Navigating Urban Planning with Augmented Reality

Imagine being able to see your city on top of a table: 3D buildings surrounded by a mesh of roads with real-time traffic or floodplains vividly expressing the resiliency of your urban infrastructure. It’s a galvanizing picture one that not only offers the same location intelligence found in a typical, web-based dashboard, but also liberates that emotional response only found when you merge the virtual and physical worlds.

Vizonomy is building these immersive and emotionally-responsive worlds through augmented reality.

Leveraging video-game technology, basemaps from Mapbox, and data connectors from CARTO, we are developing such solutions for cities.

At Vizonomy, we work constantly with state and local governments and development agencies. Together, these insights offer us clues on how new technologies can promote a sustainable city. For example, with the Inter-American Development Bank, Vizonomy is using drones to develop a 3D rendering of small villages in Honduras. Layered with census data and flood risk areas, our dashboards are now in your world: in a meeting, on a table, or any other flat surface. Zoom, pan, or just immerse yourself and see the power location of data. In this case, such visualizations will help the local government identify areas susceptible to flooding, and alongside help push public awareness (and support for resiliency measures) in areas mostly needed.

How Augmented Reality Works

Using virtual headsets or new mobile devices such as the iPhoneX or Samsung Galaxy S9, new infrared sensors create a mesh of millions of points every second which then help identify flat surfaces (or create an emoji face) in real time. Below, we are projecting New York City over a regular 36"x60" desk.

The 3D maps and spatial data are transformed from a typical latitude and longitude coordinate and onto an x, y, z plane that is constantly being calculated as the user moves its headset or tilts the phone. As developers we then layer these datasets — buildings, roads, floodplains, clouds, everything — like a sandwich and then push these updates through a customized mobile app or site. The data can be static like a building skeleton or dynamic like a sensor with real-time statistics on its status.

As we move forward in Honduras and other urban projects, drop us a line for any other use-cases or suggestions. Reach us at