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Facebook is making AR glasses and is mapping the world for them to work

Live Maps is Facebook's initiative to code the real world so that future AR devices can navigate it.


Live Maps, and its many layers of info.

Angela Lang/CNET

Welcome to the race to map reality. At Facebook's Oculus Connect conference, Augmented and VR VP Andrew "Boz" Bosworth announced that Facebook is making AR glasses, which we technically already knew. But to make those glasses happen, Facebook's kicking off a project to map reality for spatial computing, called Live Maps.

Live Maps looks to code several levels of data into a stack that AR and other computer vision devices could navigate. This is familiar territory: Magic Leap has promised similar things in its "Magicverse" model of the connected world. Google's been mapping indoor and outdoor spaces for years. Microsoft has been working on similar mapping data initiatives for the Hololens and other products. Apple, exploring AR via ARKit, could be looking to hook into more data and beacons next, too.

At the moment, Oculus is focused on VR as a bridge to AR. But Live Maps looks like the infrastructure that AR glasses will need next.