an ability to personalize graphics and to tailor them to the audience. Childrens content can include suitable pictures and content for that age level, curious people can be challenged through the inclusion of content that causes them to engage and discover. Meanwhile, some forms of augmented reality might include content that specifically addresses certain kinds of technical tools, analytical tools and or planning tools, for example.
A key value of augmented is the ability to change between these forms of communication and criss-cross boundaries, languages, cultures and levels of knowledge. That interactive capability ensures people remain engaged.
People often ask me, “are new technologies better than maps” – I think they are referring to paper maps. The fact is, new forms of mapping are now including these technologies for augmented expressions. Our concepts of maps are changing.
At the same time, planning tools and augmented reality have new roles in planning and design where different possibilities can be explored, represented and challenged. Geographic information systems (GIS) are natural partners for augmented reality, after all, they include layers and layers of possibilities, many of which can only be seen through knowledge, trial and error or sheer exploration.