Spring and Summer are traditionally the seasons for big conventions all around the globe. At the end of June, Amsterdam was the location for Unite Europe 2017, a convention hosted by the people behind Unity.

The purpose of Unite Europe is to bring together developers, content creators, artists and everybody else who’s working with Unity. Merkator uses Unity for its HoloLens development and we wanted to see first-hand what the future holds for Unity. This was also a perfect opportunity to talk to other developers and companies and get their thoughts on Mixed & Augmented Reality.

Mixed and Augmented Reality is booming

Mixed and Augmented Reality is booming, and that’s been made pretty clear by the sheer number of companies at Unite’s Exhibition Floor who were showcasing their work. Ranging from Vuforia, over Mapbox, to small independent companies like Idle Hands Productions, you couldn’t turn your head and not see anything VR/AR related!

Even Ubisoft, one of the world’s biggest game developers, is also jumping on the AR wagon and presented a small proof of concept of some apps/games they’re working on for Microsoft’s Hololens.

Sharing thoughts

Speaking of presentations, we had the opportunity to talk to the HoloLens Program Director at Unite. We shared thoughts on the HoloLens, where we are with Augmented Reality now and what the future might hold. Clearly Microsoft has a lot in store for us in the coming months and years. Augmented Reality will truly have its place in our daily lives.

The Mapbox Booth

Common Challenges

It was also a great experience to be able to talk to other HoloLens developers and hear about the challenges they’re facing in their typical business cases, and share thoughts on the challenges in our specific business cases.

A practical example: When your HoloLens application relies on Spatial Mapping (i.e. HoloLens’ awareness of your surroundings and objects in the room), you have to make sure that the HoloLens gets enough time at the start of your app to scan the environment. Ubisoft had a great way of working around this by having the user perform some sort of a calibration process in their app. They ask the user to follow around an object with the HoloLens, giving the device the opportunity to scan in the environment. A clever solution to a common challenge.

What’s next

Mapformer in action.

Next up for us if off course to take all this new information and knowledge in, and go to work with it. We’d like to try out the new Vuforia Model Targets SDK, Mapbox’s SDK and the Mapformer package from Idle Hands. Stay tuned for more updates!

Did you know…

That Microsoft is actively developing for HoloLens, but so are many other companies? Have a look at these impressive videos ranging from making calls with Skype, to Augmented Eductation!


Finally, did you know that Merkator is also developing for the HoloLens? Stay tuned, because our HoloLens App will prove to be a window to new ways of working for our customers!

Christopher De Bruyn

Christopher De Bruyn

Senior Geo-ICT Consultant

Christopher is part of our R&D team that investigates the potential of new technologies such as Microsoft Hololens in the markets we serve. Christopher has a vast experience in specific customer training, holds a Bachelor degree in Applied ICT (Ghent – Belgium, 2005) and is a Microsoft adept and guru.

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