VR Map: Using OSM Data In a WebVR Environment

Robert Kaiser

Playlists: 'sotm2019' videos starting here / audio / related events

Can you actually walk through or fly over a 3D scene of live OSM data using a VR headset - and if so, can this be done in a way that easily transforms to a view on a normal computer (or mobile) screen?
The answers are "Yes" and "Yes", and this talk will show how this can be done with relatively simple code, and just inside a web browser!

Mixed Reality (XR), i.e. Virtual and Augmented Reality, opens up new possibilities for 3D visualizations of OpenStreetMap data. With WebXR and Mozilla's A-Frame library, it's really simple to create cross-device XR experiences running right in the browser with very little code, and scaling well from mobile via laptop/desktop to fully immersive VR headset experiences. VR Map is a demo that brings all that together and allows you to walk or "fly" through a virtual model of the real world courtesy of live OSM data from the Overpass API.

The talk will describe WebXR as Mixed Reality APIs for the browser and A-Frame as Mozilla's library to make it really simple to build WebXR scenes. Then, it will dive into how those technologies were used together with live OSM data to create the VR Map demo and show how it enables people to move through virtual models built from that real-world data. This will include a dive into an actual live demo, and into the HTML+JavaScript code used to create this experience. Through all that, it hopefully will show an interesting new perspective on OpenStreetMap - and hopefully inspire developers to build similar experiences.