Pros and cons of using augmented reality in the newsroom

Augmented reality (AR) has the power to bring a real sense of context to the reader - instead of just showing the aerial photograph, a map, or a satellite image of a particular area, you can offer your audience almost a first-hand experience by showing the details as well as the scale of an object.

"If, for example, you are discussing Lebanese cedars, the famous old trees that are dying out because of climate change, why not to put one in your front yard just to see how large and significant it is?," suggested Steve Johnson, founder of an AR production company SeeBoundless. 

"You know the size of your house or your car. When you put an object next to it, your brain is now processing a contextualised image in relation to what you are already familiar with, as opposed to the size of the screen of a desktop or a smartphone."

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Using Drone Photogrammetry for News

News organizations have been pushing technological boundaries for more than a century to deliver content to audiences in new ways that increase understanding of editorial content and the value of the product.

Cost and computing power have historically been the two largest barriers to entry to photogrammetry in news production. However, news producers can now create accurate and detailed maps, objects and tools for audiences to interact with and consume all because of the advancement of consumer cameras, drones and efficient algorithmic photogrammetry software, both locally and cloud based.

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DIS Berlin - Building AR Journalism Projects for Top Media Brands of Various Sizes

Drone photogrammetry: how we can take consumer drones and smartphones to build complex augmented reality objects - on budget and on deadline. The team at SeeBoundless have scanned objects from the mountains of Taiwan to the remote highlands of Bolivia to show audiences just how diverse cities can be as a part of the first journalism AR series. After months of research and development, their process of photogrammetry takes a matter of hours and can be used across a diverse set of mobile websites, apps and platforms to bring objects, buildings, art and landscapes right into audience’s living rooms.

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Quartz Launches The 2050 Project - First AR Journalism Series

From Bolivia to Pittsburgh, Quartz sent reporters around the world to explore innovative architecture that helps solve challenges of urban living. By capturing 360 degree videos using drone technology, videographer and photographers Steve Johnson and Melissa Lyttle provided stunning footage of each structure that the Quartz team developed into interactive AR models embedded within each article page.

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Virtual reality tours give rural students a glimpse of college life

The first time that Nyah visited the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for a campus tour, there wasn’t much of a chance to see what takes place inside the classrooms.

“We just walked by buildings and the guide talked about what goes on inside,” Nyah recalls of the campus tour this past spring.

But during a second “tour” of UNC Greensboro this fall, Nyah, now a senior, got to see students in a science lab, even though she never left her high school in Roxboro, North Carolina, a small city of about 8,400 more than an hour from the Greensboro campus.

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Can a Trash Can Reveal a Community’s Values?

One of the most striking cultural symbols upon arriving in Copenhagen is the sheer number of cyclists navigating city streets—in fact bicycles outnumber cars!

But during my recent visit, it was the trash cans that actually caught my eye.

Just as in many U.S. cities, Copenhagen’s citizens can return used bottles and cans for cash. But, unlike other cities, Copenhagen’s trash cans are equipped with small “deposit” shelves on the outside to place recyclables. This provides an easier, safer, and more sanitary way of collecting discarded cans. Instead of digging through trash cans overflowing with smelly garbage and sharp glass, collectors can easily retrieve bottles and cans from these exterior shelves.

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A Year in 360: Lessons from Shooting Spherical Video Across the Globe

It’s not every day you get to experiment with new forms of media. We have seen astonishing new ways to move the camera from drones to gimbals which can push the boundaries of photography and videography. 

We have seen the rise of in-depth podcasts from companies like Gimlet Media change the radio game. And news as a whole has seen drastic changes in distribution from social networks to digital subscriptions. But with 360 video, we had to invent the techniques and write the book ourselves—all while in the middle of trying to produce quality content.

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