Saturday, December 5, 2009

Resort Technology Partners offers first augmented reality iPhone app for skiers

iPhone apps for skiers are starting to multiply. The latest to join the Apple universe: Resort Technology Partners (RTP), and Perfect North Slopes, Ind. Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Avon, Colo., Resort Technology Partners (RTP) is a privately owned company that specializes in delivering industry leading POS software, interactive marketing and web development and third-party channel ticket management for the resort, recreation, and hospitality industries.
RTP’s REALSKI introduces augmented reality (AR), a new mobile phenomenon made possible by the iPhone 3GS, to navigate trails and on-mountain features at select North American ski resorts. REALSKI allows riders to view their surroundings through the iPhone’s camera while the app overlays digital graphics on the screen, showing nearby lifts, runs and resort facilities in real view and real-time. Move the iPhone up, down, and around to scan their surroundings, and digital overlays appear in real time to match what the camera sees. The overlays direct users to the location of facilities and points of interest, including named runs (with skill designation), lifts by name, lodges, restaurants, restrooms, and special areas such as terrain parks.
The initial version of the app will be free and includes maps for Killington, Copper Mountain, Deer Valley, Northstar-at-Tahoe and Stevens Pass. Later in December, a full version of the app will be available with maps for about 80 North American resorts. The first version of REALSKI is anticipated to be available via iTunes by December 7.
The iPhone 3GS is the first phone to offer a camera, GPS, compass and an accelerometer. This combination enables RTP to augment the reality provided by the camera with digital graphics. REALSKI layers information on top of the visuals by using the current location and elevation detected by the GPS, the compass heading, and the accelerometer. Augmented reality mobile apps are new, and RTP’s REALSKI is the first available for major mountain resorts. And it works even when there is no cell coverage, as it leverages the GPS features of the phone.
Perfect North’s app, from epop studio, provides more typical web-based information—an audio snow report, current weather, live cams, video podcasts, plus news and events and directions to the area. "This app provides what I need to know about Perfect North without cluttering the screen", says derwood294 on the App Store site. "Got to love instant access to the local snow report and webcams".
A second version of the Perfect app is awaiting approval from Apple; it will allow guests to upload both photos and video taken at Perfect North Slopes directly from their iPhone to the PNS photo gallery.