The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Google are expanding their partnership to introduce more Augmented Reality (AR) experiences, which will now be directly accessible on Google Maps for the first time.

This announcement was made at Google I/O 2024, the annual developer conference, held on May 14.

STB is one of only two institutions worldwide participating in a pilot program that will bring immersive AR experiences to Singapore via Google Maps later this summer.

This partnership builds on the success of Merli’s Immersive Adventure, an innovative AR tour featuring six locations around Singapore, launched in January through STB’s Visit Singapore Travel Guide app.


As part of this pilot, STB will continue using Google’s ARCore and Geospatial Creator to develop new location-based AR experiences. Unlike before, when these experiences were available only on the travel app, the new AR experiences will soon be accessible entirely within the Google Maps mobile app.

Additionally, STB has enlisted over a dozen other tourism stakeholders in Singapore to join the pilot. These stakeholders, including retail malls along Orchard Road, local heritage businesses in Chinatown, and popular museums and attractions, will also develop their own location-based AR experiences.

Together, these efforts will create AR experiences at 30 points of interest, providing an immersive journey through key tourism areas in Singapore, including Chinatown, the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa Sensoryscape, and more.

With this expansion, AR content will be visible remotely via Street View on the Google Maps mobile app, offering a seamless and accessible experience from any location. Users near the landmarks can discover the AR content by scanning their surroundings using Lens in Maps, which overlays the physical surroundings with AR. This feature will help visitors plan their trips to Singapore and navigate the island using AR tours when they arrive.

STB aims to increase the number of location-based AR experiences in Google Maps beyond 30, with the goal of making Singapore the world’s first “AR City” in Google Maps.

Eric Lai, group product manager, AR, Google, said: “Through location-based AR experiences, we’re making it more intuitive for over a billion users to discover this iconic city in a way like never before. This is just the beginning of a journey that will reshape how we explore the world.”

Simon Ang, director of The Collaboratory, STB, said: “This pilot greatly benefits local businesses, who can leverage AR to tell different stories over the same spaces, making their content discoverable and accessible on Google Maps. It also benefits travelers by aiding their discovery of new places of interest and enriching their understanding of Singapore’s rich history and culture through interactive storytelling.”

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