Augmented Reality

Talk About Local wants to help people who run local websites stay up to date with the latest technologies.  Augmented reality is the new kid on the block – here’s a video of William showing what this looks like on an iPad, it’s all very sci fi.  The BBC filmed us demonstrating our AR product for a feature piece on the future of maps.  You can use AR on a smart phone too. We’ve developed an easy way for a blog or website owner to geo-tag their content and get it into an augmented reality environment in a few simple clicks.  We hope this will help people understand how they can use AR to make local information more easily accessible.

It’s all a bit of an experiment and we’d be delighted if you were to join us.  We can help hyperlocal bloggers and other publishers get their articles and posts into an AR environment free of charge (on a first come first serve basis).

You need to geo-tag your stuff (see below) and then give us an RSS feed of your geo-tagged content.   We pull that feed into Layar using some software we have developed called Apollo.  Then like any good feed, your new stuff updates into Layar automatically.

If you run a site you can submit your site to our Apollo system using the form here-  we shall check that you have geotagged content on your site, then we shall stick it into Layar, subject to conditions below.

We prefer to support independent sites, but we are happy to take commercial sites too, within reason as part of the experiment.  If any local newspapers have geotagged content in a feed, please come forward.

Stuart Harrison talks here about seeing a feed he is responsible for from a council website pasted into our service and appearing instantly in AR.


Here’s a simple presentation on this ‘click,copy,paste,forget’ model we did for the NESTA Destination Local project.


We will be running a short webinar on 25 July at 1500 for hyperlocal sites and Nesta Destination Local projects.


Resourses and info

For help geotagging content look at the following resources:

  • for you will need to enable Geotagging in the settings and just click on the map with each post – you can geo-tag posts you have already published
  • for (self hosted) you will need to install the plugin developed by Adrian Short for Talk About Local which gives a clean geo-rss feed.
  • You can also geotag in Blogger and create geotagged content which has an RSS feed in other services like n0tice, Flikr, Audioboo, FixMyStreet etc. You sometimes have to poke around in these services to find the feed, but it’s there.

During this beta all the stuff we feed into Layar is going into one national layer called hypARlocal Apollo. You can find it in Layar under local information services.  Content submitted through Apollo is usually presented in Layar as fully clickable – i.e. people can tap it on screen and be taken to the original website.

Your content feed doesn’t have to be a blog, just have an RSS feed with some geo-data in there.  A good way to test is to paste the RSS feed into the google maps search box. If you see a map with pins it could work for us.

You can read more about the hypARlocal project on the project blog.

The service is still in Beta and is still in development. You shouldn’t rely on it for anything critical and by taking part in the beta you are joining us in an experiment with the risks that that entails, in particular that it might go through spells of not working. Talk About Local can have no liability for any loss or injury you may suffer when using this beta service. We reserve the right not to take feeds that are spammy or cross the line. You remain responsible for any defamatory material, we’ll take down anything properly notified to us using our contact details elsewhere on this website.

Huge thanks go to super-developer Adrian Short who built the Apollo service we use to paste feeds into Layar via their API and have the posts display nicely. And not least to our backers NESTA’s Destination Local programme and The Nominet Trust.  We shall publish the code for Apollo as open source in due course.