Android 2Dr Mark Billinghurst and his team at the University of Canterbury’s HIT Lab are developing an augmented reality (AR) engine for mobile devices.

The AR platform is particularly relevant in the context of the re-build of Christchurch following the devastating earthquakes. Christchurch City Council recently used the HIT Lab’s AR platform to publicly launch its plans for the re-development of Christchurch CBD.

Android 1 1In simple terms, the AR platform allows a citizen to stand at street level, stream re-development plans and other spatial information to their mobile phone and superimpose the new design over existing features and buildings – thereby obtaining a true to life visualisation of redevelopment plans and impact.

Feedback can be collected from users to gauge public opinion on planning and development proposals. This novel and exciting integration of spatial information and technologies applies not just
in Christchurch but in any new development scenario. The work at
the HIT Lab promises to drive broader adoption of spatial information
technologies, especially when the software is made available via the
Android app store in the near future.

Project Overview


A mobile AR application named “CCDU 3D” has been developed for visualizing the buildings in Christchurch based on the city rebuild plan. The app is available from the Google Play store for free download.

The first version of a server application for the mobile AR software was completed and user studies finished. A second, improved version of the server is now being evaluated.

Michael Partridge has completed his thesis, and two papers have been published in conference proceedings.

There has been commercial adoption of the technology, firstly a Goldfields Explorer app for Bendigo and secondly a High street stories app, for the NZ Historic Places Trust.


Christchurch City Council  -  University of Canterbury  -  ZNO ltd


Mark Billinghurst sqMr Mark Billinghurst
Project Leader P4.52