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A method and apparatus of enriching functions and information of paper maps

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000239429D
Publication Date: 2014-Nov-06
Document File: 8 page(s) / 137K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

In very ancient times, we’ve started to use paper maps to provide geographic knowledge and guide us how to determine position and orientation in our work, life, entertainment and expeditions. Paper maps are lightweight, so as to be carried around with ease. On the other hand, they could be folded into little blocks, and show very large area when spread out then. Currently there are many emerging e-maps applications, which include not only locations but also all kinds of information: routes, directions, street scenes, etc. We can access e-maps easily via mobile devices or browsers. But their display areas are limited to screen sizes of mobile devices, even though you could zoom in or out the area, but it is difficult to identify details of these larger areas. On this point, by comparison with paper maps, e-maps could not easily show the overall information of a map --- it’s hard to distinguish relationship between local area and global map, and is also difficult to track a long route, railway or river which spans over several areas. We design a method to integrate paper maps and mobile devices, so as both to take the advantage of paper maps for overview and inspection, and to make full use of facility of mobile devices to provide and update various information. In the method, we take a picture for a paper map with cameras on our mobile devices, then the system matches the picture with some map areas in library, at last information and function related to this area will be displayed on screen of mobile devices. One method to match picture with map areas is to mark this area in actual maps with specific symbols. In order to easily differentiate marking symbols with actual map notations, we could make these symbols with different colors, so that the system could identify these symbols in a picture captured by a normal camera. Our solution includes two subsystems and processes, i.e. generation of extended maps and additional digital information, and operation on this system using mobile devices.

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A method and apparatus of enriching functions and information of paper maps

     In very ancient times, we've started to use paper maps to provide geographic knowledge and guide us how to determine position and orientation in our work, life, entertainment and expeditions. Paper maps are lightweight, so as to be carried around with ease. On the other hand, they could be folded into little blocks, and show very large area when spread out then.

Currently there are many emerging e-maps. which include not only locations but also all kinds of information: routes, directions, street scenes, etc. We can access e-maps easily via mobile devices or browsers. But their display areas are limited to screen sizes of mobile devices, even though you could zoom in or out the area, but it is difficult to identify details of these larger areas. On this point, by comparison with paper maps, e-maps could not easily show the overall information of a map --- it's hard to distinguish relationship between local area and global map, and is also difficult to track a long route, railway or river which spans over several areas.

Augmented reality is now a very popular and promising technology that could be used to expand classical maps. In augmented maps, virtual 3D entities are displayed on a 2D map if the map is observed via a screen, such as mobile devices or other wearable gadgets. Development for system of augmented paper maps usually includes the following steps: 1) initializing cameras so as to get camera parameters and standard template library; 2) taking a picture of paper maps; 3) identifying tags in the picture; 4) calculating transform matrix between view point and tags; 5) overlaying virtual entities based on transform matrix; 6) closing video stream. Herein, it's a loop from step 2 through step 5, so you could run this process several times, and step 1 and step 6 are executed only when you initialize and exit from this system. However, the main function of augmented maps is to overlay 3D virtual scene onto 2D plain maps, so which need involve complicated pattern design and tag identification. Currently the results of virtual scene calculation and overlaying are not necessarily good.

We need design a method to integrate paper maps and mobile devices, so as both to take the advantage of paper maps for overview and inspection, and to make full use of facility of mobile devices to provide and update various information.

     In the method, we take a picture for a paper map with cameras on our mobile devices, then the system matches the picture with some map areas in library, at last information and function related to this area will be displayed on screen of mobile devices. One method to match picture with map areas is to mark this area in actual maps with specific symbols. In order to easily differentiate marking symbols with actual map notations, we could make these symbols with different colors, so that the system could identify these symbols in a picture c...