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Using AR to imagine Harrow

Written By Scott McCubbin
2 mins read

The people at Harrow Council have big plans for the town of Wealdstone. A major transformation will take place over the coming years and they want to foster a sense of pride and excitement locally. They also want to reach out further, telling others in London about their story. No easy feat when so many towns and place are going through regeneration.

When we spoke to them about creating a communication tool, they had one major criteria; it had to be technology driven and innovative. They wanted a piece that would break with the norm, engage, and encourage people to talk and share the story of change.

Our solution was to use AR (augmented reality) to bring the vision to life in 3D. Combining the technology with a physical paper map of the town it gives the experience multiple layers of information to explore. By mixing traditional, physical communication with technology allows the story to be told in an intuitive way.

When the user holds their phone or tablet over the physical map, it showcases the benefits of each development - things quite literally come to life as you’re looking at it from kids on skateboards to oversized tea cups to hearing the buzz of each of the areas. The user can select one of four developments and can explore the form and features themselves. As well as being very interactive the app also features a voice-over narrative from Game of Thrones actress Indira Varma to help guide the user through the story.  

The AR functionality and the bright, bold design project make this an exciting tool for the Council to get people excited about their wider programme,  'Building a Better Harrow'. They’ll be showing their AR map at the MIPIM Property Festival in Cannes from tomorrow. They’ll be at the Harrow Stand within the London Pavilion, so pop in and see it for yourself!

The UK government has also chosen to use the Harrow AR piece in its Digital Showcase at the UK Pavilion, one of a handful of pieces selected as innovative ways of using AR to communicate places.

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