Summer is the perfect time of the year for mountaineering: beautiful weather, safer passage and breathtaking views! If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you may have stumbled across a frequent dilemma that emerges once you reach the top. Which peaks are you seeing in the distance? Which would offer the best views? Andre Meyer and his family faced the same issues while hiking in their native Switzerland, and it gave the software developer the idea that lead to the creation of TouchMountain, an augmented reality application that can identify mountains and offer users extensive information about them.
Officially labelled as a tourist guide, TouchMountain, built exclusively for Windows Phones and available both on and offline, recognizes an extensive global database of mountains, gathers information from GPS, live cameras and publically available information while allowing users to build hiking maps with Bing and add new information about missing peaks to its database. TouchMountain has already gathered a loyal following among mountain lovers and won the Lumia Geek Challenge in 2013. In the same year it was awarded the Best Outdoor App prize by Microsoft.
TouchMountain started as a student project, its first version being built in only twelve weeks. Given the great feedback they received, Andre Meyer and his team decided to further develop the application and officially launch it in the Windows Store. It has the distinction of having been the first augmented reality application made available for Windows Phones. Today, TouchMountain and its creators are part of MIT Innovation AG, a Swiss software development company which focuses on the production of customer specific solutions and mobile apps for all platforms.
MIT Innovation AG has been a Microsoft Gold partner for several years and TouchMountain is built using Microsoft developer tools, including Visual Studio. Andre Meyer is excited about future possibilities new Microsoft products will open up for TouchMountain:
“We are now thinking of releasing a universal version of TouchMountain for the whole Windows ecosystem – including the HoloLens, which would be absolutely exciting to have! Imagine if you are on a mountain, can take out your HoloLens and see all the mountains around you with details in an immersive Augmented Reality experience!”
The team over at MIT Innovation AG is currently preparing a big update for TouchMountain slated for this fall: “It will not only be faster, but also a lot easier to use – especially outside, with one hand and with difficult light situations,” Meyer explains.
The Map View, where you can discover all the peaks on any place in the world on a map, will also be updated to use Windows Phone’s built-in offline map capabilities.
To learn more about TouchMountain, you can visit its official website http://touchmountain.com.
Tags: Apps, Culture, Entrepreneurship, Switzerland