As helpful as it is, Google Maps isn't the only mapping app with augmented reality walking navigation anymore.
This week, Israel-based startup Moovit introduced a new AR navigation feature called Way Finder for its eponymous navigation app for public transit and ridesharing services. Launched as a beta version, Way Finder helps users find bus stops and entrances for subway stations, as well as route guidance toward those destinations.
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The feature is rolling out immediately to the iOS version of Moovit.
In order to use it, Moovit users need to activate the feature under Settings and then the Labs section. The feature can then be accessed in Live Directions by tapping the blue Way Finder button and holding up the phone to view your immediate surroundings.
Similar to Live View in Google Maps, Way Finder in Moovit shows both the live camera view with icons overlaid on the physical environment and a traditional map view on the bottom half of the screen.
The genesis of the feature, according to the company, came from user feedback, with one user asking for a method to determine which side of the street a bus stop might be in various locations. Moovit developers then began creating the feature during an internal hackathon in July 2019.
Competitor Google Maps isn't resting on its laurels, though. As part of its 15th birthday celebration for Google Maps, Google shared a sneak peek at some new features currently in testing for its Live View AR walking navigation feature.
Within the next few months, Live View will supply the distance and direction for destinations with overlays in augmented reality.
I've personally found the Live View feature, first released in preview to Local Guides and then to Pixel owners, to be very helpful in unfamiliar cities, namely during recent trips to Atlanta and Washington, DC. However, the feature has recently disappeared on Pixel devices.
Hopefully, strong competition from the likes of Moovit and others will encourage Google to bring Live View back sooner rather than later.