Fri, 11 Mar 2022

Of House Mountains and AR

— SjG @ 12:01 pm

Many, many years ago, a Swiss exchange student introduced us to the concept of a “house mountain.” It’s sort of the landscape view equivalent of home base: the mountain that you see from wherever “home” is.

Separately, I just came across a discussion of augmented reality applications, which reminded me of the outstanding PeakFinder web site and mobile app. I first encountered PeakFinder in 2013 when I was loading up my first iPhone. It was one of the two applications that showed me the enormous promise of augmented reality (the other being the original Star Walk). I was able to install PeakFinder on my phone, and identify peaks when hiking in the Sierra Nevada, on a trip to the Atacama desert in Chile, from a ferry crossing Horseshoe Bay in British Colombia, and many other places.

In general, I find I use PeakFinder without the AR mode. I just point my phone around the horizon and see the peaks labeled, recognizing them by the basic shape. But if you want to know what’s that peak in a picture you took last year, PeakFinder has a neat feature where you can import your photo and then overlay the data. It requires that GPS coordinates were embedded in the picture or that you can find the spot where you took the picture on a map. Tilting the camera off level and/or lens distortion make the overlay approximate, but it’s almost always good enough!

Shot from the train in Alberta, Canada as we approached Jasper
Volcanos and Laguna Miscanti, Chile

So, marrying the concepts of AR and house mountains, PeakFinder lets you generate the view from any arbitrary point and even keep it as a “favorite.” So even if you aren’t in a place or don’t have a picture from that location, you can see your house mountain, like this view of my childhood house mountain.

AR House Mountain

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