The Many Meanings of Mixed Reality

“This technology is like a caveman fire for people to huddle around ” says Len Bundra, the IT/GIS director for the Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority (TRMUA) in Toms River, New Jersey . “When you put on the HoloLens, the more utility lines you see underneath you, the more utilitarian the product becomes. Now we’re suddenly huddling around the fire.”

It was december 2016 when Bundra started developing his Mixed-reality project combining three existing excellence-technologies in a state-of-the-art application: Esri’s  GIS , Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing service and HoloLens, all integrated and customized by Meemim Inc., a Toronto-based company.
Within three months, Meemim Inc. had created the app called vGIS, which could process ArcGIS feature services, upload the output to Meemim’s Microsoft Azure cloud service, and communicate directly with HoloLens to create the holographic projection of underground utility features from the perspective of the headset wearer’s location and orientation.

Somebody may ask: What do we mean when we mention Mixed Reality? The key characteristic of Mixed reality -which is an overlay of virtual content on the real world that is anchored to and interacts with-  is that these two contents are able to react to each other in real time.

To be fair, this is actually just one of the many purposes the Geographical Information System mixed with augmented reality can apply and benefit to: “The combination of GIS and augmented reality can address a lot of interesting business cases across industries,” Cindy Elliott, head of commercial industry marketing for Esri says. “The technology is certainly powerful in outdoor settings like Toms River, but GIS and AR can also create efficiencies in warehousing, real estate, retail planning, and manufacturing.”
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