Augmented World Expo (AWE) is the annual “family reunion” of the extended reality community. The latest hardware and software that will enable augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences is available for demos in the expo hall. Thought leaders share their latest innovations and ideas on stage. And there is a collaborative and chatty spirit that infuses the convention center with a communal feeling, encouraging impromptu conversations in hallways, coffee lines and the hotel lobby.

I first attended AWE in 2022 and was blown away by the experience. I knew that Maxar belonged in this community because we offer an important technology accelerator: our 3D digital twin of the Earth, upon which AR and VR experiences can be built.

And the Maxar team made a splash with our AR/VR debut at AWE 2023!

Icing on the cake: winning the Best Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the 14th annual Auggie Awards

Maxar’s team accepts the Best Use of AI Auggie Award from AWE co-founders Ori Inbar (far left) and Tish Shute (far right).

Let’s start with the most exciting thing: SYNTH3D won the Best Use of AI Auggie Award!

Developed with our partner,, SYNTH3D is a high-performance, 3D digital twin of the entire globe that is representative of the building features for any given geography and is available in a visually pleasing and compatible format. Blackshark creates SYNTH3D by applying its patented generative AI to Maxar’s VividTM imagery basemap, a global, cloud-free, virtually seamless view of Earth. SYNTH3D allows developers and creators to simulate and visualize 3D environments representative of real-world locations where aesthetics and performance are key to their applications.

The Auggie Awards are prestigious in the AR community, and we’re honored to be among the winners, which include companies like Zappar, Snap Inc., Pfizer, Verizon, Big Rock Creative and HTC VIVE. All the submissions for the Auggie Awards represent the latest and best use of modern technology, and we loved what Tish Shute, AWE co-founder, said when presenting the Best Use of AI award:

The Maxar team was pleased to receive an Auggie Award in our first year at the show.

Demoing until you drop

Maxar recorded this booth tour and originally posted it on social media when the exhibit hall opened.

I’ve attended a lot of conferences in my life, and AWE might be the only conference where attendees are willing to stand in a queue for 30 minutes just to put on someone else’s headset and try any AR/VR experience! At the Maxar booth, we hosted demos of the SYNTH3D data, a VR flythrough of Yosemite Valley with our Precision3D dataset (try it here with your own headset!), and a visual positioning system (VPS) demo from our partner, Sturfee (more about that in a minute). The enthusiasm from attendees trying our VR demo was palpable, and it felt like we were constantly sharing the demo, wiping the headset off and handing it off to a teammate to start the next demo. It really energized the Maxar team to hear such positive responses to our demos!

Experiencing the digital twin built for connecting your XR content with the real world

Watch our speech from AWE about how Maxar’s digital twin provides the geospatial foundation that AR experiences require.

I partnered with our customer, Sturfee’s founder and CEO Anil Cheriyadat, to share how Maxar’s Precision3D digital twin provides the most accurate geospatial anchor for displaying augmented reality content. VPS allows developers to anchor AR objects and content to a corresponding real-world position. Then, VPS displays that content via an app to an end user. For example, a person visiting a new city could use an app powered by VPS to receive AR walking directions and suggestions from their hotel to their various destinations.

Sturfee’s cutting-edge software development kit (SDK), called VPS Cities, unites VPS and digital twin technologies to enable large-scale AR digital content to be displayed to end users. Hosted on AWS, a developer uses an immersive digital twin editor to virtually drop into a space, move around and easily position AR assets at key locations with VPS Cities. By using a handheld device’s camera in an enabled area, a consumer using an application powered by VPS Cities will view geospatially anchored AR content naturally blended into the real city landscape through the device.

For AWE, we turned our stickers into 3D assets and used VPS Cities to anchor them in AR in our booth. It was pretty neat having a WorldView LegionTM satellite rendering and our t-shirt design floating above our booth. Check it out:

“Until now, digital twins and VPS were separate technologies, making it costly and difficult for customers to launch new 3D interactive services. By integrating Precision3D with our VPS technology, we are building a unified system to make it easier for businesses to create layers of interactive customer experiences across streets, shops and tourist venues,” said Anil Cheriyadat, Sturfee Founder and CEO. “The global scale of Precision3D allows us to expand VPS Cities to new places at a faster pace.”

Developers can use their AWS account credentials to download the SDK then use the source code of a white label mobile app to create their own application or embed these experiences in an existing application. Developers can rapidly extend VPS coverage to indoor or outdoor locations by performing a scan with their phone’s camera. Early customer access to the SDK is currently provided by invitation.

Dreaming of the possibilities of this emerging technology

The Maxar team left AWE inspired by the creativity, enthusiasm and sense of community at this conference. We often use the phrase, “The possibilities are endless,” when marketing our digital twin, and we feel that the same applies to the AR/VR community. This emerging technology has great potential to change how humans use technology to interact in the real world and we saw great examples of that coming to life at AWE, particularly video game and entertainment examples. It will spread and gain traction in commercial industries and daily life. We’re excited to be joining this community and accelerating its adoption.

Missed Maxar at AWE?

Check out our 3D digital twin built for connecting XR experiences to the real world.

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