Cliff Peskin


February 4, 2010

Augmented reality real estate apps are coming to Canada. They will allow you to point your mobile phone camera at a property for sale and see related listing information overlayed on top of your screen.

Petra Jones of REM writes, “Augmented reality technology allows us to overlay statistics and information on the real world as seen through a mobile phone, guiding us to property listing locations and providing data on the things that we see. The world’s first augmented reality browser, Layar, was unveiled last summer and this technology is already being used to build real estate apps.”

Augmented reality has been made possible by the inclusion of accelerometers and digital compasses on GPS enabled phones such as the iPhone 3GS and Google Android powered devices such as the T-Mobile G1 and HTC Magic. Accelerometers and digital compasses allow GPS enabled phones to determine complete orientation and location data. The phone knows where you are and what you’re pointing at.

According to Petra Jones, the first real estate related app was built by French company Meilleurs Agents. They used the Layar technology to create a property valuation app. Users can point a Layar-enabled phone camera at any Parisian building to show the estimated value of that property. Prices are displayed per square metre in Euros. If you’re happy to watch a video in French, you can check out the MeilleurAgents app here.

One of the largest real estate search engines out of the United States, Truila, has also developed a Layar based augmented reality app. Trulia displays properties for sale or rent using an Android cellphone camera with information on sale price and pictures you can browse of the property’s interior, plus a contact number for the real estate agent. The real estate search engine company claims the app took them just three hours to create! Check it out here.

And, of interest to those in Toronto, Augmented reality is already here. Vinvolve has developed a Toronto subway system app that shows you where to find the nearest station. Video of Winvolve’s subway Layar here.

It shouldn’t be long until Augmented Reality sunglasses become available at which point we point we all become the Terminator.

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