Pokémon Go creator Niantic announces AR mapping and 'real world metaverse'

Niantic Campfire
Niantic Campfire (Image credit: Niantic)

What you need to know

  • Niantic held its Lightship Summit on Tuesday.
  • The Pokémon Go creator has this week announced its new location mapping software for AR.
  • It has also taken the covers off a new location-based social media effort called 'Campfire'.

Pokémon Go creator Niantic this week announced its new location mapping software for AR, VPS, along with a brand new location-based social network called Campfire.

Niantic's Visual Positioning System lets developers give users the option to determine their position and orientation and anchor AR content, adding locations to Niantic's AR map of the world to build their own location-based AR apps and experiences. 30,000 such public locations are available including in San Francisco, London, Tokyo, LA, NYC, and more. Niantic says that VPS is powered by scans from its players of the real world known as Wayspots taken from Ingress and Pokémon Go, as well as millions of photos taken on devices like the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13

Then, there's Campfire, which Niantic describes as a "real-world Metaverse":

Campfire is a real-world social network which starts with a map and adds people, events, communities, and messaging. We think of it as the "homepage" of the real-world Metaverse - a place where players can discover other players in their local area, message one another and share content, organize their own events and meetups, and foster the kinds of real-world social connections that have always been at the core of what Niantic does.

The Campfire social integration will let future users have real-life meetups for events such as Pokémon Go raids and more.

VPS is part of Niantic's Lightship platform, which lets devices cooperate using shared AR experiences in real-time. With innovation from companies like Niantic, AR promises to be one of the best iPhone features of the future and could pave the way for great experiences on products like Apple VR too.

You can read all of the Lightship Summit announcements here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9